To help meet growing demand for emergency medical services, Lake West Ambulance is placing an additional ambulance on duty for part of the week.
A third ambulance with two additional medics will run 12 hours a day four days a week, running calls from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays through Mondays.
The district currently has two full time trucks on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The ambulance board of directors approved the additional service at its June 11 meeting, according to Office Manager Gayle Webb.
The decision comes after seeing an increase in times when the service at "status zero" - occasions when both of its ambulances were out on calls at the same time. When operating at status zero, Lake West must rely on surrounding services to cover its district.
Officials first started noticing the service was operating at status zero more and more often around the first of the year, according to Webb, long before the summer tourist season.
There have been times when the service has been at status zero for half of the day. Just on June 13, the service was at status zero for three hours.
The hours were chosen after research of call times over the last three years showed that daytime hours from Fridays to Mondays were the busiest times of the week, Webb said.
The additional part-time ambulance and personnel on duty is estimated to cost the district around $150,000 for a year, according to Webb.
The board plans to review the status of the third ambulance in September to evaluate its cost effectiveness.
The district responded to 108 calls for service in the month of May.