'A whole lot more for Brownwood and Brown County'

STEVE NASH steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Allegiance Ambulance paramedic Stephen Ratliff displays the operation of a power stretcher Monday.

Guardian EMS became Allegiance Ambulance Sunday morning, and the familiar yellow ambulances are now operating in the white and maroon colors of Allegiance — and with more and better equipment, former Guardian employees said as they sported Allegiance uniform patches.

The improved equipment includes power stretchers, which are raised and lowered by battery power rather than mechanically.

The upgraded ambulances "help us do a whole lot more for Brownwood and Brown County than we have been able to do," paramedic Stephen Ratliff said as he displayed an item called a critical care monitor, which allows paramedics to monitor numerous functions as well as shock and pace a heart.

"I think everything's going really well," Heather Hamilton, vice president of operations for Allegiance west, east and south regions, said at the ambulance base at Fourth and Coggin in Brownwood.

Ambulances are based there as well as at substations in Early and Bangs.

"We're glad to be here — glad to be here," Hamilton said.

In addition to answering calls, employees were busy with tasks including going through equipment, stocking towels and doing housekeeping task.

Allegiance Ambulance has bought Guardian and is now the largest private ambulance company in Texas, former Guardian employee Ross Bradley, now a regional manager for Allegiance, has said.

Brown County Commissioners earlier approved a request to allow Guardian to assign the contract to Allegiance. Brownwood City Council members have ratified the agreement, which went before the Bangs City Council Monday night and goes before the Early City Council Tuesday night.

Guardian had operated on a "wants and needs" basis in terms of its ability to have equipment, Bradley said. "What we wanted is now what we have," Bradley said.