BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – You may experience delays if you need an ambulance. Parishes across the Baton Rouge metro area are issuing emergency declarations as an influx of calls to 911 are made due to the COVID surge.

Leaders said the calls have put a burden on Acadian Ambulance Service. EMTs are being diverted to other hospitals because some locations are out of beds, extending their trips and impacting arrival times.

The emergency declarations relieve Acadian of some of its requirements.

“There are certain legal precautions the state has in the time to get to these calls. I want the citizens of Iberville Parish to understand that they might experience some delays,” said Sheriff Brett Stassi.

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said “We just thought this was one thing that we could do, and they’ve asked us to do and other parishes have done it. It might give them a little bit of relief. What they have asked is that we allow ambulances that are not equipped with advanced life support to basically respond to calls that are not life-threatening or an emergency. They will make the call as to whether or not it is an emergency that requires the advanced life support and they’ll respond accordingly.”

Parish leaders said there is no timeline for how long the emergency declarations will remain in place. They are reminding people to only call 911 if it’s a true emergency.