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CALABASH—It started as a tiny rescue squad–one ambulance and 11 “minimally credentialed” providers on Dec. 19, 1982.
Thirty years later, Calabash Volunteer Emergency Medical Services, Station 29, consists of a volunteer staff of more than 30, some with the highest level of paramedic training, and has capability of running three ambulances.
“This summer, we were able to run one ambulance 24 hours a day, and another during peak call times for an additional 12 hours,” said Calabash EMS board member Ginny O’Brien.
The department was initially a basic life support (BLS) squad that has since advanced to intermediate level.
Intermediate EMS members have completed an additional 300 hours of schooling. They can perform a number of advanced life support and pharmacological interventions.
“Since several of our volunteers are experienced intermediates or paramedics, they have the experience to understand, treat and work cohesively with other life-saving agencies,” O’Brien said.
Though the squad has had leadership changes during the years, it continues to thrive under its strong and diverse board, she said.
It is financially supported by its Calabash thrift store, which is also staffed by volunteers, as well as community donations.
This past July, Calabash EMS had its highest recorded month of transports; more than 100. O’Brien said that reflects the department is available 24/7 and its level of training allows members to be primary caregivers for anyone in the community who needs them.
Since its new chief, Steven Barger, assumed office late this year, “we have maintained 100 percent shift coverage, with volunteer staff to continue to serve the community,” O’Brien said.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.