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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Shawswick Township Fire Territory Tells Lawrence County 911 Board its ready for Service January 1st

LAWRENCE COUNTY - JUNE 2, 2022 - Shawswick/Guthrie Township Fire Territory will be running by midnight January 1, 2023, according to Fire Chief Bobby Brown.

Lawrence County Commissioners does not have a Ambulance contract with either IU Lifeline Ambulance Service or Seals Ambulance service to provide 911 ambulance coverage as required by Indiana law. Under Indiana Law 16-31-5-1 each county must provide 911 Ambulance coverage.

Lawrence County has been fortunate that both hospitals have provided ambulance coverage free of charge since the first county ambulance service began in the 70s.

Shawswick/Guthrie Fire Territory will provide a BLS Ambulance to Lawrence County by midnight January 1, 2023

The new ambulance service was welcomed by both IU Lifeline Ambulance and Seals Ambulance Services representatives during a Lawrence County 911 Board meeting Thursday morning.

Shawswick/Guthrie Fire Territory has already one ambulance and will be purchasing a second ambulance which should be in around September according to Brown.

Seals and IU Lifeline Ambulance Services use a chaser vehicle when ambulance are not available in Lawrence County

The addition of a 24 hour/ 7 day a week Basic Life Support ambulance service is great news for Lawrence County residents.

Due to the increase of inter-facility transfers from both IU Health Hospital and St. Vincent's Dunn Hospital to critical care hospitals outside of Lawrence County have left the county with decrease 911 ambulance service.

" There have been times Lawrence County 911 dispatchers have tried calling five nearby counties for ambulances to cover calls," said Valarie Luchuaer, Lawrence County 911 Director. "

Jackson County Emergency Medical Services have advised Lawrence County they will no longer provide backup ambulance service for Lawrence County. This primary due to the frequency and amount of those requests.

Jackson County EMS have advised Lawrence County they will no longer provide backup ambulance coverage

A medical director named for the new ambulance service which will oversee the operation and provide EMS education for the department. Dr. Kaufman has been selected as the department's medical director.

The ambulances will be known as EMS 11 and EMS 12 for its radio designation.

" We will only provide transport for emergencies within Lawrence County, our ambulance will not be used for inter-facility transfers," said Brown. " The ambulance will be stationed at current Shawswick Fire Station # 1. We have begun work on our fire station, which included redoing our floors, preparing sleeping quarters and other accommodations for four emergency responders to staff the fire station," said Brown.

During the Lawrence County 911 Board meeting Brown provided details of some of the equipment that is needes to be purchased for the ambulance. IU Lifeline Ambulance Service will be switching heart monitors to Zoll Company which will also present a problem for volunteer fire services who's pads are used with the previous LifePak heart monitors.

Seals Ambulance Service told Brown that their ambulance service will still use the LifePak heart monitors on its ambulances.

Lawrence County 911 Board also instructed Brown that the Shawswick/Guthrie Fire Territory will have to petition the board to be used as a 911 provider when they are ready to go in service. The ambulance will be given a set of protocols on how the ambulances are dispatched in Lawrence County.

The ambulance will be dispatched using the old Guthrie Township Fire Department alert tones, this is to separate ambulance calls from fire calls the department is alerted to.

During the meeting it was discussed that all EMS providers needed to be dispatched on one common frequency, which is not currently being done at this time. This will make the third ambulance provider.

The ambulances will also be required to install AVL system. This is to help know where each ambulance is responding from and location when taken a call.

Lawrence County has struggled with the lack of ambulance coverage over the last several years, with sometimes ambulances coming from Greene County and far away as Martinsville to answer emergency calls.

The issues continue to be addressed, but in the meantime Shawswick/Guthrie Township has answered this need by providing additional ambulance coverage.

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