, 2014

Quick Response Vehicle
added to emergency fleet

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—The recent purchase of a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) for the county’s emergency rescue squad has resulted in faster medical response times on 911 calls when minutes count.

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County officials display a new Quick Response Vehicle designed to provide Advanced Life Support while shaving minutes off response times on emergency medical calls. From left are chief of emergency services Christina Hubbard and supervisors Ernest Palin, Butch Jenkins, William Lee, Wally Beauchamp and Jason Bellows. Photo by Audrey Thomasson.

The medically equipped 2012 Chevy Tahoe is used by advance life support (ALS) paramedics and certified EMT-Intermediate professionals who have been providing around-the-clock, seven-day-a-week service since September, according to chief of emergency services Christina Hubbard.

While the vehicle is not an ambulance, it carries advanced medical equipment not yet provided on any other response vehicle in the Northern Neck, thus allowing paramedics to provide advanced life support treatment in the field until an ambulance arrives, said Hubbard.

The new vehicle will include on-site technology for paramedics to diagnose and monitor heart attacks, open and manage a patient’s airway, monitor the effectiveness of CPR and diagnose asthma attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), blood clot or air embolisms and severe diabetic complications, she said.

It is equipped with devices that allow an ALS provider to ventilate a patient with continuous positive air pressure on site—critical for patients with congestive heart failure, carbon monoxide poisoning, pulmonary infections and drowning victims. Additionally, paramedics will have the ability to access an adult or pediatric patient’s central circulation in order to provide medications and IV fluids —all within seconds.

Paramedics can now provide advance resuscitation and lower a patient’s body temperature to improve their odds of survival and quality of life until the ambulance arrives to transport the patient to the hospital, added Hubbard.

While the volunteer rescue squads have been providing evening and some weekend coverage for citizens, the county’s decision to staff weekdays with career EMTs and add advanced providers full time will greatly improve patient outcomes and decrease mortality rates, said Hubbard.

Fully-equipped, the price of the QRV was approximately $90,000, with 55% of that amount coming from grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division, she said.

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