New EMS program in Hanover saving more lives

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County is receiving national acclaim for improvements to Fire and EMS.  A new program has improved emergency response times by more than eight percent in the past year without using any extra people or money.

The key to these better response times is this quick response vehicle. It's equipped with everything an ambulance might have, but these cars can get there faster and help save more lives.

In Hanover County, these quick response vehicles are changing how EMS units are deployed and increasing efficiency.  The new program helps paramedics reach patients sooner.

Battalion Chief William Jones says, "18 months ago we weren't meeting expectations of 8 minutes and 59 seconds on our serious ems calls."

That's no longer the case.  Now, 80 percent of the time, Hanover responds to emergencies in less than nine minutes.  That's the target doctors at VCU set for a higher survival rate.

With the quick response program, paramedics like Stephen Fontaine get stationed in specific areas of the county and respond often and quickly to life-threatening emergencies.

Fontaine says, "this car responds to a lot of cardiac related calls, whether it be chest pains, difficulty breathing, we also respond to a lot of car accidents."

Fontaine can then use his trunk full of equipment, including an EKG machine, to help a patient until an ambulance gets there for transport.

In years past, Hanover Fire and EMS tracked historical call data and used those results to deploy units.  Now, QRV's and ambulances are deployed based on the call history for each area of the county for every hour of the day.

Jones says, "when the call loads get heavier in the east or the west or the central, then they can just drift that way, so they will be closer to where all the action is going on at the time."

In addition to helping save more lives, these cars are also more cost effective for the county. They are cheaper to maintain than the larger ambulances or fire engines and also use less fuel.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.