Northeast Louisiana Ambulance Service, LLC (NELA) was established in November of 1999. Joel Eldridge, D.O., purchased Franklin Parish Ambulance from Ann Pearrow. Franklin Parish Ambulance, at the time, served all of Franklin Parish and a portion of Richland Parish; and consisted of three ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulances.
NELA grew under new ownership to serve not only Franklin Parish and part of Richland Parish, but also Catahoula, Tensas, and Madison Parishes. NELA at the present time has twenty ambulances in service. NELA employs seventy-five full-time and part-time workers including: EMT-Paramedics, EMT-Basics, First Responders, EMD-Dispatchers, Billing/Office Personnel, and maintenance crew.
In 2000, NELA established and American Heart Association Training Center. The Training Center has a number of AHA Instructors aligned under their direction. The Training Center also offers courses which include: EMT-Basic and all levels of American Heart Association courses varying from First Aid and CPR to Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and also NAEMT courses.
When Hurricane Katrina hit South Louisiana in 2005, NELA personnel were some of the first responders on the scene and stayed to provide help and services for many months. During this time NELA participated in contracts with the State of Louisiana, FEMA, and other contractors serving the needs of the people.
Again in 2008, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike made their presence known. NELA suffered a hardship of its own during Gustav as part of our home facility in Winnsboro flooded. Despite this obstacle, we were still able to fulfill our contract with the state and man two shelters in the Monroe area.
In August of 2016, flooding again became an issue for our parishes, as well as many others. Once again, NELA was able to send two Paramedic Units to Baton Rouge to assist with evacuation and transport of patients. These units also responded to emergency calls for the services who were overwhelmed with call volume at the time.
NELA is licensed by the State of Louisiana and is an approved Medicare and Medicaid Provider. NELA is a member of the American Ambulance Association and the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance.
Under the leadership and guidance of Joel Eldridge, D.O., NELA has and will continue to thrive and be an intricate part of the EMS Community in Northeast Louisiana.