AP NEWS

Timmonsville Rescue Squad wins state distinction for fourth time

June 23, 2018

TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. — For the fourth time in 10 years Timmonsville Rescue Squad is South Carolina’s Small EMS of the year — a feat that Chief Donnie Windham said he hopes shows the agency is doing its job well.

The agency received the award from South Carolina EMS Network during the South Carolina Emergency Care Symposium gathering in March.

The competition is for small EMS departments with at least 1,500 emergency runs a year. Johnsonville and Pamplico Rescue Squads also fall into that category, Windham said.

Timmonsville won the distinction previously in 2007, 2012 and 2014, Windham said. That fact is displayed prominently on its five ambulances. In the near future they’ll be adding 2017 to the list.

The agency’s coverage area is bounded by the U.S. 76/Interstate 95 interchange to the east, U.S. 301 to the south, Sumter and Lee counties to the west and Darlington County to the north.

“We back up Florence County. We back up Sumter County and occasionally Darlington and Lee County. We’re right here in the center and we can do that,” Windham said.

In addition to the 1,500 or so emergency runs the agency handles, it fields about 1,200 convalescent calls a year. Three of its ambulances are advanced life-support units while two, which are used for convalescent transport, are basic life-support units. Windham said all the units are set up so a quick swap of gear can take one of the basic units and convert it to an advanced unit.

The agency also has one Lucas Device — an automated CPR device to allow medics to provide improved care en route to a hospital.

Other less recent innovations and modernizations have been embraced by the agency as well, including the self-lifting stretchers that reduce the amount of lifting involved in patient loading, Windham said.

The competition is based on information packets submitted by the agencies that include public submissions about responses and care and judged by a panel of 10 judges, he said.

One incident included in this year’s competition packet stood out to Windham.

About 13 years ago the agency responded to a crash on Interstate 95, and involved in that crash was a young girl. That girl, and her family, returned to the agency in 2017, brought dinner and got to meet members of the crew that served them at the crash scene.

That girl, he said, is now an EMT/Firefighter.

“You don’t ever know when you make an impression,” Windham said.

How does the state’s small EMS agency of the year celebrate?

“We have some T-shirts and stuff ordered,” Windham said.

Oh, there are bragging rights involved as well, he added.