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Orangeburg County EMS (copy)

Orangeburg County officials say they’re planning to address concerns about emergency medical response times in the Eutawville area by building a new Emergency Medical Services station in the town.

The Orangeburg County Fire Commission plans to add an EMS building onto the existing Eutawville fire station at 503 Dawson Street at a cost of $30,829.

The project will be bid out and built in the 2020 fiscal year by the Fire Commission.

"Much of this is still in the planning stage," Orangeburg County Fire Services Director Teddy Wolfe said. "The push was to save money by adding this building to the two that we are purchasing for Pine Hill and the training facility storage shed.”

The EMS building will be a total of 2,560 square feet with the living quarters being 1,280 square feet, including an office, day room, a rest and relaxation room, two bedrooms and storage. The bay area will also be 1,280 square feet.

The district has also added EMS facilities to stations in Neeses, Rowesville and Bowman.

Wolfe said the Fire Commission will purchase the building shell, and the county will reimburse the commission.

There is currently an EMS substation in a town-owned building on Porcher Avenue, but the existing station has had some issues including flooding.

Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said bringing EMS and fire together helps to bring a continuity of services. He noted in the past EMS and fire were housed in separate locations in separate buildings.

"It helps to improve costs," Young said, explaining it is more convenient and efficient, especially when it comes to maintaining and updating equipment.

The new EMS substation will also help with recruitment of EMS personnel.

"It will give them a more modern and efficient facility to work out of and to help with recruiting paramedics and individuals," Young said. "When we do upgrades, that is a plus, especially with the living quarters."

The station will house a paramedic, EMT and driver.

The new EMS substation comes on the heels of 1,200 resident signatures being presented to Orangeburg County Council during its January meeting in reference to EMS services in the area, specifically with regards to staffing.

EMS officials have noted the challenge of meeting the desired eight-minute response time -- the county's EMS average is about 12 minutes -- is the difficulty of recruiting enough individuals to staff the services as well as the number of non-emergency calls the department needs to respond to.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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