BLACK JACK, N.C. (WNCT) – It normally takes a Pitt County ambulance anywhere from 1-20 minutes to get to the Southeastern part of the county near the Blackjack and Chicod communities.

Now, with an ambulance housed at the Black Jack Volunteer Fire Department, it could take 10 minutes or less.

“Southeastern Pitt County, the Chicod, Black Jack area is one of the fastest growing population-wise areas in Pitt County,” said Jim McArthur, Pitt County Emergency Management deputy director. “So we have known for several years we have longer response times specifically in this area.”

Response times matter with an ambulance when minutes can make a difference.

“For life-threatening emergencies, response time for an ambulance can be vital,” McArthur said. “For cardiac arrest, the minutes absolutely matter. People with heart attacks, strokes or other major events, it is absolutely important we get some type of care to them.”

The ambulance has already served several calls in the week it has been open.

“We’ve had a couple clinically significant calls, a couple car accidents and even a cardiac arrest event that they were the closest unit to,” McArthur said. “So it’s already serving its usefulness.”

For some residents in the Black Jack community, it’s something they know is needed.

“When you call 911 you expect the truck to get there as quick as they possibly can,” said Tony Haddock, resident and volunteer fireman. “I know when you’re standing there needing one, it seems like plenty of time has passed, so it’s a well-needed asset in this end of the county.”

The ambulance is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, but those hours could be adjusted depending on how many calls they see. They also hope to find a permanent house for the ambulance at the Chicod School, a more central location, soon.