By: PAMELA SCOTT JOHNSON Staff Writer
October 3, 2012
WILLIAMSON — Keeping their paramedics and other emergency medical technicians safe while also protecting the residents of Mingo County is a concern and matter of importance for the owner and operator of STAT Ambulance, and new vehicles that will make that possible are being added to those already in the local area that are equipped with cameras and other recording devices that serve as a tell-all in circumstances where the crews activities or that of another driver or pedestrian on the highway may be in question.
The Williamson based STAT station unveiled their 2012 Ford E-350 ALS Ambulance to the Daily News on Wednesday, and provided a demonstration as to how the camera equipment works.
“If your speed gets over 70 m.p.h., the camera automatically kicks on and will continue to record for a ten minute period,” explained Rebel Carey, Paramedic and STAT Supervisor for the Mingo County Division. “If you fail to slow down, it will continue to record. It will also engage if you hit the brakes hard or if you cut the wheel too sharply, like you would do if you had to swerve to avoid hitting something in your path.”
The supervisor stated that the new recording devices can hurt or help an employee, depending on the behavior they choose to display.
“If you’re doing what you’re supposed to and obeying the rules, then you don’t have anything to worry about it. However; if you choose to play by your own rules and have disregard for authority, then we’ve got a problem,” stated Carey.
Joey Carey, Critical Care Paramedic and STAT Quality Assurance Director and Training Officer for both Mingo and Wyoming Counties said that the installed camera came with a price tag of $1,500, and is located in the rearview mirror slot on the windshield of the ambulance. When the ambulance is put into reverse, it becomes a back-up camera that will greatly assist drivers, especially in congested traffic conditions or in tight spaces.
“The camera has the capability to record approximately ½ mile in front of the ambulance and a 180 degree area behind the vehicle, as well as the front portion where the driver sits and the patient compartment as well,” said the director. “There’s not anywhere inside or directly outside the ambulance that is off limits to the camera.”
The new addition to the fleet utilized to provide emergency medical care to Mingo County cost a hefty $62,500, with another unit identical to this one to be assigned to the Kermit station, which provides care for the lower portion of the county.
‘These ambulances have gasoline engines which is a definite change, but with the price of diesel fuel sky-rocketing and reports that show that engines powered by gasoline run more efficiently and with less maintenance than those that require diesel, it was a smart move for the Ford Motor Cooperation,” stated J. Carey.
STAT Ambulance employs a total of 5 full-time paramedics for Mingo County, as well as 4 who work on a part-time basis. Numerous EMT-B’s (Emergency Medical Technician-Basic) and EMVO’s (Emergency Medical Vehicle Operators) are also employed by the company and work within the county. Ambulance stations for STAT are located in the communities of Williamson, Kermit, Lenore and Matewan and they also operate out of a station in Hanover, which is located in Wyoming County, but is able to serve residents in the Gilbert community and surrounding areas when needed.
“These new ambulances are just an example of improvements and additions being added by STAT to guarantee top-of-the-line emergency care within the county, and we’re very proud of this fact,” stated R. Carey. ‘Times are changing, and we’re changing with them.”