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SPLOST funds helping save lives in Dooly County

By BECKY CRISSMAN

becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

VIENNA — Thanks to funding from the county’s Special Local Option Sales Tax, Dooly County EMS has acquired new equipment to assist citizens in the event of a medical emergency.

Thursday, Dooly County EMS Director Don Williford, showed county commissioners the equipment, which included a new ambulance put into service in June and two Mechanical CPR Devices.

“The new ambulance is a little smaller,” said Williford. “But it still meets the needs of the department. By going with the smaller ambulance we saved $50,000.”

Williford said he was especially pleased to be able to add the two Mechanical CPR Devices, one for the Vienna District and one for the Unadilla District.

“The mechanical CPR devices will prove to be very beneficial when we are out in the field,” said Williford. “When we answer a call and that patient needs CPR, the process is often hindered because we have to stop compressions when moving the patient for whatever reason like onto the stretcher, in and out of the ambulance, or when going down stairs. The machines will alleviate that problem.”

Williford said with the machine the compressions are non-stop until EMS turns off the machine. It can be powered by battery, which lasts through about two hours of compressions. The machine can then be plugged in using an AC Adapter.

“The machine can be used from the time the ambulance picks up a patient to the time the physician determines if the patient is showing any signs of life,” said Williford. “I think this machine will bring a significant chance of survival to patients it is used on.”

According to Williford, Dooly County EMS is the first service in the area that has put the devices in ambulances. He says at a cost of $9,000 per machine they were fortunate to be able to purchase them through SPLOST funds.

In addition to the $18,000 spent on the CPR machines, the county’s new ambulance, totaling $79,000 was also purchased with SPLOST money. Four years ago Williford was able to purchase four cardiac monitors for the department at a total cost of $88,000. That makes a grand total of $185,000 of equipment purchased with SPLOST funds.

“These are things that under normal circumstances we would not be able to afford,” said Williford. “We are grateful that the community continues to support the SPLOST which allows us to purchase such items. Anyone who requires services, benefits from these, sometimes making the difference between life and death.”