When you need an ambulance, you want it fast.
That's a concern for the residents of the Lake County community of Astor, now that their one and only ambulance has been relocated to Umatilla, some 20 miles away.
John Bustle lives in Astor and is leading the protest. "If you don't have the ability to transport, you are really handicapped," he said. "Minutes, in many cases, can be tragic!"
But Interim Executive Director of Lake County Emergency Services, Jerry Smith, said, "Moving the ambulance to Umatilla is the only efficient move the county can make with the current budget."
More efficient, he said, because it's more centrally located and able to reach more people in more populated parts of the county. "There could be challenges, but we have challenges throughout the county," he added.
A full time, on-call paramedic will still serve Astor residents, and Smith said that, while that paramedic provides the immediate care, the ambulance will be en route. Officials estimate there will only be a delay of seven minutes or so.
Bustles said that, with an elderly population, that six or seven minutes can still make a big difference. "It's almost like were a stepchild, because we pay the same sort of taxes."
Astor residents were expected to raise concerns and meet with Emergency Services representatives at a town hall meeting on Monday at the Astor Community Center.