Aiken County, S.C. -
In emergency situations, time lost can mean lives lost. Addressing that challenge can be especially difficult in a county as large as Aiken, but Aiken County EMS has been working hard to bring care to citizens all over the county's 1000 plus square miles. On Sunday, they took a big step toward saving lives.
Before, as many as 45 minutes ticked on the clock before an ambulance could get out to this part of Aiken County. But now, emergency responders will be able to reach this population in half the time.
"Distance equates to minutes and so the quicker we can get on scene the quicker we can start patient care and start preparing and transporting to a hospital," said Emergency Director Tommy Thompson.
With that in mind, Aiken County EMS Station 10 was built at the intersection of Wire Road and Highway 39, making for easy access across the county. Now, people in need of help don't have to wait for an ambulance from Highway 19 or from Wagener.
"This station represents one of our four corners of the county and it will give us a presence here," said Thompson.
That's important in a county larger than Rhode Island—Thompson said it took time to establish this new EMS site.
With response time down, the next goal is to get staff numbers up:
"Right now we have a concerted effort on increasing our staff and within the last 2 weeks we brought on approximately 9 people, and we have a new batch of applicants that we are going through right now," said Thompson.
Council Chairman Ronnie Young said the county should have all EMS stations staffed within the next month.
"I think the new facilities help bring new recruits into our agency," said Young.
Station 10 is a brand new facility with a full-working kitchen, 2-bedrooms, and a living room—a far cry from the mobile homes used at other sites in the past. The county is also working on filling the garages with more ambulances.
"We have a purchase order out for 4 new transports that are coming back in and should be here by the spring of the year," said Thompson. The county will be adding a new facility for Station 7 near Windsor, and that ribbon cutting is set for February 2nd.