October 17, 2012
Residents in the Pantops area are getting quicker emergency medical service thanks to a new partnership between Martha Jefferson Hospital and Albemarle County.
"There were two calls this morning," said Martha Jefferson Hospital's Vice President of Planning Ron Cottrell. "The benefits have already started."
The station's new ambulance and new central location are helping rescue crews meet the needs of the growing Pantops population and deal with the increased traffic that comes with it.
"Time is muscle," said Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston. "It's very important for us to arrive on scene and begin advanced-level care, pre-hospital care, and then transport immediately to the hospital to continue care."
To do that, the county supplies the ambulance and crew, and the hospital offers the facilities.
"There needs to be power that continually powers the rescue squad, so we put that infrastructure in. They'll have a parking stall here that's easily accessible," said Cottrell. "And then within the hospital, they'll have an office and a place where the staff will stay."
Cottrell said having a base at Martha Jefferson Hospital will cut down the response time for residents in the area. Without the expanded service, Cottrell said the nearest base is three-and-a-half miles away.
But the new location is a temporary fix. Eggleston said the need for a new, central facility dates back to the 1990's. They've secured the land to make that happen, but they're still working out the funds.
"Because of the economy, we were unable to really put this station in service when we wanted to, but we saw this opportunity to partnership with Martha Jefferson Hospital and put an ambulance in service until we can build a more permanent station sometime in the future," Eggleston said.
Eggleston said the new station will allow crews to respond to the developing Pantops areas within a five-minute time frame. He said that's especially important because it is home to the largest population of people over the age of 65 in the area.