During a press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony that was held at 10:30am today, the USVI Department of Health (DOH) unveiled two of the five newly custom built 2017 Ford SuperDuty F-450 4X4 6.7L Turbo Diesel Engine ambulances, that recently arrived in the Territory. The ceremony was held in the parking lot of the Charles Harwood Complex, located on St. Croix. Upgrading the territory’s emergency vehicles has been a priority of this administration, and this ceremony marks a significant milestone in the progressive development of the Department of Health’s commitment to providing and improving the quality of healthcare in the Territory.
Addressing those in attendance, DOH’s Commissioner, Michelle S. Davis, PhD said, “Satisfied employees provide quality service. The Department of Health is ecstatic that we can provide the EMTs with these state of the art ambulances. As result of their satisfaction, they are now equipped to be able to maximize their skills and talents and provide quality emergency care. This means saving lives and improving the quality of life in the Territory significantly.” In addition to thanking VITEMA and the National Guard for providing support during times of previous ambulance distress, Commissioner Davis also thanked the Honorable Governor Kenneth E. Mapp, the senators and the Department of Property & Procurement for their support and assistance in making the acquisition of the ambulances a reality.
The agenda also consisted of comments from Dr. Marc Jerome (DOH’s Medical Director), Lloyd T. Bough Jr. (Commissioner Nominee of the Department of Property & Procurement), Reuben Molloy, (DOH’s Deputy Commissioner of Operations & Capital Projects), Jacqueline Greenidge-Payne (DOH’s EMS Acting Territorial Coordinator/Paramedic) and Gregory Schuster (Special Assistant to the Governor). Several senators, DOH staff and members of the community and the media were present and shared in the DOH’s proud moment.
After the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony those in attendance were given a tour and detailed explanation of the many features and equipment onboard all the new ambulances. The newly acquired ambulances were custom built to meet the medical needs and the terrain of the territory. During her explanation of the features on the ambulance, Jacqueline Greenidge-Payne, National Registered Paramedic (NRP), stated, “These ambulances comply with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety guidelines, along with other federal requirements and regulations. Some of the compliance factors include vinyl seating; so, they are not permeable. As small as this may seem, it meets the code of Federal Regulations, in terms of bloodborne pathogens.”
With hydraulic rising and lowering capabilities, the ambulances can also be placed at different heights depending on the terrain and to load and off load patients; the stretcher is a battery-operated Stryker powered ProXT, which eliminates the EMTs having to physically lift the stretcher and will provide for a smoother ride for the patient and prevent future back injuries of the EMT’s. Also, onboard is a Life Pack 15 Cardiac Monitor that can detect injuries to the heart, being able to view it in 21 areas of the heart. This modification allows the EMTs to identify and treat various cardiac arrhythmias. This device can also automatically record any procedure that occurs on the ambulance and transfer those records via Bluetooth to the EMS charts documentation system; treatment will be registered in real-time.
Mrs. Payne added, “I am proud to say the DOH’s EMS division is nationally recognized and equally qualified and on the same level as EMTs nationwide. We are in compliance with the National Emergency Medical Services Information System V3 (NEMSIS) and have met the new National Registry Transition Guidelines, which means the EMTs are certified to offer more pre-hospital care.”
Upon the completion of the ceremony and motorcade, the two new ambulances were immediately put into service on St. Croix. The DOH on St. Croix previously had three ambulances in rotation and they now have five.
On Monday, April 24th, the DOH will be also hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the ambulances on St. Thomas/St. John, which will be held in the Schneider Regional Medical Center’s (SRMC) executive parking lot/EMS adjacent lot, from 9:30am-11:30am. We are inviting the media, public officials and the public to share in this significant development and improvement in the Territory's emergency response capability. Individuals will receive a tour and an in depth showing of the specifications on the new ambulance.