A new ambulance and technologically advanced lifesaving equipment were recently added to the Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service's Columbia County fleet.
The fleet's newest addition, a 2006 Ford F-350 box ambulance, is stationed at the former fire station in downtown Grovetown.
"It's got all the bells and whistles," said Vince Brogdon, Gold Cross' Columbia County operations manager.
The ambulance, which arrived less than two months ago, includes state-of-the-art features such as a Global Positioning System, snow chains at the push of a button, backup sensors, a power stretcher to assist with lifting and cameras showing the front and rear of the ambulance and the patient compartment.
The $80,000 ambulance was then outfitted with $20,000 to $30,000 of equipment, including radios and the cameras and a power stretcher, Brogdon said.
Another piece of equipment - the Propaq LT monitor - has been added to the five full-time ambulances and one part-time ambulance serving the county.
"It is just an easier tool for us to monitor folks while we are going to the hospital," Brogdon said.
The monitor does not replace the heart monitor/defibrillator. Instead of the EMT or paramedic manually taking blood pressure readings, the new monitor automatically takes blood pressure, blood oxygenation levels and other levels based on set parameters. The monitor can be set to take readings at any set time frame or simply at the push of a button, Brogdon said.
"It is nice for it to be able to take the blood pressure if you are going down the road," said EMT Intermediate Lisa Amerson, who works on the new Grovetown ambulance. "When we're in a house, we'll initially take one (blood pressure manually). Then it is nice to hook that up because it will do it for you numerous times en route to the hospital without having to stop (other procedures) to do it," she said.
The older monitor/defibrillator is used on cardiac patients. The new monitor also allows emergency personnel to monitor two patients at once.
Amerson said she likes the new model because of its size - roughly 6 inches by 8 inches.
"Our regular monitor is pretty bulky, but this one here is like a pocketbook," she said.
Brogdon said the small size allows emergency personnel to carry the monitor into the house and continue to monitor a patient in the ambulance and into the emergency room. Gold Cross is working with the emergency rooms, Brogdon said, to have printouts from the monitor included in the patient's care report at the hospital.
Grovetown firefighters also are getting a little extra funding for fire protection. U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss announced Wednesday that the Grovetown Department of Public Safety was awarded $44,403 as part of the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The Grovetown department was awarded the funds through the Operations and Safety Program to be used for training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness and modifications to fire stations and facilities, according to the senators' offices. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program was created to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs and to establish or expand fire prevention programs.
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