DUNWOODY, Ga. — The DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department has added a new rapid response vehicle to Station 21 in Dunwoody.
This brings to five the total number of rapid response vehicles in the countywide fleet now in service. Rapid response vehicles are staffed by two DeKalb firefighters trained to stabilize patients until an ambulance arrives.
DeKalb firefighters who are licensed Emergency Medical Technicians or paramedics are frequently the first to respond to a medical emergency. They are trained to treat conditions that require immediate life-saving actions, such as major bleeding.
“Our firefighters are often the first on the scene, and the most critical point of emergency response is how quickly first responders can initiate lifesaving care and stabilize patients,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said.
In some cases, rapid response vehicles alleviate an ambulance from having to respond if the patient does not need transport to a hospital.
Rapid response vehicles are smaller and less expensive to operate than larger firetrucks. The units feature fire extinguishing capabilities as well as various emergency response equipment and medical supplies.
The county purchased 10 rapid response vehicles from funding generated by the special purpose local option sales tax passed in 2017. The remaining five vehicles are now being outfitted and are set for deployment later this year.
A total of $2 million in SPLOST funding was allocated for the 10 response units. Each vehicle cost approximately $200,000, which includes the truck, upgrades and equipment.