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Ambulance service having busiest year ever

Staff writer

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith told Marion County Commission on Monday that he expects the ambulance service to break the county record for number of ambulance calls in a year.

Through the end of November, county ambulance crews had been called out 1,090 times. The record for a single year is 1,151 in 2008.

There were 77 calls in November, compared to 73 in November 2010. Of those, 21 were medical emergencies; falls, 19; transfers, 13; cardiac emergencies, 9; no-transports, 6; motor vehicle accidents, 5; and standbys, 4. There were no canceled or other calls in November.

Hillsboro and Peabody had the highest volume for the month, with 20 calls each; Marion, 18; Florence, 7; Tampa, 7; and the back-up unit, 5. Goessel First Response was called out twice, and Durham First Response, once.

Equipment purchase adds new capabilities for crews

The commission approved spending $5,330 to purchase an EZ-IO intraosseous infusion system for all of the ambulances except the back-up unit. Intraosseous refers to injecting fluids or medicine into bone marrow when intravenous infusion isn’t possible or practical.

“This is probably the greatest need we have right now,” Smith told the commission.

He estimated ambulances will use the system 12 times a year, possibly more. Keeping ambulances stocked with the needles for the system will cost approximately $1,500 per year, he said.

The commission also approved purchasing and advanced life support defibrillator for $31,837. The defibrillator will primarily be used by the Peabody crew, which has the most advanced life support training. The defibrillator will also be used for training all ambulance crews.

Smith will also apply for a grant to purchase two power cots, one for each of the Tampa and Florence ambulances. The estimated cost for two power cots is $26,000.

Resealing the Tampa ambulance compartment to keep out dust will cost $2,000, unless inspection reveals major structural damage, in which case, the county may have to purchase a new compartment at a significantly higher cost.

Last modified Dec. 15, 2011

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