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Starke County EMS adding new vehicle to save lives

KNOX, Ind. - Multiple times this year in Starke County, the EMS director made it to a scene before ambulances--without life-saving equipment. Now, they're adding a new vehicle to the fleet in the hopes of saving lives.

Just this past Tuesday, the EMS director beat ambulances to the scene of a cardiac arrest.

The patient ended up being okay, but the director says his new vehicle they're adding at a low cost (about $100 for medication) will help avoid that risk.

“Usually the first two to three minutes, you start kind of losing some brain cells," said Starke County EMS Director Travis Clary.

Starke County EMS prides itself on saving most of those brain cells, but what happens if all the ambulances are tied up.

“Here recently I would say within the last six months, I’ve been first on scene to I would say to four cardiac arrests," said Clary.

He was first on scene without the necessary equipment.

“It is kind of frustrating at times, being a paramedic, arriving on scene, knowing what you need to accomplish, and you can’t accomplish those things," he said.

After showing up empty-handed one too many times, Clary applied to certify a retired Sheriff's department Dodge Charger into an advanced life support non-transport vehicle for him to drive around.

That means it will have pretty much all the equipment an ambulance has (in smaller quantities), Clary just won't be able to drive any patients.

“I could provide life-saving medications, start those same IVs, use that same monitor that we could on the ambulance," said Clary.

He says this is the standard for larger communities but not smaller rural counties like Starke.

His EMS department covers about 312 square miles with three main ambulances in North Judson, Knox, and Grovertown.

They've also got two backups, but they're aren't always enough crew members on call.

With the certification granted just last week by the state, though, they'll have his new ALS non-transport car if no ambulances are available.

Clary says he hopes to have the car--painted black and silver--ready to go at the end of June.


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