The average lifespan of an ambulance is five (5) years. We purchased two (2) of our eight (8) units, 117 and 118 in 2014. They have over 300,000 miles on each of them. The units respond to 911 calls and provide medical transfers of patients to other facilities.
Crews serve an average of 6,000 patients annually on each unit. There are two staff assigned to each unit. Two (2) counties are served by these units. Comanche county (4th largest county in Oklahoma) has 1,084 sq. mi. and a population of 124,098 which includes the city of Lawton, Fort Sill Military Installation, Cameron University, and Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Cotton County has 642 sq. mi. and a population of 6,193 including the rural cities of Walters, Devol, Randlett, and Temple. A unit costs $94,500.
Current equipment will be transferred from the retired unit to the new unit. Once replaced and equipment transferred the unit will be salvaged.Essentially, 25% of CCMH Ambulance services are out of working condition. The department has not been fully operational since September 2018 and cannot justify spending more money on repairs that have already surpassed half the cost of a new unit. It is urgent that these units be replaced before a widespread disaster event.
One of the most important tools for EMS workers is the source of communication. In an emergency response, EMS workers are highly dependent on quality equipment for communication. It’s about saving the lives of people who are scared and confused, and are in need of protection an direction. In this case, nothing works better than wireless radios and communication equipment. Communication tends to be the worst challenge of any emergency responder.
With the advances in the field of technology, immediate care with real-time collaborations in the field is not only helpful, it is necessary. There must be coordination with the command center, hospital and other agencies in order to provide the public with the best possible care to save lives. In these critical moments an EMS worker repeating themselves several times on a call, spending time to find that one spot where they get reception, and/or waiting for data to transmit or load, are seconds and lives lost due to poor communication equipment.
Considering that much of the service area of Comanche County Memorial Hospital is rural, radio frequency is a major issue. The distance from a cell tower or another radio causes much of the problem. Also consider the nature within this region. The Wichita Mountains will alter the signal on calls and greatly deteriorate reliable radio communication. Therefore, proper equipment is necessary.
Currently, Comanche County Memorial Hospital EMS are using radios that are literally held together by rubber bands to keep the battery connected. The current model of the handheld radios are now obsolete and parts are no longer made for them. Funds are not available to replace the radios.