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Grant allows Tillman County EMS to purchase new ambulance, equipment

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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FREDERICK, Okla. (KSWO) - Tillman County EMS says a grant from the state will make a huge impact on the care they offer to the people they serve.

Tillman County EMS was able to purchase a new ambulance thanks to a $250,000 grant from the State Department of Health. Because they’re a rural service, they rely on grants to purchase the new equipment needed to serve patients.

“We have to go out and work on getting grants and stuff because it’s just too much money. It’s almost impossible for us to stay up and compete with the bigger ambulance services but with this money and this equipment we received, we can stay right up there fixed with the best of them, which means we can give better patient care. If we didn’t have it, we couldn’t do it. So, it’s really a blessing for our community,” said EMS Director Ralph Washburn.

The ambulances quickly rack up miles in Tillman County, due in part to how far they often have to drive to get to a call and then how far they have to drive to get to a hospital.

“I think it’s 777 square miles is my understanding. It’s all of Tillman County. We cover a lot of area, it’s about 35 minutes to Grandfield, Tipton is about 15 minutes, Davidson is about 15 minutes so it’s a pretty large area that we cover from here,” Washburn said.

“We don’t have a hospital anywhere around that’s close. Our drive is at the most an hour and at least 35 minutes to the nearest hospital,” said Office Manager and EMT Jackie Johnson.

The grant also allowed them to purchase a new cardiac monitor for their new ambulance. On top of that, the vehicle comes with new equipment that will help with patient care.

“With our prior ambulances we haven’t had a liquid spring and this one comes with it. With trauma patients, it locks the box in so you’re not causing any more damage going down these roads. We also have Lucas devices, doing CPR from Frederick to Lawton or Frederick to Altus is a lot physically. That takes a big toll off of us of having more people to do that when going down the road,” said Office Billing and EMT Starla Wilson.

The new ambulance isn’t quite in service yet as it still needs to pass an inspection, but the hope is it will be ready in the coming days. As for the old ambulance, it will still be used to help the community. Tillman County EMS is donating it to emergency crews in Grandfield for them to use.

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