New paramedic intercept vehicle added to NECCOG fleet
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
Paramedic Mark Nadeau and American Ambulance Vice President Greg Allard were on hand at the monthly NECCOG meeting on Oct. 25. They were showing off the latest addition to the fleet of ambulances used to provide service to the organization’s 12 member towns.
The $50,000 Mercedes GL 350 blue tech diesel is a paramedic intercept vehicle that will be housed primarily at Day Kimball Hospital. With an additional $50,000 in radio equipment, EKGs, medications and paramedic gear, the vehicle promises to provide crucial advanced life support services in the rural northeast.
An intercept is performed when a patient needs more than basic life support service. The paramedic vehicle will meet up with, or intercept, the transporting BLS provider. Paramedics will board the ambulance and care for the patient until they arrive at the destination hospital.
Not all emergency medical calls require paramedic service. If a patient has suffered trauma or needs advanced interventions, the vehicle and its staff will be ready. Equipment includes IV drips, a defibrillator, cardiac medications, airways for intubations, and intraosseous needles. Intercept crew members receive almost two years of training before they’re able to respond to calls.
“The training involves looking at the whole picture,” Nadeau said. Ambulance crews are in contact with each other and with Quinebaug Valley Dispatch. Because the vehicle serves the member towns of NECCOG, the crew could be called to respond to Ashford, Woodstock, Sterling or nine other municipalities.
The decision to intercept will depend on times and distances to an area hospital and the condition of the patient. “If a patient is in cardiac arrest, it’s beneficial for us to meet up so we can administer advanced level medicines,” Nadeau said. “If it’s something like a broken leg, it might be easier to go right to the hospital.”
While the vehicle is not meant for transporting patients, it is equipped with everything a paramedic might need if he reaches a scene first. Before an intercept is called in, QV dispatchers will do an emergency medical assessment. “They’ll determine what’s going on through a series of questions,” Nadeau said. “When an ambulance crew gets on scene, they’ll do the same thing. They’ll decide if a paramedic can do anything for this person or if it’s a basic level call.”
Towns pay a set fee per call for the service. Those rates are set by the state’s Department of Public Health. The regional approach is meant to reduce costs for small towns that have neither staff nor resources to provide their own service.