Harnett County EMS has been in existence since 1978 providing emergency care to the citizens of Harnett County. Harnett County EMS has also been available to backup any and all of the rescue squads throughout the county and provide non-emergency transport care for the hospitals, nursing homes, and the invalid citizens of Harnett County. When Harnett County EMS began, all of the employees were certified at the EMS-Basic (EMT-B) Level. They were able to provide only basic life support to the patients who were transported.
In 1980, Harnett EMS began providing Advanced Life Support at the EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I) Level. In addition to the skills of a EMT-B, the EMT-I could insert intravenous (IV) catheters with the subsequent administration of IV fluids, perform DextroStix to obtain blood sugar level,. administer Dextrose 50% IV for Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar), treat Anaphylactic Shock with subcutaneous Epinephrine, insertion of an Esophageal Obturator Airway, application of Medical Anti-Shock Trousers, and obtain venous blood samples from the patients who are treated and transported.
In 1988, a need was seen for a higher level of care. At that time, Harnett EMS began providing advanced life support at the EMT-Advanced Intermediate (EMT-AI) Level. In addition to the skills of the EMT-B & EMT-I, the employees were instructed in Endotracheal Intubation, administration of Several Cardiac Medications to include Epinephrine, Lidocaine, Atropine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Nitroglycerine and other Medications. Other additional skills included applying a Cardiac Monitor/Defibrillator, Manual Defibrillation of a Cardiac Arrest Patient, performing External Cardiac Pacing. To obtain this Level of Training, Harnett EMS Employees had to attend an additional 72 hours of Classroom and 72 hours of Clinical Training if different areas of Good Hope Hospital.
In the spring of 1992, a decision was made to progress to the Paramedic level. On October 12, 1992, the employees began their training. This training consisted of 200 hours of Classroom instruction, 80 hours of hospital clinical, and 108 hours of field internship with other EMT-P organizations. Upon completion, Harnett EMS employees certified at the EMT-P would also be able to Administer additional Drugs such as Valium, Lasix, Morphine, Thiamine, Dopamine, and Benadryl, perform Nasotracheal Intubation, Chest Needle Decompression, administer Aerosol Nebulizer Treatments, and perform Cardioversion for unstable fast ventricular and supraventricular rhythms. Since the implementation of the Paramedic program, there has been various changes in the Medications and Procedures allowed by Harnett Paramedics. They had three Paramedic Transporting Units (24/7 - two at EMS Base in Buies Creek and One in Northern Harnett) and One Daytime Intermediate Transport Unit (8am-5pm at Buies Creek)
On September 1, 1999, First Health of the Carolina started running all non-emergent local transports and all out of county transports. They provide the citizens of Harnett County with the same quality of service that Harnett County EMS provided since it's conception (without regard to the patient's financial status.)
On October 7, 1999, Harnett County EMS underwent another major change. For the first time in Harnett County's history, there was Paramedic Coverage in every area of the county. The following describes all the changes:
Before October 7, Harnett EMS had 3 - 24 hrs Transporting Ambulance and One Day Time Ambulance. After October 7, The commissioner decided to restructure Harnett EMS as follows: Four Quick Response Vehicle (QRV - Paramedic Level) and Two Paramedic transporting units were established throughout the County. This is in addition to all the Rescue Squad (at various levels) that already exist in Harnett County.
The Paramedic QRV & Transporting ALS Zones are as follows:
Benhaven & Spouts Springs - One QRV furnished by Harnett County EMS at the Paramedic Level. Transporting Units furnished by Benhaven EMS at the EMT-Intermediate Level.
Anderson Creek - One QRV furnished by Harnett County EMS at the Paramedic Level. Transporting Units Furnished by Anderson Creek EMS at the EMT-Intermediate Level
Boonetrail - One QRV furnished by Harnett County EMS at the Paramedic Level. Transporting Units furnished by Boone Trail EMS at the EMT-Defibrillator Level
Buies Creek & Coats Grove - One QRV furnished by Harnett County EMS at the Paramedic Level. Transporting Units furnished by Buies Creek and Coats Grove at the EMT-Defibrillator Level.
Lillington/ Summerville/Bunnlevel - One Paramedic Transport Unit furnished by Harnett County EMS
North Harnett - One Paramedic transporting unit furnished by Harnett County EMS
Spout Springs/ Benehaven - One QRV furnished by harnett County EMS at the Paramedic Level. Transporting Unit furnished by Benehaven Rescue at the EMT-Intermediate Level.
Angier/Black River - One Paramedic transporting unit furnished by Harnett County EMS.
Erwin/Duke - OneQRV furnished by Dunn Rescue at the Paramedic Level. Transporting unit furnished by Erwin Rescue at the EMT-Defibrillator Level.
Dunn/Averasboro - QRV & Paramedic Transporting Unit furnished by Dunn Rescue.
This system enables us to provide a first duty responsetime of 10-12 minutes countywide. This is a recommended goal proposed by Dr. Glaser, ALS Medical Director for Harnett County. This program has not affected the operations of the individual Rescue Squads in Harnett County. Every squad operates independently as they have in the past to include the budgeting process, their elections of Officers and Board of Directors. Every squad will continue to provide 24 hour a day coverage. This program encourage not discourage squads to upgrading their service.