The following story is courtesy of the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Thanks to a $12,287 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Marble Falls Area Emergency Medical Services will purchase transport chairs to safely move patients out of confined spaces or across uneven terrain.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $5,266 in matching funds from Marble Falls Area EMS, will pay for four new transport chairs and allow the organization to provide one chair on each of its five ambulances. Until now, the non-profit shared one transport chair among its four stations, which are staffed by about 30 first responders.
Founded in 1976, Marble Falls Area EMS serves about 47,000 residents in southern Burnet and southeastern Llano counties and responds to emergency calls across a 350-square-mile area.
Cindy Robertson, Human Resources director for Marble Falls Area EMS, said the organization had a significant need for the “stair chairs,” which resemble a cross between an oversized wheelchair and a dolly and are often used to bring patients out of multi-level dwellings.
“We have calls where medics can’t reach the patient with a regular stretcher or a backboard,” she said. “Maybe the incline is tremendously steep or the terrain isn’t level. Now they can use a stair chair and make it a safer and smoother ride for the patient.”
The stair chairs also will ease the strain on first responders, Robertson said, by eliminating “a lot of back stress from having to lift patients and contort around corners. This also reduces the mental stress of figuring out how you’re going to get that patient out safely.”
As the Highland Lakes area continues to experience rapid growth, many new multi-family units are being built in the area served by Marble Falls Area EMS. The organization’s first responders also respond to calls at area lakes and rivers.
In all scenarios, the new stair chairs will provide a much-needed transport option for patients.
“We’re all pretty excited about this grant,” Robertson said. “Without it, we wouldn’t even be able to budget the chairs for this year, not with the rising prices for fuel and overall supplies. Being a non-profit, every dime we have is allocated to a dime’s worth of need.”
The new equipment also will help Marble Falls Area EMS continue delivering quality care to those it serves, Robertson said.
“As we prepare to care for a growing population, we do not want to give up the quality of care that we wish to give each individual in need of our assistance,” she said. “We feel that being diligent in the training that we provide and procuring quality and up-to-date equipment will help us continue to focus on excellence in our scope of care.”
The community grant is one of 46 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.