Charlotte Fire & EMS gets grant money

New portable computers for rescue vehicles will help improve patient care

The addition of 26 portable computers in rescue vehicles in Charlotte County will help improve patient care and make it more efficient.

The computers are being funded in part from $4 million in Florida Department of Health Emergency Medical Services grants announced this week.

Charlotte County Fire & EMS received $199,934 for the 26 computers and Venice Ambulance Service Inc. received part of that money for an automated external defibrillator.

The grants are intended to help local communities improve its EMS by funding new equipment and supplies.

Fire & EMS spokeswoman Dee Hawkins said the agency applied for the grant in February, but had not received official notification of receiving the money.

The computers will be put into the rescue vehicles and will have mapping capabilities and be able to create detailed patient reports, Hawkins said.

The reports are currently handwritten, she said. The new system will allow paramedics to print out detailed reports of the care and any medical information on the patients for the hospitals and for their own files. The ultimate goal is to speed up the process of filing reports and lower the risk for mistakes.

The grants were made possible through the EMS General Matching Grant Program. Funds are generated from a surcharge on fines for major traffic violations.

"The awarding of these grants could not have come at a better time," said Department of Health Director Dr. John Agwunobi. "With hurricane season upon us, these grants will help to increase the preparedness of the counties' emergency medical services."

The state funds 75 percent of the project costs, while the local match is 25 percent.

Among the other items receiving money from the grants are an ambulance for Bradford County, radios for Citrus County and various other equipment to 29 counties scattered throughout the state. The grants are funded on an annual basis.

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Staff Writer