0

New tracking equipment for medical emergencies

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Elaine Rackley

erackley@henryherald.com

The Henry County Fire Department's ambulances will soon be equipped with Automatic Vehicle Location Systems (AVLS). The new equipment will be used to track Emergency Medical Services resources in real time locations, and to transmit important medical data to receiving hospitals, according to county officials.

The Henry County Fire Department was selected last month to be part of Phase II of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency's AVLS. During this Phase, 17 Automatic Vehicle Location Systems will be installed in the Henry County Fire Department's ambulances.

"In case of a disaster, ambulances can be tracked or deployed statewide," said Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security spokesperson, Crystal Paulk-Buchanan. "Essentially [AVLS] is a mass casualty incident management system."

"This will assist us in providing a more effective and efficient emergency response system for our citizens," said Henry County Fire Division Chief of Operations Brad Johnson.

The AVLS equipment provides several everyday uses such as state-of-the-art fleet management, messaging, dispatch and wireless vehicle internet capabilities. In the event of a widespread emergency the AVLS system will help coordinate a multi-organization response, and provide increased statewide medical surge capabilities, added officials.

"This system allows us to better track medical resources, and allows Emergency 911 to send the closest unit to a medical call," added Johnson. "It also allows [Emergency Medical Technicians] to transmit [electrocardiogram] and medial data to the hospital prior to arrival."

The initial cost of the project is $49,810, which is covered under the grant received from Georgia Emergency Management Agency. This grant covers all fees until June 30, 2012.

Next year, the county can choose to pay the yearly connection fee of approximately $11,000, or cancel the agreement if additional funding is not available.