The Stanly County Emergency Medical Service is responsible for pre-hospital emergency treatment and transport, inter-facility transfers to out-of-County hospitals, and convalescent transport of patients. The service operates at the Paramedic level of advanced life support. The Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) in the North Carolina Department of Human Resources certifies personnel and the County as a provider. Under guidelines set out by OEMS, Stanly Regional Medical Center is this service’s required sponsor hospital and provides medical direction through an Emergency Medical Director.
At least one Paramedic must be on the ambulance. Some of the procedures a Paramedic can perform are intubation, administration of intravenous medications, cardiac defibrillation, heart pacing, and administration of narcotics. Paramedic is the highest level of certification available for pre-hospital care. The other levels of State certification are Medical Responder, Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and EMT-I. Each level has different training requirements and capabilities. All levels must maintain approved continuing education training in order to be eligible for recertification every four years.
The County has four bases of operation. They are located in Albemarle, Red Cross, New London and just north of Norwood. There are five manned units in service 24 hours per day, seven days per week, two at our Albemarle base and one each at our out lying bases. A shift supervisor is also on duty 24 hours, seven days a week, providing a management presence at all times and carries on numerous duties to improve the service. The Supervisor operates solo in a staff vehicle and responds to calls to assit on duty crews on a daily basis. Vehicles and crews have a specific area of operation, however units are moved to a more strategic location as other units become committed to calls in order to provide better response times County wide.
EMS does charge patients for service and patients are not refused service because they are unable to pay. Charges vary depending on procedures performed, are updated annually and only make up a portion of the operating costs of the service. The tax base makes up the rest. Stanly County has among the lowest rates in the region. A very large portion of the Service’s patients are Medicare patients.
The Service currently has nine ambulance vehicles and two staff vehicles. Five of the units are on the road each day and the remaining four are reserve units, one at each base and can be placed into service in conjuction with an off duty recall, in the event of a disaster or our service is inundated with calls.
A Medical First Responder Program is a very important part of the EMS system and is provided by the fire departments throughout the County. Personnel, mostly volunteer, are trained to at least a basic level of care and are dispatched to emergency calls to provide care to the patient until a Paramedic transport unit arrives. The lowest level of care is a County certification of First Responder. Most departments are electing to become State certified at the Medical Responder level and can provide early defibrillation using automatic defibrillators. These fire departments do not provide ambulance transportation service. Rescue and extrication operations are carried out by a growing number of organizations.