Hawkins County EMS currently has one ambulance stationed in Mount Carmel and one in Church Hill, which is a pretty big territory for two ambulances to cover.
That’s why the Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed to purchase new AED (automated external defibrillator) devices for all six patrol cars, two fire trucks, City Hall, the Senior Center, and the wastewater treatment plant.
The city will also be locating an AED at the Mount Carmel City Park after installing a security system for that defibrillator.
On Monday night, about 10 police and fire personnel completed certification training to operate those AEDs in an emergency.
Mayor Chris Jones said the city needs a backup plan in case someone has a heart attack and there’s not an ambulance within close proximity.
“It’s not like Church Hill EMS when we used to have multiple ambulances running around here,” Jones said. “If they’re (Hawkins EMS) out on a call somewhere, that kind of leaves citizens vulnerable as far as medical service. I’m not saying that we’re not getting it, because we are. It’s just that sometimes our ambulance is tied up and we have to wait for one to arrive from another location.”
Jones added, “We’re looking at a program to allow our police officers and firefighters, if they’re in the area or can respond to code calls for heart attack victims, to be able to operate an AED and administer CPR until we get an ambulance and EMTs on the scene.”
So far there have been three four-hour training sessions, the most recent of which was Monday night, to get all city employees certified to do CPR and operate an AED.
The classes were taught by a paramedic from Wings Air Rescue.
“Our fire department and police department has always kept up CPR treatment,” Jones said. “Recently we came across a good deal where we were able to purchase AEDs. A lot of our police and fire personnel didn’t have the training for the AEDs, so the Board of Mayor and Aldermen decided that as long as we’re getting all of them trained, we’ll just get every city employee trained.”
Jones added, “We just wanted to be more prepared to help those who were having a heart attack or felt like they were having a heart attack. At that point in time the person is dying, and help needs to be administered immediately.”