Lincoln County Emergency Medical Services plans to use a more than $60,000 grant awarded this month to purchase life-saving technology for local fire departments and other emergency responders to better care for individuals exposed to heavy smoke conditions.
Both the Federal Emergency Management Association and the Department of Homeland Security approved the $64,914 grant in June.
N.C. Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, and U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry recently presented the check to EMS, according to an EMS press release.
The local agency applied for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant in 2011.
Since the total cost of the project is set at more than $80,000, the county plans to supply the additional $16,000 needed to procure the technology, EMS Training Coordinator Kim Green told the Times-News on Friday.
“It is exciting,” she said.
EMS plans to use the money to purchase eight new Lifepak 15 monitor/defibrillators, useful for Advanced Life Support and individually equipped with a Masimo Rad-57 device, the release said. The county will also buy 10 handheld Rad-57 devices.
“This equipment is going to allow us to be more thorough in evaluation of firemen during the rehabilitation process as well as patients who have been involved in house fires,” Green said.
In addition, emergency crews will be able to obtain victims’ carbon monoxide levels prior to sending them to the hospital.
In the past, medical officials had to determine such levels by checking individuals’ arterial blood gases, Green said.
As a result, EMS workers will be able to better-decide which facility is best for a victim so that person can obtain faster, more appropriate treatment.
During the past few years, a number of fire departments in Lincoln County and surrounding counties had already purchased the Rad-57 devices, which Green called a “luxury” item.
“Which is why we applied for the grant in lieu of spending county budget dollars,” she said.
The devices will also be able to detect high levels of anemia and methemoglobinemia, the release said. Both disorders involve red blood cells, which distribute much-needed oxygen throughout the body.