Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives present a $12,287 grant to Marble Falls Area EMS for new transport chairs. Pictured are (from left) EMS Finance Director Rena MacDonald, paramedic Steven Lewchuk, advanced EMT Joanne Dulaney, EMS Executive Director Johnny Campbell, EMS Operations Director Starla McLaurin, LCRA Regional Affairs representative Susan Patten, PEC Public Affairs representative Jared Fields, EMS Human Resources Director Cindy Robertson, Capt. Stephanee Crawford, and Lt. Vaughn Hamilton. Courtesy photo
The Marble Falls Area EMS received a $12,287 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative to purchase transport chairs to safely move patients out of confined spaces or across uneven terrain, the LCRA announced on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $5,266 in matching funds from the EMS, will pay for four new transport chairs, which will allow for one chair on each of its five ambulances, according to an LCRA media release. The nonprofit had been sharing one transport chair among its four stations, which are staffed by about 30 first responders.
Founded in 1976, Marble Falls Area EMS serves about 47,000 residents in southern Burnet County and southeastern Llano County and responds to emergency calls across a 350-square-mile area.
Cindy Robertson, the EMS’ Human Resources director, said the organization had a significant need for the “stair chairs,” which resemble a cross between an oversized wheelchair and a dolly and are often used to bring patients out of multi-level dwellings.
“We have calls where medics can’t reach the patient with a regular stretcher or a backboard,” she stated in the media release. “Maybe the incline is tremendously steep or the terrain isn’t level. Now, they can use a stair chair and make it a safer and smoother ride for the patient.”
The stair chairs also will ease the strain on first responders, Robertson said, by eliminating “a lot of back stress from having to lift patients and contort around corners. This also reduces the mental stress of figuring out how you’re going to get that patient out safely.”
The stair chairs would not have been possible without the grant.
“We’re all pretty excited about this grant,” Robertson said. “Without it, we wouldn’t even be able to budget the chairs for this year, not with the rising prices for fuel and overall supplies. Being a nonprofit, every dime we have is allocated to a dime’s worth of need.”
The community grant is one of 46 grants recently awarded through the LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders, and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in the LCRA’s wholesale electric, water, and transmission service areas. The program is part of the LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. The Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of the LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at on the LCRA’s website.