Volunteer fire department earns EMS license
Published 10:35 am Friday, May 8, 2015
People in need of medical assistance near Newsoms will no longer have to wait for an ambulance from another town to arrive. That’s because the Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department is now EMS certified.
The department, with approval from a state inspector, began responding to calls the day in which it received its license, Monday, April 20. According to Clayton Gaskins, president of the fire department, the unit has responded thus far to eight calls for help.
“It’s higher than average, but they’ve gone very well,” Gaskins said, alluding to the fact that the department receives only 130 emergency calls per year, 55 of which regard fires.
In the past, those calls would have been directed to Boykins, where the Newsoms department was assisting the first responders unit.
“It just takes some of the load off of Boykins’ shoulders,” Gaskins said. “We couldn’t be here without them, and how they’ve supported us to this point.”
After four years of collaboration, the latter began exploring the possibility of starting its own unit.
“We had to make sure all of our records were up to date and that we had all of the proper equipment, which we already had from working with Boykins,” Gaskins said. “We also purchased a new vehicle, a [Chevy] Tahoe from Central Rescue in Brunswick, and outfitted it to state regulations.”
It was also mandatory for the department to name an operational medical director; they chose Dr. Donald Bowling of the Courtland Medical Center.
The hope in the coming months is for the department to purchase a cardiac monitor and a second vehicle through a rescue squad assistance grant.
“It doesn’t change the way we respond, and the average citizen won’t see anything different,” Gaskins said. “It’ll be a different truck, but the same people doing the same job.
“This just allows us to do our job better.”