Emergency medical response times are about to become significantly shorter in eastern Iberville Parish thanks to the opening of a new facility for Acadian Ambulance that will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi and a host of parish and St. Gabriel officials participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for the new satellite office, located at 4415 La. 75.

The satellite office gives the emergency response company a permanent presence in a community that has been without around-the-clock ambulance service since the parish first contracted the services through Acadian Ambulance in 1988.

The new facility was Stassi’s brainchild. He said Wednesday that he has been working on getting a new ambulance facility built in east Iberville since his election as sheriff two years ago.

“For far too long, they’ve been the stepchild of the (parish) system, and I’m happy to be able to bring this facility over here,” Stassi said at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “With the amount of petrochemical industry located over here, and east Iberville growing in leaps and bounds, this was the next logical step for Acadian Ambulance.”

The new facility comes at a time when parish officials are not only trying to improve medical services for east Iberville residents but parishwide as well with the opening of a new medical complex sometime this month on the west side of the Mississippi River in Plaquemine.

But for now, Stassi said the new Acadian Ambulance office in St. Gabriel will give EMT crews a place to permanently park their trucks while in the area, and a place where they can sleep, cook and even wash clothes if needed.

The modular building, which was planted on parish-owned land, cost about $34,000 to set up and has two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a den and kitchen area, and utility closets.

The project was financed mostly through a parishwide ambulance tax that generates about $2 million annually, Stassi said.

“This means a lot for this side of the river,” the sheriff said. “A large share of the tax revenue comes from the east side of the river, so to finally bring them ambulance service is what we needed to do.”

In the past, Acadian trucks providing service to the St. Gabriel area had to park at one of the local fire stations along La. 30 in-between response calls.

Justin Cox, operations manager for Acadian Ambulance, estimated that response times in St. Gabriel, on average, should be reduced by 10 minutes or more.

“It depends on the location of the actual emergency,” Cox said. “This is going to be staffed 24/7 with eight people who rotate through shifts. When they get a call for help, they’ll transport a patient. Meanwhile, we’ll be backing up this area with another ambulance.”

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