Friday, September 17, 2010

Alexander Rescue Squad Places New Equipment Into Service

“Technology Hits the Water”
In the vast field of Rescue work, it often takes many different types of equipment to locate, access, stabilize and transport our victims. For many years in the past, victims of the water were sometimes at best difficult to locate. In many instances one of the main reasons that area Rescue Squads were formed was to locate drowned victims. It was a mixture of equipment and some skill but largely luck to find a victim underwater. Drag hooks with ropes attached and grappling poles were about the only means to locate victims. In recent years divers have been a more popular means of victim location; however in our bodies of water it is difficult at best to see much more than two or three feet around you. Diving certification is very expensive and the cost and maintenance of equipment makes this type of victim location not cost effective. Alexander Rescue maintains mutual aid agreements with several agencies in our region that are certified in open and black water dive and recovery.

In late August 2010, Alexander Rescue Squad took a major step in modern day technology to locate victims underwater. The Squad purchased and has installed on one of the departments three boats a Hummingbird Side Scanning Imaging (Sonar) Device. The unit (pictured above) is the 1197C Search and Rescue Model.

It will provide operators a view of the water column between the surface and the bottom as well as a picture of the bottom of the water body. The unit has the capability of an onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) for marking the location of the victim or other objects of interest. The unit gives information as to the depth, temperature and how fast the boat is traveling. This tool along with the regional diving capability and the current means of underwater search will greatly enhancement the overarching safety aspect, a quicker victim recovery and should reduce overall response cost of underwater search.

If you look to the top left (indicated by the arrow) you will see an actual victim image as it appears on the bottom of the body of water. This picture is courtsey of Roseboro Rescue & EMS, Inc in Sampson County, North Carolina.This victim was located and recovered in a matter of a few hours (a process that otherwise may take several hours to a day or more).

Squad members will begin training on the use of the device over the course of the next few weeks. The Squad has made contact with the marketing company for Johnson Outdoors (parent company of the Hummingbird brand name) who will be sending a Technical Specialist Representative to train Squad members in its use.

The members of Alexander Rescue Squad would like to thank the Citizens of Alexander County and The Town of Taylorsville; along with both governing bodies for your continued support and our Board for allowing us to purchase equipment that greatly enhances our jobs and helps us to bring closure to families who suffer this type of loss.

Wes Blackwelder
Public Relations Officer
Alexander Rescue Squad

Alexander Rescue Squad is an agency of the United Way of Alexander County

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Residents can sign up for CodeRED to get emergency notification calls

If being forewarned is forearmed,then local residents may want to make use of the county’s latest program.
The Alexander County Offices of Emergency Management and Public Health have contracted with Emergency Communications Network to license its CodeRED high-speed notification solution. (Think of it as a space-age phone tree.) The Code RED System provides Alexander Count officials the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas or the entire County.
Russell Greene, Alexander County Emergency Services Director, cautioned that such systems are only as good as the telephone number database supporting them.
“If your phone numbers are not in the database, you will not be called,” he stated.
One of the reasons the CodeRED system was selected is it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly into the system’s database, this is an extremely important feature.
“No one should assume his or her phone number is automatically included,” Greene said, urging all individuals and businesses to log onto the official Alexander County website,, and follow the link to the“CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment”page. Those without Internet access may call Alexander County Emergency Services at 828-632-9336 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. to supply their information over the phone. Required information includes first and last name, street address (that is the physical address, not a P.O. Box), city, state, Zip Code, and primary phone number. Additional phone numbers can be entered as well.
All businesses should register,as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address in the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or Voice-Over-IP(VoIP) phone as their primary number.
Greene explained,“CodeRED allows geographically-based delivery,which means street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation. The system works for cell phones, too, but we need to have an associated street address to provide relevant messages.”
CodeRED gives those who want to be included an easy and secure method for inputting information. The data collected will only be used for emergency notification purposes.”
Questions should be directed to the Alexander County Office of Emergency Management, 828-632-9336.
[SOURCE: The Taylorsville Times]

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tips for Getting Everyone to School Safely

The school year is in full swing and parents and kids alike have a daily routine to get to and from school. But whether it’s the first day of school or the last, it’s important for parents, students and motorists to exercise caution in their daily commutes. Erie Insurance offers the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

Tips for motorists:

  • Pay extra attention to your speed. Watch for school zones, and slow down when you see a bus.

  • Pay attention to children who are waiting for a bus. Children may run into the street without looking.

  • Slow down when the bus driver activates the flashing yellow lights.

  • Stop when the bus displays flashing red warning lights and extends the stop signal. Vehicles must not pass until the flashing red lights and all other signals are turned off.

  • Never pass on the right side of the bus, where children enter or exit. This is illegal.

Protecting young students (elementary and junior high):

  • Before crossing the street, look left, right, and left again. Young pedestrians can face a variety of tough decision-making situations and dangers while walking to and from school.

  • Walk with a buddy and always try to cross a street when a crossing guard is present.

  • Cross in front of the bus only after the driver signals it’s okay to do so.

  • Have a safe place to wait for the bus, away from the street.

High school students:

  • Always buckle up and require passengers to do the same.

  • Obey the speed limit and posted traffic signs.

  • Avoid distractions such as loud music and cell phones while driving.

  • Don’t drink-and-drive.

[SOURCE: Erie Insurance]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baptist Air Care Displays New Helicopter

The Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center revealed its latest addition to the AirCare fleet on September 3rd for several local emergency services agencies in Alexander County.

The recent addition of the EC-130 helicopter to AirCare’s fleet has allowed them to reach out to the communities in their service area and has greatly reduced response times. The ultimate goal of any emergency service agency is better and more expedient patient care. With a 14 minute flight time to the center of Alexander County from the Boonville/Elkin, NC base, the quicker flight time could greatly affect the patients who may be airlifted. These are just a few things that prompted the brief display of the new chopper to several agencies in Alexander County.

The EC-130 cabin is wide which allows it to comfortably carry the patient and medical crew. It also uses the patented Eurocopter Fenestron™ shrouded tail rotor, which makes it the quietest helicopter in its class. The EC-130 has a large crew safety focus with the latest terrain awareness/mapping and collision avoidance software available. This aircraft, like the current EC-135, is staffed by a seasoned pilot, and an experienced medical crew consisting of a registered nurse and a paramedic.

With the new addition, AirCare’s current fleet consists of 1 EC-135 helicopter, 1 EC-130 helicopter and 2 ambulances. AirCare is part of an EMS network serving patients in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia. AirCare provides fast, safe transportation for critically ill or injured patients. AirCare has provided service to the community since May, 1986 and will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2011.