Brantley Rescue sees growth

Published 8:53 am Thursday, September 5, 2013

Brantley Rescue has grown by leaps and bounds in the last seven years and is self-sustaining, according to information released by the department this week.

When current rescue captain Sylvia Davis took over in November 2006, the department had less than $1,000 in its checking account due mainly to poor billing practices by the company it had contracted with.

Wayne Blackmon, who is a paramedic for the Brantley Rescue and has been a member of the squad for years said money in the bank would go up and down, but there was never a steady source.

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One of the first changes Davis made when she took over as captain was to change billing companies.

Jimmy Johnson, who has been involved in Brantley Rescue for years said that now, Davis proofreads each patient care report to make sure that “every I is dotted and every T is crossed.”

Thanks in part to adequate billing and the department’s dialysis ambulance service, which takes patients to dialysis treatments six days a week, Brantley Rescue’s coffers are “a very proficient amount.”

Additionally, they have purchased three new ambulances, complete with all new equipment.

Blackmon said the equipment in the town’s ambulances can compete with any unit in South Alabama.

“A lot don’t carry nearly the equipment,” he said. “We turn around and put money into our equipment. We could pay enormous salaries, but we don’t.”

All the equipment would be useless without training individuals to utilize it, and officials say they have doubled in the number of medics on staff.

Currently, they have two paramedics, two advanced EMTS, one intermediate, two basics and all five drivers are now certified first responders.

“I would put our medics up against anyone,” Blackmon said.

The squad runs a 24-hour service for south Crenshaw County, including a paid day crew, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Advanced EMT Elaine Odom said insurance doesn’t matter to the team.

“We are here to serve the folks of Crenshaw County,” she said.

Their primary area of service is the south end of the county, but they are available to provide mutual aid to any ambulance company or rescue unit that needs it.

To keep up-to-date on the latest practices, policies and procedures, the department holds training once a month, and they have to renew their licenses every two years.

“The state regulates how we run, what we can do,” Odom said.

Blackmon said their protocol is governed by the state on most things, including heart attacks and strokes.

The state recently implemented a new stroke system – The Southeast Regional Pilot Acute Stroke System (SPRASS), which is designed to minimize death and disability from stroke.

Crenshaw Community Hospital is not included in the SRPASS stroke hospitals, however, Andalusia Regional, Mizell Memorial Hospital and Troy Regional are all listed as Level III, while Baptist South, Jackson Hospital, Flowers Hospital and Southeast Medical Center are all considered Level II, which enables them to accept more complex cases.

Davis said looking back, her team is “stronger, has more money and top of the line equipment.

“It’s the best I’ve seen it in the 24 years I’ve been here,” she said.

“It’s definitely paying off,” advanced EMT Derick Hall said. “We’re saving lives.

“We are as happy a group today as we’ve been in a few years,” Johnson said.

The organization is essentially self-sustaining. It is housed in a building owned by the Town of Brantley, which supplies garbage and water to the building. However, Brantley Rescue does pay its share of utilities.