AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – An ambulance shake-up in Augusta just ahead of the city’s biggest week. Gold Cross saying it pulled out of Augusta at 8 A.M. Sunday, and Central EMS taking over at 6 A.M. A news conference was held Sunday evening with the Mayor of Augusta and Central EMS’s President.  

Saturday evening, the City of Augusta got a call that Gold Cross, come Sunday morning at 8 A.M. would no longer serve the area, and quickly Mayor Garnett Johnson and his staff had to pivot.

“I was just on a stage for the Mayor’s Masters Reception– I never thought it would be a joy to my ears to hear ambulances, but ambulances are moving,” said Mayor Johnson.

Central EMS now services the City of Augusta for emergency medical needs.  The President, Gary Coker says the company has a current total of nine ambulances and three RVs in the city already. 

“I’m so proud to be a part of a team that can do something like this in the middle of a what is chaos and a potential catastrophe and for them to pull it off the way that they did,” said Coker.

“We’ve been making preparations to, one, ensure the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County that we have a plan in place,” said Mayor Johnson

Many people’s concern is…what now?

“We are dispatching calls from our 911 emergency center and we’re using hand-held radios to make sure we dispatch the ambulances from Central EMS. And I can tell you, I think it’s working, I’m certain it’s working, within the last hour I’ve seen four ambulances moving.”

In the meantime, Central EMS will be stationed and housed at a local Richmond County Fire Department. 

“Chief Burden had set up a plan where he wanted the ambulances placed in his fire station. He made availability, he made the rooms ready, bunk rooms ready, and got everything ready to wear he can make it happen and he did. So, we’ve strategically placed the ambulances out across the city in the places that he thought was most important,” said Coker.

Mayor Johnson tells us this will be a new beginning for Central EMS in the Augusta area, and is confident in the work they will do. 

“I’ve been told on Tuesday, next Tuesday after Masters week, we should be presented with a contract where– as a body– we can start delving into conversation about how we can finalize this process,” said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson assured all that ambulances for the Masters will still be available to patrons. 

“We’re fortunate that the leadership at the Masters Tournament– they have adequate ambulance service, they have a contracted provider.”

Coker says he is proud to be working with Mayor Garnett Johnson and the city of Augusta.