SAWDIS Share Buttons

SAWDIS Share Buttons:

22 November 2011

Ambulance to be used in Cherokee County during severe weather

By Lisa Rogers
Times Staff Writer

The tornadoes on April 27 are a reminder of the need for more eyes on the sky during severe weather.

Now a group of amateur radio operators will be able to have more technology in the field with an ambulance that has been donated for their use.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Services, part of SKYWARN, serves all of Northeast Alabama as trained storm spotters and many of its members usually are in their vehicles driving toward the storms while everyone else is trying to get away.

Joey Davis of the group said amateur radio operators have been around for many years, monitoring and reporting weather conditions.

An old ambulance from Gadsden-Etowah Emergency Medical Services Inc. was donated to the organization’s group in Cherokee County.

They plan to equip it with radar and computer equipment that will help them better identify areas affected by the storm.

“The main purpose of this old ambulance being donated is to use as a mobile command unit for the Amateur Radio Emergency Services,” Davis said.

Davis said other members of his group from Cherokee County include Gene Bradley and Matt Teal, and the group will be in all parts of Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia, following storms.

He said the group will be in areas affected by storms and also will have first-aid kits, bottled water and hand sanitizer for those affected, as well as the ability to charge cellphones.

“I feel like we can do more than just report weather conditions,” Davis said.

“Now we can be utilized along with EMS and law enforcement as part of the support team. Now we can give back.”

The ARES is a nonprofit organization, and all members donate their time and use their own equipment, Davis said.

“It all comes out of our pockets,” he said.

Vann Alldredge of Gadsden-Etowah EMS said the donation of the ambulance was a good opportunity for the ambulance company to make good use of something they were taking out of service.

“We were decommissioning the ambulance and couldn’t think of anything that could be any better to do with it,” he said.

“Instead of it going to the scrap yard, we might as well put it to good use.”

The ARES will begin modifying the ambulance soon and plans to have it operational by the spring severe weather season, Davis said.

- The Gadsden Times