Humboldt General Hospital EMS Rescue responds to over 1,800 calls a year, covering an area larger than the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire combined.
To deliver care in such a vast area, EMS personnel must be able to respond to those in need in the quickest manner possible.
A recent acquisition will make that a little easier now.
Humboldt General Hospital recently purchased a 2006 Dodge Charger to be used as an EMS QRV or Quick Response Vehicle.
The vehicle was purchased through state-level surplus releases from the Nevada Highway Patrol. A new paint job, decals, lights and sirens have now made it the fastest response vehicle in the EMS Rescue fleet-and a true godsend when it comes to local residents in need.
"This vehicle can get our people to the scene faster than any ambulance can get there," said HGH EMS Rescue Director Pat Songer. "When you're dealing with something like sudden cardiac arrest and you've got four minutes before blood flow stops, every second counts."
Songer said the vehicle was a windfall for the department. The total price tag for the Charger came in at about $6,000, thanks to help from several EMS crew members who upgraded the vehicle themselves at the station.
"It was just a really great group effort that will pay for itself over and over again in the lives of those we are able to save," said Songer of the project.
Songer said the purpose of the Charger is to deliver paramedics to emergency scenes as either a first response unit, or to assist paramedics already on scene. Humboldt General Hospital EMS Rescue is operating a pilot program through the state EMS office which permits paramedics in the field to perform Rapid Sequence Intubations (RSI) to critical patients needing assistance with their breathing before they get to hospital. The procedure requires that an EMS supervisor be on scene for the procedure, and the Charger is helping that happen.
Local tactical EMS medics also will use the Charger to assist regional law enforcement. "Our TEMS team has to be able to keep pace with law enforcement units responding to high risk situations," said Songer, "and we can't do that in an ambulance."
The Charger is further utilized for the transfer of psychiatric patients from Winnemucca to Reno. But mostly, the vehicle will allow Songer to respond to emergency calls which require a second paramedic to stabilize a patient, or which require that he establish an Incident Command.
"The end game in pre-hospital care is to save lives," said Songer. "In EMS, time is our common enemy. With this vehicle we have already been able to reach emergency scenes up to 10 minutes faster than our larger and slower ambulances."
Songer added, "For a critical patient, 10 minutes is a lifetime."
For more information on HGH EMS Rescue's Quick Response Vehicle, please call HGH EMS Rescue Director Pat Songer at (775) 623-5222, ext. 160.