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February 2005 EMS Wire Service

Carolina Providers Develop “Hospital on Wheels”

EMS providers at Charlotte’s Carolinas Medical Center have developed a “hospital on wheels,” known as Carolinas MED-1, that can be fully self-sustaining for more than 48 hours. The unit is designed to augment a damaged hospital or provide additional capacity in the event of a natural disaster or act of terrorism.

Carolinas MED-1 was unveiled last month at the National Association of EMS Physicians’ meeting in Naples, FL. Attendees there viewed demonstrations of the unit’s capabilities, staffing and operations. Florida’s hospitals were hard-hit by a series of hurricanes last summer (see related story, page 50), and many hospitals are reportedly now considering the acquisition of this type of asset.

The unit, built for $1.5 million using Homeland Security grant funds, consists of two standard-size tractor-trailers. One has foldout walls that can turn it into a 14-bed hospital complete with operating facilities, radiology and pharmacy support. The other carries an awning/tent system that can accommodate up to 85 additional beds.

—National Association of EMS Physicians

Canadian Company Onex to Purchase AMR

The largest ambulance company in the U.S., Denver-based American Medical Response (AMR), Inc., will be purchased by the Onex Corp. as part of a $980 million (Canadian) deal that also includes EmCare, Inc., a leading provider of outsourced hospital emergency department physician staffing and management services.

AMR operates 4,400 ambulances and has more than 18,000 employees in 34 states. Dallas-based EmCare employs 4,100. Both companies are subsidiaries of Laidlaw International.

Senior management of the businesses will remain as investors and owners along with Onex. The transaction, which is still subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2005.

—Onex Corp.

IAFF Seeks Investigation of Signal Changers

Unsuccessful last year in an effort to bar the sale of mobile infrared transmitters (MIRTs)—which can change traffic lights from red to green—to the general public, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is now seeking an investigation into the purchase and use of the devices by civilians.

In a letter to NHTSA administrator Dr. Jeffrey Runge, the IAFF’s Richard Duffy wrote that “The general public should not have the right to disrupt emergency operations” by using MIRTs, which are used by emergency responders to get to calls more quickly. He asked NHTSA to examine the problem and possible remedies.

Last year, the union, working with Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), drafted legislation that would have made it illegal for anyone who was not a “government-approved user” to possess or sell traffic pre-emption devices. The proposal was added to transportation legislation that passed the Senate, but died when the Senate and the House of Representatives could not reach a compromise on highway funding issues.

—International Assoc. of Fire Fighters

Guidance Available for Reconciling ICS, NIMS

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center have produced NIMS and the Incident Management System, a document that reviews the development of various versions of the Incident Command System (ICS) and discusses NIMS’s role as the “standardized incident organizational structure for management of all [domestic] incidents.”

The ICS provides a common organizational structure for the immediate response to emergencies, allowing the coordination of personnel and equipment on-site. A requirement of NIMS is that state and local governments and all federal entities institutionalize the use of ICS across their response systems. As agencies now use varying forms of the ICS, the paper explains how these systems can be integrated into a common ICS system, as required by the Department of Homeland Security.

To download the document, go to www.fema.gov/nims.

—Department of Homeland Security

NREMT: New Community Relations Manager

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) has named Christina Fitzer as its first community relations manager. In the newly created position, Fitzer will develop and implement the NREMT’s communications and community relations strategies to build stronger relationships with the communities it serves, including state EMS offices, EMT education providers and EMTs themselves.

Fitzer comes to the NREMT from the Greater Columbus (OH) Chamber of Commerce, where she developed and implemented that organization’s communications and media-relations strategies. She has also served as a public-relations specialist for the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism and a PR specialist for computer software developer Ascent Solutions, Inc.

—NREMT

MomsTeam Offers AED Discounts

As part of a national campaign entitled Save a Child’s Life: An AED for Every Team, the advocacy group MomsTeam, which promotes safety in youth sports, is offering group buying discounts to municipalities, departments and even individuals wishing to purchase AEDs.

Taking advantage of this offer can save buyers almost $500 on every AED purchased: The deal offers a specific defibrillator model for just $999. “Because defibrillators are valuable to any kind of organization—schools, parks and recreation, public works, police, fire and, of course, all sports teams—these groups are welcome to become MomsTeam members,” the organization said in a release announcing the program.

The package includes the AED, pads, a five-year battery pack, a 9-volt status-indicator battery, a user manual and quick-use card, and an online video. A seven-year battery pack is available for an extra $97.

Membership in MomsTeam is free. The organization was formed in 2000 to promote safety in youth sports; its efforts have included advocating for the widespread use of defibrillators by youth sports teams and at sporting events. For more, visit www.momsteam.com or e-mail aeds@momsteam.com.

—MomsTeam

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