Jul. 14—VALDOSTA — Lowndes County Commission recognized the Lowndes County Fire Rescue team this week for attaining the EMS agency licensure as a medical first responder agency from the Georgia Department of Public Health, Office of EMS and Trauma.
While the department has had a long-standing relationship working with South Georgia Medical Center, the designation heightens the ability of personnel to provide medical and trauma care to patients, hospital representatives said in a statement.
This has been a long-term goal for the department facilitated through the efforts of Deputy Chief Billy Young, Captain Jeff Talley and Emily Brown, SGMC trauma program manager.
Brown told commissioners how LCFR has assisted the hospital and the process of obtaining full licensure.
"The county fire service as well as all the paid fire services here in Lowndes County have supplemented SGMC with helping to respond to certain medical call, so our code blues, our bad accidents, fire calls obviously, and then whenever we don't have an ambulance where they aren't able to go to a call, our fire service, because they are licensed EMS agents, would respond to those calls. So what we've done is gone through the Department of Public Health for the state of Georgia and had the Fire Rescue certified as a dual agency. So, they are a non-transporting medical first responder agency that's officially licensed through DPH," Brown said.
"Because of that, there's certain requirements that they have to continue to maintain as far as the equipment on the trucks, on the licensure level of the personnel and as well as the training requirements. Because we share a medical director on the first Medical Center, as well their EMS, the Valdosta Fire Department, Lowndes County Fire Rescue and Hahira, we're able to consolidate all of our policies and our protocols on scene and provide a very continuous level of care for the patient from the time that the first person arrives until the time they get to our emergency room."
LCFR has seen a remarkable increase in medical assistance requests during the last few years and this designation serves to increase the overall capability of emergency services throughout the county, Talley said.
"We are always looking for ways to improve and maximize our ability to care for the needs of our community," he said.
"This licensure optimizes the strength of our partnership with South Georgia Medical Center and ensures that everyone we treat receives the best emergency medical care."
County Manager Paige Dukes further recognized the contributions the collaboration between Brown and the LCFR have made for the community.
"While Emily is making this happen for the entire community, we would have been as prepared to receive what she was offering for South Georgia Medical Center without Captain Talley and Chief Young, so for that we're very grateful," she said.
Lowndes County staffs 14 emergency medical responders, 19 emergency medical technicians, two paramedics and is a designated State EMS training site.