Horry County Fire Rescue switches up response unit for non-emerg - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County Fire Rescue switches up response unit for non-emergencies

HCFR adds one 'EMT only' staffed ambulance. HCFR adds one 'EMT only' staffed ambulance.

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Fire Rescue is switching things up.  The county is planning to staff a 'basic unit' with two trained EMTs for the first time.

Right now, an ambulance is staffed with one paramedic and one EMT.  The difference between them, according to Horry Georgetown Technical College's EMT and paramedic program director, is that paramedics require more schooling and deeper medical training.  Paramedics can administer more intense on-scene treatment.

Horry County Fire Rescue's spokesman, Capt. Mark Nugent, told WMBF News the county just decided to go ahead with the new 'basic unit.' With two EMTs, its goal is to answer non-emergency calls, like a sprained ankle, for example.  Nugent said the unit will be based out of the county's Forestbrook fire station.  It will also have a wider response range than other units.  That is, Nugent explained, so paramedic-staffed ambulances won't be tied up in a non-emergency when a life-threatening situation is going on elsewhere in the area.

When asked for the reason for the switch-up, Nugent said it is not because of a paramedic shortage.  He said it's cheaper, and will prevent the county from over-responding to non-emergencies.

Nugent said the county currently operates 19 ambulances, or 'medic units,' county-wide.

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