It's been just a few months since a new paramedic SUV unit has been stationed specifically in south Pottawatomie County for 12 hours each day, and already the program has had a strong reception and is proving successful.

It's been just a few months since a new paramedic SUV unit has been stationed specifically in south Pottawatomie County for 12 hours each day, and already the program has had a strong reception and is proving successful.

REACT Emergency Medical Service Director Greg Reid said REACT is covering the entire county with the south program now in place. Two full-time paramedics rotate shifts in order to staff the roaming south vehicle from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. The vehicle arrives on scene and begins emergency care while stabilizing the patient until a transportation ambulance arrives.

So far, statistics show the south REACT unit usually has 35 to 45 calls per month, which averages to 1.3 calls of service per day in the specified area. Those calls can be anything from traffic accidents to a variety of medical calls and emergencies.

The program began March 1 with help from Pottawatomie County commissioners pledging funds for the program.

Total cost of the fully-furnished 2017 medically-equipped SUV was roughly $125,000 and the cost of operations expenses was estimated to be about $151,700 per year.

The REACT EMS board purchased the SUV unit that was fully furnished with a radio, computer, oxygen, medical kit, medication and cardiac device. Pottawatomie County is covering the operations expenses for the first year of operation.

At the time of approving the funds, District 2 County Commissioner Randy Thomas said, “This is a really good thing for the community. The roaming unit will drastically cut down response time for those in need of medical attention in south Pottawatomie County.”

While there isn't enough of a call volume specifically to run a full REACT ambulance unit in south Pottawatomie County 24 hours a day, the 12-hour daily shift with the paramedic-level SUV has worked well as crews roam the areas including Asher, Wanette, Tribbey, Pink, and others. The unit primarily stays south of Brooksville Road, Reid said.

“Getting something there is the primary objective,” Reid said. And with a roaming medic stationed in the south of the county, they can be on a scene much quicker.

“They can be on scene treating the patient,” Reid said. Oftentimes, a transportation unit may not be needed, but when it is, the patient receives paramedic-level care from the south paramedic who can begin treatment and get the patient ready for transport when the ambulance arrives.

And having a unit in place to begin treatment also frees up time for transport ambulances, Reid said.

“As soon as the transport unit arrives, they're available again,” he said about the south paramedic. “It has really increased availability and the participation of fire departments out there.... It has really worked out nicely.”

While the south paramedic on shift roams the area, there isn't a REACT station to set up permanent shop, but Reid said crews have been welcomed into the rural fire departments, including the Asher Fire Department.

When not in use, REACT houses the paramedics SUV in Tecumseh.

With the program already being so successful in the first few months, Reid is excited to see what the future holds. They are already looking ahead at ideas of relocating a more permanent station — in the form of a mobile home and carport — to that area of the county at some point in the future.

Reid said he is looking forward to collecting the response data at the six-month mark as well.

Watch for updates.