County to buy two new ambulances

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The goal of improving communication, technology and overall public safety services for everyone living in Beaufort County is being accomplished as a result of decisions made by the Beaufort County Council.

At the Nov. 18 meeting, County Council voted to acquire two new ambulances, 10 Lucas 2 mechanical chest compression devices and new computer software that will now allow the Sheriff’s Office, 911 Communications Center, the detention center, EMS and fire departments be integrated into one system.

“The new ambulance equipment will give Beaufort County better response time to medical emergencies and the chest compressors will no doubt save lives and the new computer software is a giant step in integrating all first responders and medical providers,” said Beaufort County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville.

“As a dispatcher is taking information from a caller, the deputy, paramedic or firefighter in the field will now be able to see what the dispatcher is typing in real time. Having our first responders see the information immediately makes the response time faster allowing the person needing assistance to receive care faster,” said Beaufort County Sheriff  PJ Tanner.

The new ambulances and new Lucas 2 machines will also benefit the public. One of the new ambulances will be placed South of the Broad to help with the volume of calls, and one of the new ambulances will be placed North of the Broad to help with distance challenges facing first responders.

“Beaufort County is geographically very large. Having 2 new ambulances to respond to calls will save lives and allow more paramedics out in the community helping the public,” said Beaufort County Councilman and Chairman of the Governmental Committee Jerry Stewart.

With the purchase of the Lucas 2 devices, every frontline Beaufort County ambulance will now have one on board.

“This device can do CPR on a patient without interruption. The American Heart Association says compressions shouldn’t stop for more than 10 seconds and with the Lucas 2 those compressions don’t stop. It’s a consistent quality of compression and it can make a difference between saving a life and losing a life,” said Beaufort County EMS Director Donna Ownby.

The cost of the computer software is $2.5M, which will be paid over the next 7 years. The ambulances cost $529,000 and the Lucas 2 devices cost $132,000.