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Ala. city restores EMS to thousands of residents in annexed area

The Mobile Fire Department has begun providing ambulance service to approximately 20,000 new residents after a referendum on the annexation


The MFRD is now providing emergency medical services to the nearly 20,000 residents that were annexed into the city in July.

Margaret Kates/

By Margaret Kates

MOBILE, Ala. — Following this summer’s annexation referendum, which added nearly 20,000 new residents to Mobile, emergency medical services are shifting for residents of the newly annexed territories.

The city of Mobile used to provide emergency medical services to residents in the city’s police jurisdiction—a belt of unincorporated territory three miles outside of city limits—until 2018, when those services were rolled back, city spokesperson Jason Johnson says. Getting EMS back was a central focus of the pro-annexation campaign.

Now that those residents are part of the city of Mobile, they’ll be able to receive ambulance services from the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department. Here are five things to know.

1. Are residents in the annexed areas receiving emergency medical services?

Yes. According to the city of Mobile website, the MFRD’s emergency medical services began responding to calls in the annexed areas as soon as the results of the annexation referendum were certified.

Almost immediately after the referendum, Johnson says, the city began shifting the positioning of ambulances to be able to respond to calls in the annexed territory.

2. How long will residents in the annexed areas have to wait for an ambulance?

How long you have to wait for an ambulance depends on where you are in the city, Johnson says, but on average, the response time for an ambulance is under six minutes.

The response time is a crucial part of the MFRD’s Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) “Gold Standard” accreditation that it received in May, Johnson says, so the city wanted to ensure annexation didn’t take away from the accreditation.

3. What about Mobile County residents that were not annexed this summer?

If you live outside the city limits of Mobile, you’ll still have private ambulance services, primarily Mobile County Emergency Medical Services System Rescue Squad.

If you live outside of the city limits of Mobile but within the city’s police jurisdiction, you’ll still have police and fire coverage from the city, just not emergency medical services.

4. Will anything change for Mobile residents already inside city limits?

No. The city added an additional ambulance to the MFRD fleet that is stationed at Dawes Road and Airport Boulevard, Johnson says, in order to ensure that there was no dip in ambulance services as a result of annexation.

5. Is there any chance residents in the annexed areas could lose emergency medical services again?

No. Since residents are now inside the city limits of Mobile, they are entitled to all public safety services: police protection, fire protection and emergency medical services.

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