EMS awarded FEMA grant for heart monitors – Williamston

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Williamston EMS has been awarded a 2012 Assistance to Firefighter Grant for $195,500 for new equipment.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency oversees the Assistance to Firefighter Grant each year. The grant is a competitive process where fire departments and non-profit, non-hospital based emergency medical services seek funding for equipment and vehicles.

“This grant is huge for our department” stated WEMS Chief Joe Barr. The grant was for four new heart monitors and five power stretchers. WEMS is the only EMS provider in Anderson County to have 12 lead heart monitors on all of their ambulances and Quick Response Vehicles.

These monitors give the paramedic a complete diagnostic evaluation of a patient’s heart. “We can begin diagnostic care and treatment right at your bedside today. Most of which was available only in the emergency room just a few short years ago,” stated Barr. WEMS already had seven of these monitors and it has been credited with saving many patients from further heart damage during a heart attack. The new monitors will replace monitors that WEMS has had for over 10 years and some as long as 20 years.

Also included in this grant were five power stretchers. These stretchers lift the patient for the EMTs and Paramedics. Thus reducing back injuries and is also safer for the patients. These units cost over $13,000 each. WEMS had four power stretchers that they had purchased with ambulances via loans. Barr further stated that the department has not suffered a stretcher lifting injury since starting to purchase the power stretchers. In the past two paramedics suffered back injuries that required surgery and numerous other employees had back strains resulting in lost time accidents. “These stretchers will most likely save one of our employees career” stated Barr.

This is the 5th year that the Williamston EMS has been awarded an AFG grant. WEMS has been awarded over $661,000 in grants in the past 6 years.