Emergency medical technicians made a record number of runs in 2015, according to the South Lorain County Ambulance District.
Ambulances here responded to 1,318 calls, providing mutual aid to surrounding districts on 13 of the calls, according to an annual report released to the Enterprise.
“We had more runs than ever before,” said Dave Knapp, SLCAD executive director, “but we can’t put our finger on it. You can’t blame just drugs or motor vehicle accidents — as a whole, the numbers are up.”
In 2014, SLCAD responded to 1,253 calls.
LifeFlight calls were down — 13 medical helicopter rescues in 2015 compared to 27 the previous year. “That could either be the type of accident, or maybe they couldn’t fly due to weather and we had to transport instead,” Knapp said.
In the past year, emergency personnel administered naloxone nine times, Knapp said. The opiate antagonist counteracts life-threatening effects of a heroin or opiate overdose, allowing crews time to get a victim to the hospital.
The Wellington-based ambulance crews cover 125 square miles, some 22,000 residents in the southern part of Lorain County, including the village; Rochester; and Brighton, Huntington, and Penfield townships.
SLCAD staffs two trucks around the clock throughout the year. An additional third truck is used if there is one in for service or if it’s needed for multiple calls.
The third truck is often out for public events such as the annual Balloon Fest, football games, or the Lorain County Fair. It was however, was used 13 times in the last year for emergency response during especially busy periods.
The district purchased new equipment including iPads at the very end of 2014. In 2015, SLCAD went live, reporting runs electronically and operating paperless.
A 2008 ambulance was replaced with a new 2015 four-wheel-drive truck for $192,000 in October, providing safer winter travel.
Heart monitors were replaced with a newer Life Pac 15 monitor, enhancing patient care and allowing EMTs to transmit patient electrocardiograms to the hospital while en route, providing hospitals with life-saving information.
In July, the district purchased its first Lucas 2 chest compression system for $14,000. The device provides constant, prescise chest compressions during cardiac arrest when CPR is needed, freeing staff to provide other care. The device is safer than having staff doing chest compressions while standing in a moving vehicle.
Another unit was purchased in August so one is available for both the primary and back-up trucks. The units have been used six times since they were purchased.
The district will ask voters in March for a 3.25-mill levy renewal and increase.
Part of the reason behind the request for the quarter-mill property tax hike was due to the rising costs of equipment, Knapp said.
Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.