Wilkes County EMS receives $150,000 grant

NORTH WILKESBORO — The Health Foundation has selected Wilkes County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as the recipient of a $150,000 grant. This grant will be a 50/50 match with The Health Foundation providing about $75,000 and the remainder coming from Wilkes EMS’ billing for services.

The grant will be used to purchase seven automatic CPR devices to improve paramedics’ ability to care for victims of cardiac arrest. In addition, the grant will fund community CPR classes and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) campaign which will help place defibrillators in the Wilkes County area.

“When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR reduces their chances of survival,” said Eric Morrison, director of Wilkes County EMS. “This grant will help us to provide even better care to the citizens and visitors of Wilkes County. We hope that by teaching CPR in the community that we will encourage more bystanders to get involved, call 911, and then begin CPR prior to the arrival of first responders.”

The Lucas Devices, LUCAS CPR, quickly replace the person performing CPR compressions. Research has shown that consistent compressions are the key to survival. Human rescuers tire quickly when performing CPR correctly and have to switch out frequently.

“In larger cities, there may be five to 10 first responders available on scene to help,” said Morrison. “In rural areas, we know that most first responders are volunteers and are not always available in large numbers. These devices will perform compressions so that we can make better use of our limited manpower to perform other treatments.”

Commented Executive Director Heather Murphy, “In matters of life and death, when moments and minutes can make all the difference it is extremely important that our hard-working, dedicated emergency responders have the equipment they need to provide the best possible care for the people of Wilkes County. Our heroic EMTs and Paramedics are exposed to many inherent risks by the work they do, and so it is equally important that we minimize their exposure to harm. This equipment promises to do both — by giving them an extra set of hands to deliver chest compressions to patients in the field, as well as to continue those compressions while our ambulances are in transit along our curvy mountain roads. Now, our Paramedics will be able to remain safely buckled in and seated during transport.

“This grant is made possible by our generous contributors. We are currently conducting our Annual Membership Drive, which funds our work. We are grateful to our membership, as well as all those who work to provide quality care for the people of Wilkes County,” she added.

In coming weeks, Wilkes County EMS will make additional announcements about the AED and Community CPR program.

The Health Foundation makes grant for CPR devices and defibrillators