Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Falmouth EMS without ambulance

Published:Saturday | February 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMKarrie Williams

WESTERN BUREAU:

Despite hosting the world's largest cruise liners, with an estimated 12,000 visitors weekly, and being home to a rapidly growing local population, the town of Falmouth is unable to offer adequate emergency medical services, as the ambulance at the Falmouth Fire Station is in disrepair.

This situation has caused grave concern among stakeholders, who say multiple appeals to the government for assistance, over the past three years, have been to no avail.

"We were blessed in 2007 with an ambulance and a rescue unit consisting of trained firefighters as first responders. Both have since gone down and have never been replaced. Up to last week, I sent off a letter to our state minister regarding the problems we are having and I have been doing this for the past three years, regarding the state of our emergency response," said Garth Wilkinson, Mayor of Falmouth.

According to Roland Walters, Divisional Head of the Falmouth Fire Station, the situation has affected the emergency Medical Services (EMS) unit which has been unable to effectively respond to emergency calls, particularly those related to motor vehicle accidents.

"I know it has been out for repairs for some time now. We got one on loan, but it too seems to be having some transmission problems, so is also out of service. This situation is troubling for me as the fire chief, as we are here to serve, we are here to save lives and to protect property and if we are not able to do so, certainly it's a concern," lamented Roland Walters, Divisional Head of the Falmouth Fire Station.

"Most of our calls are accident related because as you know, the stretch between Braco and Greenwood is a hot spot. We have a high incidence of motor vehicle accidents along that road way and we are not able to respond. Even when we respond with a fire unit, we can only stabilise," he said.

He added: "If we are going to use other means to transport that patient, then it compromises their condition because we wouldn't know whether spinal injuries were sustained. We would need to transport the patient in such a way so as to ensure that when they arrive at hospital, no further damage is done and that's where it puts us in a difficult position. Other than motor vehicle accidents, you also have persons with lifestyle illnesses that would go into a heart attack or a stroke and we are not able to respond," he added.