The Davis County Sheriff's Department has put a new, modular-style ambulance into service in the north end of the county, the first new ambulance bought by the county in four years.

Sheriff Harry Jones said the unit was partially funded by state emergency medical service block grant money.The sheriff's department has been responsible for providing ambulance service to the north end of Davis County, between Farmington and the Weber County line, since 1981.

The private firm that provided service in the 1970s pulled out of the area for financial reasons in 1981, according to Capt. K.D. Simpson of the sheriff's department.

In 1987, the department and the county commissioners conducted a feasibility study to determine whether the sheriff's department should continue to supply ambulance service, which is subsidized with county tax money, or whether it should be turned over to a private operator.

Simpson said the study showed that increased calls and the resultant increased revenue should eliminate tax subsidies in the future.

"After months of review, the sheriff and County Commission determined that the alternatives were not acceptable and revenue projections indicated the service would not require subsidies in later years," Simpson said.

The department has two ambulance units stationed at Humana Hospital Davis North, staffed by three full-time and 18 part-time employees, Simpson said. Each member is a state certified emergency medical technician (EMT).

The 150-square-mile service area of the ambulances contains 104,000 residents and is growing rapidly, Simpson said. Ambulance calls from the area handled by the department went from 1,700 in 1987 to more than 2,100 in 1988, he said.

Traffic accidents accounted for the most calls, Simpson said, followed by cardiac incidents. Most of the calls were to Layton, but 200 of the Layton responses were to transfer patients from Humana to hospitals in Ogden or Salt Lake City.

Simpson said the new modular unit is an improvement over the older style van ambulances, giving EMTs better access to the patient and more room for medical and life-support equipment.