New lifesaving tool in Hancock County

American Medical Response unveiled its newest life saving tool in Hancock County on Thursday. It's a rural responder truck designed to get to patients even before an ambulance can arrive.

The rural responder will be put to use in the Northern part of Hancock County. The heavy duty two ton Ford F-350 can maneuvering through the roughest of conditions.

"It's a brand new configured truck. It's a four wheel drive equipped wrench for the more difficult terrain in the rural parts of Hancock County," said Butch Oberhoff, AMR's Governmental Relations Manager.

It's equipped with the latest advanced life support technology on the market today.

"Like a cardiac monitor that can transmit a EKG straight to the hospital," explained Oberhoff.

But perhaps most impressive is the communication gear aboard.

"The truck is really a roving communications system it can communicate with not only our ambulances, but also with local law enforcement with the fire departments with the hospitals even with emergency helicopters that would respond to the area," Oberhoff said.

The rural responder will be stationed at the AMR sub station on Highway 603 in the Standard Community. The truck is designed to do everything an ambulance can do in stabilizing patients, except transport them to a hospital.

"He carries all that equipment on that unit which gets it to us within minutes instead of waiting for an ambulance to get there," said Chief Doyle Ladner with the Leetown Volunteer Fire Department.

During emergencies, every second counts.

"Ambulances do have a hard time finding their way in Diamondhead and in the rural areas, especially since the storm. Street signs are missing and just not being familiar with the area," Hancock County District 3 Supervisor Lisa Cowand said. "Not all of them are from Hancock County, so anytime we can improve response time with an ambulance coming, cause when you dial 911 you can't wait to hear that siren." 

The Rural Responder will be staffed with a paramedic 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The $50,000 vehicle was purchased through emergency Medical Services funds at no cost to the taxpayers of the county.

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