Federal fire grant will allow Jemison to purchase new equipment

Published 3:13 pm Monday, June 30, 2014

After receiving a federal fire grant in June for $20,854, the Jemison Fire Department will now purchase two pieces of equipment used to save lives.

Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus announced earlier this month that an Operations and Safety Grant was approved for JFD to be used for the purchase of an ambulance ventilator and video system.

“Firefighters are on the front lines every day, protecting lives and property in the community,” Bachus said in a release. “They deserve modern equipment and the best in safety gear. It is important to ensure that fire companies have the necessary resources to quickly and effectively respond to emergency calls.”

Jemison Fire Chief John Dennis explained on Monday that JFD applied for the grant earlier this year.

“When the hospital closed, if we have an individual who is not breathing, the closest hospital to Chilton County is an average of 25 miles away,” Dennis said. “To manage an airway problem for that distance is pretty labor intensive so the grant is going to be able to allow us to purchase a C-MAC video laryngoscope.”

Dennis said the new tool would allow first responders in a critical situation to get a better airway with a patient with a video scope attached to the tool.

“This equipment will be particularly helpful with the distance that patients need to be transported to get to the nearest medical facility,” Dennis said. “We appreciate the help of Congressman Bachus in helping our department receive this grant.”

The other tool Dennis said the grant would purchase is a ventilator, a machine designed to mechanically move air in and out of the lungs.

“This will help us better treat and care for critical patients,” Dennis said.

Jemison Fire Department started an emergency transport system in 2013, providing response to 911 calls from a city-owned ambulance purchased in 2008.

The city of Jemison operates the emergency transport system through JFD as the fire and emergency medical provider for all 911 calls.

Since beginning the emergency transport system, Dennis said roughly 18-20 percent of all calls are deemed “critical.”

“In rural areas, individuals have the tendency to be more self-sufficient,” Dennis said. “They might call later in an emergency due to trying to manage or deny something is going on. Oftentimes, when 911 receives the call, the situation is even more critical because those individuals have waited.”

The two pieces of equipment covered under the grant have been ordered and should arrive within the next couple of weeks, according to Dennis.

“We are very fortunate to have received this grant,” Dennis said. “These tools will help us out tremendously during moments when it is crucial to saving lives.”