Fire department receives GPS units
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Locating an emergency and its victims in Hartselle will soon be easier for local rescue services.
Terry's County EMS Ambulance Service recently donated two GPS (Global Positioning System) units to the Hartselle Fire and Rescue Department. Both Stations No. 1 and No. 2 will use the GPS for satellite navigation to coordinate the new pre-launch program with Air Evac Lifeteam and MedFlight medical emergency helicopter services, as well as local ambulance services.
"Many times the fire department reaches an emergency before an ambulance does," Terry Garwood of Terry's County EMS Ambulance Service explained. "The pre-launch program ensures the closest ambulance and helicopter are sent to every emergency and can quickly find the exact location. Our first GPS units were donated to us and now we just want to return the favor."
Fire Chief Steve Shelton said the pre-launch program will dispatch a medical helicopter to each emergency as standard protocol, but the helicopter can be easily cancelled if the situation does not warrant such service.
"This will really help us for night calls," Shelton said. "If the accident isn't near a designated landing zone, the GPS will be used to bring Air Evac and MedFight right to us."
Nine landing zones have already been designated in each of the city's four quadrants for medical helicopter service, but Shelton said medical helicopter dispatch will not begin until each Hartselle firefighter receives landing training this month. "Once the program is in place, the turnaround on getting help to people, especially during that first golden hour of patient care following an accident, will be much better," Shelton said. "This means patients will get to the hospital quicker."