D. Gary Davis
I truly hope that we ALL have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and Happy New Year’s holiday. In the event that an emergency, of any type, were to occur at ANY time of the year, Bradley County is blessed with the best in emergency medical services. We recently highlighted the amazing skill sets of those who serve at our Cleveland Bradley County 911 center, who answer each 911 call for help and then provide emergency professionals to ensure the best of humanly possible outcomes. We also have the region’s best medical care available.
We are blessed to have multitalented professionals, ready 24 hours of each and every day, at our Bradley County EMS (Emergency Medical Services). Prior to September 1, 1972 (just 43 years ago) ambulance calls were answered by funeral home hearses. Today when you call 911 for an ambulance: you get a whole community based response team able to deliver care, depending on the needs reported and also the needs found upon arriving at the scene.
The first year of service Bradley County EMS responded to 1,800 total calls for service from a Civil Defense metal building just north of Bradley Memorial Hospital. This location was known as "Zulu”. One driver and a Medical Technician and all equipment purchased provided this care at a total operating expense of $234,550.00. Since this time, we have continued to not only win awards for exceptional service but also for continuing the process of exceeding expectations and improving care. We were the 1st service in southeast Tennessee to not only earn, but also maintain, an "A” rating. This was earned by having more than 90% of calls for care, run by Advanced Life Support Paramedics.
As Charleston, Cleveland & Bradley County have grown so has the need for more Emergency Medical Service Professionals and equipment. This past year over 24,000 calls for service were answered. This is with an average response to scene time of less than 10 minutes in all of Bradley County and a City of Cleveland response to scene time of about 6 minutes. This is possible with the skills of a professional staff of 100 emergency professionals at every level who utilize Advanced Care Protocols. This process ensures that every emergency, and every non-emergency, has the best of the best waiting to help each person in need.
To further continue and improve this literally "lifesaving” service, a strategic look at ambulance locations was recently undertaken. Our latest additional response location station was recently added at the Bradley County Fire Hall Station 10, at Tasso Lane and North Lee Highway. This station joins Ambulances stationed to respond from the 5 previous locations around the perimeter of the City of Cleveland with 2 being located within City of Cleveland Fire Stations. This expanded service location should shorten our response time for service in the area of Charleston, and enhance the total capability and emergency scene cooperation among ALL emergency scene responders.
I received literally 3 pages of improvements made and capabilities that have been added, over the years from Mr. Danny Lawson, who serves as our Director of Emergency Medical Services. Many of these were not only unheard of in 1972, but not even possible or economically feasible. These ranged from Helicopter availability by Life Force now stationed at our Cleveland Jetport, multiple mutual aid agreements, ventilator care and transport of such patients on a ventilator, early stroke recognition and even Stryker hydraulic stretchers (and stair chairs for use in maneuvering a patient in tight areas with steps) that can help lift a patient of up to 700 pounds.
Of all of the items sent to me, 3 stand out: Bradley County has been honored as the recipient of the "Star of Life” award from the State of Tennessee for 5 of the last 6 years that it has been given. This is the Highest Award possible in recognition of program excellence. The mission statement that continues to be honored to this day which states that "One life saved through proper care is worth every dollar invested for once lost, it cannot be replaced at any cost”. And Director Lawson’s quote that states "It has been my honor to stand among our best of EMS responders and community servants as Director of Emergency Medical Services and it is for them that I ask God’s blessing, and offer Him praise”. With adherence to the origins, continued improvements, location advancement and the leadership that is available across the spectrum of emergency care and responders, I once again can confidently say that Bradley County continues to be Tennessee at its best!