Polk County (FL) Fire Rescue Adds Additional Paramedic ALS Engine Companies and Additional Ambulances

BARTOW, FL—In the never-ending quest to provide world class emergency medical services (EMS) to the residents, visitors, and businesses of Polk County, fire suppression engine company fire apparatus at the Saddle Creek and Jan Phyl Village stations have been converted to advanced life support (ALS) paramedic engine companies. 

“Every second counts,” said Raf Vittone, deputy chief of medical services. “It’s important for patients to start receiving advanced medical care as soon as possible.”

Effective Jan. 30, when an engine crew is sent to a call in its assigned geographical area, there will be a paramedic assigned on the fire apparatus. By placing a paramedic and the necessary advanced life support equipment on a fire engine, residents, visitors and businesses can expect the quick arrival of a paramedic and the lifesaving equipment to their medical emergency. 

There are many times when fire rescue ambulance crews are detained on a call, or have to respond from a distance. It is imperative that a paramedic begins lifesaving treatment modalities in a timely manner to support a good patient outcome prior to the ambulance arrival. 

“An objective is to make fire suppression units advanced life support capable to assist in our EMS mission due to the sheer size of our great county,” said Chief Tony Stravino. 

Currently, nearly half of the engines in Polk County Fire Rescue’s fleet are now ALS. 

The engine at Saddle Creek is Polk County’s busiest engine. It responded to more than 4,000 calls in 2016. The engine at Jan Phyl Village is also a busy one. In 2016, it responded to more than 3,000 calls.

Additional Ambulances Added
In early January, Polk County Fire Rescue added two additional ambulances to serve the county as part of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners commitment to continue to provide outstanding service. 

One new ambulance is assigned to the South Lakeland area and the other one is assigned to the Auburndale area. In 2016, ambulances in the two regions responded to more than 6,500 calls. Therefore, additional resources were added to assure proper coverage and reduce response times. 

“We will continue to look for ways to improve and enhance our services to our residents, businesses and visitors,” Chief Stravino added. “We expect to be adding additional ambulances and advanced life support suppression units throughout the county. Polk County is geographically a very large county and we have significant population and area to cover.”

Polk County Fire Rescue covers more than 2,000 square miles and responds the more than 88,000 calls per year.

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