COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Fire-Rescue crews in Colleton County will soon carry a life-saving resource in their ambulances – blood.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue announced this week it was approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of EMS and Trauma to begin carrying whole blood on its ambulances as part of a pilot project.
This would make Colleton County Fire-Rescue the first county, non-hospital-based ground ambulance service in South Carolina and one of only five services in the county to implement the life-saving measure.
“This project and the higher level of care it brings to our citizens would not be possible without the work of many individuals and group,” said Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue is the only 911 emergency ambulance service in the county, which includes six municipalities. It operates nine advanced life support ambulances staffed with firefighter/paramedics and firefighter/EMT’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to a press release from the agency.
“Fire-Rescue responds to many patients that are victims of traumatic injuries, such as motor vehicle collisions, falls from significant heights, penetrating injuries, and blunt force trauma. Our goal is to rapidly deliver these patients to a trauma center while minimizing blood loss through the use of bleeding control techniques and fluid resuscitation, “said Battalion Chief Joey Campbell. “Unfortunately, our fluids currently consist of volume expanders such as normal saline and lactated ringers, which lack clotting factors and do not carry oxygen. Today, we are left with no alternatives to these fluids, but tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will be better. This pilot project will enable our ambulances to carry life-saving blood that can be administered to patients with traumatic injuries in the field and during transportation to a trauma center. Blood administration will also be available for patients with certain types of medical emergencies.”
The agency currently has the proper equipment to store blood on its ambulance fleet and hopes to have the logistical plans and training wrapped up by mid-February with a goal for March deployment.
“We want to thank the Citizens of Colleton County. We consider it an honor to serve each and every one of you and we are excited to bring this higher level of care to you in the event you experience a traumatic injury,” Chief McRoy.