The First Ambulances in Roane County

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Until the 1970s in Roane County, if you had a medical emergency that required transportation, whom did you call? You called the funeral home, of course! Roane County did not have a government operated ambulance service until 1971. Up to that time, the funeral homes operated the only available ambulance service. In 1970, two of the funeral homes operating in Roane County discontinued ambulance service citing increasing costs. That led to the county to begin providing the service. From stories that have been told, it could be a fast and interesting ride in the Booth Funeral Home of Rockwood ambulance. An early 1930’s photo of the Lamb & Coulter Funeral Home of Rockwood shows a combination hearse/ambulance. The only difference was the window shades. As an ambulance, the shades were pulled down to show a red cross.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, August 2015.