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“People ought to be proud of this” : EMS debuts two new ambulances
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Commissioner Sharon Fausett shares her gratitude for one of the two new state-of-the-art ambulances as Fire Chief & EMA Director Danny Thompson shows her the med unit’s specs, like the oxygen tank’s lifting-and-lowering mechanism. - photo by Julia Hansen

The enthusiasm around Dawson County’s two new ambulances was clear Tuesday afternoon, with people like District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett smiling in delight as Dawson County Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson described several of the unit’s gadgets. 

Now, Dawson County has two new ambulances. One of the med units was on display at Fire Station 2 late Tuesday afternoon after already being taken out on calls, with the other one then in service. 

There are a total of four staffed ambulances and three reserve ones, since med units 1 and 2 have been transitioned to reserve status. Two more ambulances are expected to arrive in Spring 2024, Thompson said. 

He added that the reserve ambulances help when a unit has an issue and has to be taken out of service temporarily for repairs. Since people still have the expectation that emergency services are going to be there when calling 911, the reserve units add an extra layer of coverage and safety, he said.

This story continues below.

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Fire Chief & EMA Director Danny Thompson and EMS Chief Robby Lee stand in front of one of Dawson County’s two newest ambulances. - photo by Julia Hansen

Thompson explained that EMS division chief Robby Lee was “very instrumental” in designing the new ambulances by soliciting a lot of input from medics in the field and having the med unit’s back portions be laid out for easier, more user-friendly operations.

Lee said this layout especially helps, as Dawson County EMS carries more equipment, and personnel do more in-depth procedures. 

The med units include standard medical supplies, from military-grade wound care items to supplies for delivering babies, helping people breathe and treating substance abuse-related symptoms, among many other capabilities. 

There’s a refrigerator for cold medicines and a warmer for hot intravenous fluids, Lee added.

Thompson pointed out the ambulances’ inclusion of equipment like electric stretchers and a platform for the units’ oxygen tanks that lower directly from the trucks. This way, EMS personnel don’t have to move the tanks as far, and workplace injuries can be reduced. 

In addition to that equipment, the ambulances are also equipped with liquid suspension, ballistics vests, items to assist with water rescues and fires, for which there are exterior compartments to hold that gear.

There’s even oxygen masks to help pets being brought out of fires, Lee said. 

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EMS Chief Robby Lee says crews will also have pets covered with these oxygen masks, should any furry friends at fire calls need breathing assistance. - photo by Julia Hansen

Thompson later added that commissioners recently approved a digital inventory system during the July 7 voting session. That will prove helpful, as it’s part of EMS’s job to check equipment at the start of morning shifts. 

Lee elaborated that the increased capability will help with keeping people as stable as possible from a scene until arrival at a hospital, particularly if one of the med units is traveling from the county’s western side.

“The more that we can do, the better for them (patients),” Lee added. 

Lee mentioned that the feedback from crews so far is that everybody loves the space, particularly how it’s organized in a way that makes sense. 

“As far as EMS goes and the services that we provide, we’re probably one of the best if not the best in the state of Georgia,” Thompson said. 

Dawson County Fire & EMS recently posted about the two new med units on the Metro Atlanta Firefighters’s Facebook page.

“We started getting a lot of people saying, ‘Hey, those are some pretty nice units. Can you send me those specs?’” , Thompson said. 

“This is state of the art,” Sharon Fausett said during a tour of one of the new ambulances. “People ought to be proud of this.”