Mercer County Emergency Management asks residents to only call 911 for emergencies

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MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– The Mercer County E-911 posted a message on social media telling citizens to call an ambulance for emergencies only.

Keith Gunnoe, the Emergency Management Director for Mercer County, said ambulances were backed up this morning from the number of incoming calls requesting an ambulance. The two rescue agencies in Mercer County are Princeton Rescue Squad and Bluefield Rescue Squad. Sometimes firefighters can become first responders, but cannot transport citizens to the hospital.

According to Gunnoe, EMS crews were tied up and could not transport everyone. If an ambulance transports a patient to the hospital and there are no beds, the patient has to stay in the ambulance until a bed becomes available. Hospitals are filling up to capacity because of COVID and other illnesses.

“My biggest fear is that this is going to continue. Hospitals are continuing to fill up,” Gunnoe said.

Gunnoe said that emergency services are always looking for additional people to work for them. One problem is the interest in the job.

“We have less and less people apply. People aren’t interested,” Gunnoe said.

Advice Gunnoe is giving to the public is simple.

“Don’t call unless it’s a life-threatening emergency,” Gunnoe finished.

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