The USVI Department of Health (DOH) introduced three more of the new custom built ambulances during a Dedication and Passing-of-the-Key Ceremony that was held today at 9:30am, in the parking lot of the Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC). Two of the 2017 Ford SuperDuty F-450 4X4 6.7L Turbo Diesel Engine ambulances have been designated for St. Thomas and one for St. John.
The St. Thomas EMS division initially had six operational ambulances, now their fleet is eight. St. John originally had two ambulances in service and now they have three. St. Croix had three in rotation and now they have five.
Assistant Commissioner (AC) Taetia Dorsett, represented Commissioner of Health, Michelle Davis at the ceremony. AC Dorsett began the ceremony by stating, “The Health Department is pleased to announce that today’s unveiling of the new St. Thomas/St. John ambulance fleet represents a response to the community’s call to action. After many months of dialogue with EMS management/staff and political leaders, we now see the great community’s need finally addressed. We are extremely proud to be able to offer improvements in the efficiencies and response times with our new state of the art fleet.”
The agenda also consisted of remarks from Deputy Commissioner Nicole Syms on behalf of Dr. Marc Jerome (Medical Director), Lloyd T. Bough Jr. (Commissioner Nominee of the Department of Property & Procurement), Myron Jackson (Senate President), Avon Chesterfield (DOH’s STT/STJ EMS Coordinator), Merwyn Potter (STT/Water Island Administrator). Other senators, DOH staff, Fire Services, SRMC, the St. John Administrator, and members of the community were present and shared in the DOH’s proud moment.
Senate President Myron Jackson cited ACT 7866, which allowed for the purchase of the new ambulances. He also spoke extensively about the 31st and 32nd Legislature working with the Executive Branch to acquire the new fleet.
Avon Chesterfield, EMS Coordinator of the St. Thomas/St. John district, commented on the benefits of the newly acquired ambulances stating, “the ambulances are well built and will be able to handle the terrain much better due to special features, to include four-wheel drive and the vehicle’s lowering capability for easier unloading.”
Those in attendance were given a tour and detailed explanation of the many features and equipment onboard all the new ambulances.
By hiring additional EMTs and paramedics and placing them in strategic areas on each island, Commissioner Davis intends to continue improving the emergency medical services and response time in the territory. Per the governor’s Executive Order# 481-2017, the hiring of EMTs and paramedics were identified as essential positions, which are critical to the DOH’s mission to improve health in the Territory.