The ambulance will be active daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Fire Station 14.
An ambulance has found its home in Ormond-by-the-Sea.
Volusia County Fire Station 14 will now house an advanced life support fully-staffed ambulance for 12 hours a day in an effort to improve response times in the north peninsula. Implementing this was part of the recommendations presented to the Volusia County Council in early February in efforts to improve the county’s emergency medical services. The north peninsula ambulance was one of two added to fire stations; the other one is stationed in Oakhill. Buying and staffing the two ambulances cost the county about $1.18 million, according to the figures presented to the council in February. The county also began the nurse triage program this week to help with low acuity calls from the 911 dispatch center.
“We’re here," said Joseph Pozzo, county public protection director. "We’re yours. We’re ready to serve.”
Station 14 welcomed the new ambulance on Friday, Dec. 13, with a "backing-in" ceremony traditionally performed on new fire engines. The ambulance was washed, dried and pushed into the station bay.
Hope to improve response times
Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley spoke at the ceremony, saying that the ambulance was a result of taking notice of the delayed response time and deciding to expand services. Back in February, Pozzo told the Ormond Beach Observer that from Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018, EMS received 499 calls for service in the north peninsula, with an average response time of 13 minutes and 24 seconds.
For Volusia County Fire Rescue, deployed from Station 14, the average response time for thte same period was five minutes and 27 seconds.
Kelley illustrated the need for faster response times by recounting an experience he had with an ambulance a decade ago in Nashville. Paramedics arrived quickly and shocked him back to life twice after he went into cardiac arrest.
“Time is of the upmost importance in a situation like that, and since we don’t have hospital facilities very close, this will be a rolling ER and provide those services," Kelley said.
Volusia County Councilwoman Heather Post said many residents in the north peninsula have asked for an ambulance for a long time, especially since the only hospital on the beachside —formerly known as Florida Hospital Oceanside — closed.
Having an ambulance nearby will help with response times, she said.
“Which means what?" Post said. "It means saving lives, and that’s a great thing.”
Collaborating with fire department
The need for an ambulance was "paramount," Volusia County EMS Director Jason Brady said.
When was hired five months ago, he said he was told there were several strategic initiatives that needed to happen; this ambulance was one of them. Since then, he and Volusia County Fire Chief Howard Bailey have established a collaboration.
“We know collectively that EMS providing vital pre-hospital care doesn’t exist in a vacuum," Brady said. "It’s a team spirit. It’s a team sport.”