First Med EMS Shuts Down Bertie County Operations

First Med has shut down its emergency ambulance service in Bertie County, but the county is still covered, according to officials.

The ambulance service over the weekend announced it was closing operations in other areas, but Bertie County authorities believed that would not impact them.

Monday morning county officials learned the ambulance provider had closed down.

In October the county hired First Med to provide emergency rescue service.

Matt Leicester, who is EMS director for First Med in Bertie County, tells WITN News that First Med employees are being placed as temporary county employees so ambulance service can continue.

County Manager Scott Sauer says they were surprised by the closing.

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Reports are no longer limited to Ohio, as over 50 First Med employees in Wilmington say they are out of a job.

WECT reports that employees were not allowed into work on Saturday morning, saying that door codes to the office had been changed and that they were locked out of their computers.

Employees say they still have not gotten a formal call letting them know that the company has ceased operations.

A spokesperson for the company tells WECT that the official policy of the company is that they have "ceased operation"

The company became the primary EMS transport provider for Bertie County back in October.

Emergency Service Director Mitch Cooper tells WITN he was told by a representative that emergency operations in the county will continue as normal.

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Media reports out of Ohio show several companies owned by First Med EMS are laying off employees, and appearing to cease operations.

First Med EMS, a Wilmington based company, became Bertie County’s primary EMS provider back in October. It has operations in six other states under several different names.

Bertie County Emergency Management Director Mitchell Cooper says that a representative of First Med has told him that the emergency part of the company will continue as normal in Bertie County.

Reports from the Fayette Advocate and WSAZ in Ohio say that LIFE Ambulance, acquired by First Med in July of 2011, told employees they were being relieved of their duties.

WTOL 11 in Toledo reports that Medcorp, also owned by First Med, was contacted by employees who say they were let go on Friday as well.

The First Med EMS website says that it is down for maintenance. A Google link to the companies Facebook page, reroutes you to the Facebook home page. Calls to First Med EMS were not answered.