Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fleming Island Adding 'Life' Area Gets a New Medical Addition

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fleming Island Adding 'Life' Area Gets a New Medical Addition

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracy Spengler, County Line correspondent

Fleming Island is no longer the sleepy little neighborhood it was just a few years ago, and as the fastest-growing section of Clay County, it has created a greater demand for emergency medical services.

The County Commission has recognized the need for additional services, and earlier this month Rescue 77 was added to Fleming Island's Fire Station 22 on Pine Avenue.

Rescue 77 joined the county's fleet of Advanced Life Support ambulances in Clay County on June 5, and was officially recognized with an open house Tuesday.

While the station has had an Advanced Life Support (paramedic) fire engine since February 1990, Fleming Island has lacked an ALS ambulance.

"Until now, we've had no way of transporting patients to hospitals," said Capt. Scott Baltes. "We've had to rely on Orange Park as a first line of transportation, and if they were tied up, Green Cove Springs' rescue unit would transport. If Green Cove was busy, we'd use Lake Asbury. With an ambulance on the island, transport time will be much less."

From basic wound care to intravenous fluids, the Advanced Care Life Support rescue unit is fully equipped to handle a variety of emergencies.

"Our vehicle features Lifepack 12, the most advanced 12-lead EKG system in a pre-hospital setting," said Lt. Jerry Walden. "We are able to diagnose heart attacks in the field and get treatment started before they arrive at the emergency room."

The unit is staffed around the clock by a paramedic and a driver-emergency medical technician, and will provide emergency ambulance service to the residents of Fleming Island and surrounding areas.

"We receive such a variety of calls on Fleming Island," Walden said. "There are lots of young families here, as well as plenty of retirees. Therefore, we handle everything from pediatric to geriatric emergencies."

Rescue 77's territorial boundaries start on the island side of the Black Creek Bridge on U.S. 17, north to Westover Road, and west to College Drive at Brickyard Road.

"The addition of the new unit decreases response territories for rescue units previously covering Fleming Island," Baltes said, "which allows for faster response times for all units responding to emergencies. …

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