POINT PLEASANT — When it comes to saving lives, most people want every advantage in their favor, particularly when their life is in the balance.
Residents of Mason County have a highly-trained and highly-skilled workforce when it comes to emergency medical service personnel. The staff is crucial as is their equipment.
Recently, Mason County EMS purchased two new ambulances to replace two which were requiring too much care and maintenance — these older models, which were models dating back to the early 2000’s, were sold. Mason County EMS is also charged with making sure every vehicle is safe and ready to move where it’s needed at a moment’s notice.
Karen Jones, EMS operations chief, said out of three bids, EMS took the lowest bid to purchase two 2015 Sprinter models. Each ambulance, or “bus” as they’re called, cost $82,000. As anyone who has received a bill from their physician or a hospital can attest to, nothing involving medical care (or automobiles) is cheap. That $82,000 didn’t include the equipment which the buses must have. For example, one new heart monitor typically costs $30,000 but most people would prefer they have one than not when they need it.
The two new buses are what’s called ALS equipped vehicles — Advanced Life Support. As such, they are equipped for calls which require more intensive care and medications. There are four ALS buses at the ems facility, total. Two are ready to go at all times in a rotation, though all could be utilized if needed at the same time. The other ambulances in the fleet are equipped to provide important but more basic care. All the vehicles serve a purposes and the key is to use the vehicles and staff efficiently to make sure all of Mason County’s 444-square miles are covered with drivers and medical personnel who are on call 24 hours a day.
The new buses, which are European looking in body style, are also more fuel efficient which is needed on days when the vehicles may literally run for hours on calls.
Right now, Jones said there are 50 employees at Mason County EMS, including drivers, EMT’s and medics. She added this is the strongest the fleet of vehicles has ever been. The fleet now has buses from model years 2008 through the two newest editions from 2015.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.