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County EMS units help neighbors
Having to travel beyond their jurisdictional lines is anything but unusual for Glynn County's EMS units.

Just this past Wednesday, emergency medical staff traveled 15 miles outside of Glynn County to the Crescent community in McIntosh County to pick up a 51-year-old with medical issues. The man was transported to Southeast Georgia Health System's hospital in Brunswick.

The county was responding to a call for mutual aid from the McIntosh County Emergency Medical Service just as it would for any of the other surrounding counties, Glynn County Fire Chief Al Thomas said.

Aside from a regional mutual aid agreement for disasters, which the county shares with 22 other counties in Southeast Georgia, Glynn County has EMS and fire agreements with Camden, McIntosh, Brantley and Wayne counties, he said.

Glynn County's larger, advanced EMS setup also is occasionally called upon for patient transports in neighboring counties, Thomas said.

"McIntosh, for example, has two ambulances for the entire county. Sometimes the system gets overloaded, and we go in to help. Probably we provide (patient transports) more often than we get because we are a larger service and serve a bigger population," he said.

Glynn does more patient transports, but the surrounding counties help the community frequently on the fire side of operations, he said.

Counties like Brantley and Wayne have fire-fighting equipment that is better suited for wildfires, which are typically in rural, hard-to-reach places, Thomas said.

"That helps us out because we don't have to purchase and maintain that equipment when we would seldom use it," he said.

Taking ambulances extra distances to make good on mutual aid agreements doesn't cost the county much money, either, Thomas said, because patients are charged for the service.

"We would be able to get that revenue from the patient there," he said. "They pay by the loaded mile (traveled). The rates stay the same, but they would pay for the extra miles."

The basic ambulance service rate starts at $350 and can be as high as $500. In addition, patients are charged $8.75 per loaded mile of travel, Thomas said.



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