County buys SUV for EMS chief

Marion County Commission voted Monday to purchase a new sport utility vehicle and medical equipment for the county’s ambulance department.

A Ford Expedition will be purchased from the federal General Services Administration for $25,874, about $6,000 less than it would cost from local dealers, Emergency Medical Service director Steve Smith said.

A Dodge Durango, it replaces Smith’s vehicle that will be passed down to Durham first responders, and the Durham first responders’ van will be sold online.

The commission also approved purchase of two automatic ventilators and two intravenous pumps for $7,600 total. They will be kept at St. Luke Hospital and Hillsboro Community Hospital for when ambulances make emergency transfers from the hospitals.

The automatic ventilators will free emergency medical technicians to provide other care. The intravenous pumps will allow the administration of up to three medicines or fluids.

EMS crews reported 74 calls, including 18 cases in which transport to a hospital was refused, last month. Total ambulance calls this year are virtually unchanged from 2012.

The Marion ambulance was the busiest, with 29 calls. Hillsboro responded to 20, Peabody, 17; Florence, four; Tampa, three; and the Marion back-up unit, one. Goessel and Lincolnville first response units each went to three calls, and Ramona first response went to one. Durham, which will receive the Durango, had no calls.

An EMT-Basic class has been completed, and 11 of the 12 students have passed their practical skills exams. Four of the students have passed their written exam, and several more will take the written exam June 18.

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