SCC Emergency Squad and Hillsborough County Working Together
By Diane M. Loeffler
Did you ever wonder why you sometimes see both the Emergency Squad and Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue at a home? While interviewing dispatchers for a future article, Dispatcher Cricket Fraser received a call. She followed the protocols and the team of Jim Ryan EMT, Betty McDonald EMR and Driver Jack McDonald rushed to the ambulance. As they passed by, one of them said, “Do you want to ride along?” Of course, I bolted for the door.
Everyone buckled up. From my seat, I could see Betty McDonald taking notes. When we arrived, Hillsborough County was there as well. If this occurs, that usually means that the individual called 911. The Squad’s emergency number is 813 634-3800.
The gurney was quickly unloaded. One of the items on it was a lift belt. Since most of the area’s emergencies involve a fall, lift belts are important pieces of equipment. In this case, the individual did not require transportation, and we returned to the station after the person was determined to be stable. If a person were to be transported to the hospital by the Squad, there would be no charge.
Afterwards, EMT Jim Ryan said, “If both the Emergency Squad and Hillsborough County are at the scene, the ALS [County] takes control and makes the decisions including if the Sun City Center Emergency Squad should take the person to the hospital.” ALS means Advanced Life Saving. An ALS team has paramedics and can give drugs. The Squad is Basic Life Saving or BLS.
Chief Mike Bardell says, “If both Hillsborough County and the Emergency Squad both arrive at an emergency, what happens next depends on the nature of the emergency. If the individual is stable, Hillsborough County will turn the care over to the Emergency Squad. If the county doesn’t transport the person, then there is no charge.” Also, by turning over the patient’s care to the Squad, the County is free respond to other emergencies.
Dispatchers ask questions to determine if the Squad or County should respond. Still there are a few times when the Squad arrives at an emergency, and finds the situation to be different than expected. For example, a caller may simply say someone “cannot talk” and not report that the person is unconscious. As soon as the nature of an emergency is determined to require a paramedic and / or drugs, the Squad will contact the County. Isn’t it good to know we have both levels of emergency response available in our area?
IN THE PHOTO: Mike Bardell, Sun City Center Emergency Squad Chief, and Derek Butler, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief, with the brand new rescue truck that will begin service in SCC the first week of December.