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Dekalb EMS Gets New Ambulance And Equipment For CDBG Grant

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Dekalb EMS Gets New Ambulance And Equipment For CDBG Grant

Dekalb County EMS will use a Community Development Block Grant of some $350,000 to purchase a new ambulance and updated patient-care equipment.

EMS Director Hoyte Hale said of the five ambulances in the fleet, many are old and are racking up high mileage number. Add to that, a state-of-the-art chest compressor system, which will make transport easier for staff and safer for patients.

“Like you were 20 miles away from the hospital, and it will be a lot better on the attendees in the back by doing CPR, which this thing will do automatic compressions, so they can concentrate on giving the drugs and other stuff,” Hale said. “Doing patient care in the back.”

Hale said equipment like a new radio system, a cot, and a ventilator should arrive right away. He said getting an ambulance has become a long, painstaking process since COVID. He hopes to have the Ford F-350 Ambulance on the road before 2025.

“There’s been a great need and a real problem with getting chassis and stuff like that, and of course, Ford and all of them went on strike around that time,” Hale said. “That’s put a damper on a lot of things, trying to get ambulances in here and getting ordered.”

He said what was once a six to eight month process now typically takes a year or more.

Hale said while improved patient care is the greatest positive of the grant, the new equipment will benefit the department by reducing wear and tear on employees. Hale said an ambulance-loading system will prevent back injuries for staffers lifting cots into the ambulance and, in turn, stave off workers’ compensation claims.

“The loading system is God’s grace,” Hale said. “That thing, I never would have believed 30 years ago that there would be such thing as a loading system like there is now back when we used to have the old inferno two-man cots.”

He said an automatic chest compressor system would have a similar effect. Not only will it ease the transportation process for a patient, but it will also prevent fatigue for paramedics.

“It ain’t fun trying to do CPR all the way from Center Hill Dam back to Smithville,” Hale said. “It’s about a 20-25 mile run doing CPR continuously.”


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