Benton County residents are now being treated and transported in a brand new ambulance, announced Benton County Emergency Management Services (EMS) and Homeland Security Director Jason Fisher. Benton County EMS is averaging 1400 emergency medical services runs per year.
All four ambulances were called out on runs and backup was then requested from another EMS for a fifth emergency call run at the time this interview took place.
Fisher explained that there are several advantages offered by the new ambulance: it is more reliable, safer, larger and has better technology.
It is more fuel efficient, well built, and rides better. Fisher said that there is “more room in the treatment area for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to work.”
Another improvement is the new Stryker Cot Lift System that is mechanized to better move patients into the ambulance. EMT Casey Keener demonstrated the cot, which lifts and moves the patient from a lower area to the level of the ambulance, then hooks into a cradle mechanism that rolls the cot into the vehicle, “It is a big improvement and saves EMTs from being injured.” Back injuries account for 20% of injuries to EMTs, along with other injuries caused by repetitive actions related to medical rescue.
The cot system also provides a smoother transition for the patient.
Both Fisher and Keener cited that the new ambulance is very stable on the road during transport, which keeps EMTs and patients from being jostled around. The new ambulance was purchased from the Crossroads Ambulance Company in Middlebury, Indiana to replace the 2014 model. County Council and Commissioners authorized purchase of the 2021 ambulance for $202,000.
EQUIPMENT IMPROVEMENTS AND UPGRADES
Free weather radios are available from the EMS and Homeland Security departments. Simply contact the staff to pick up your free weather radio.
A Code Red Grant and local funds have provided the Code Red service for the public to inform and to stay informed.
Grants related to COVID have been used to purchase two types of Personal Protective Equipment respirators to keep emergency workers safe: air purifying respirators and powered constant flow air purifying respirators.
Grants and county funds have purchased radios to upgrade the 25 year old system. The radios enhance communication during emergency operations, among staff members, and communication with the 911 Center.
Maintenance and an improved storm siren system for Benton County have been ongoing. The system featured some sirens that were not reliable. Some areas of the county were also underserved by the old system’s siren placement.