The Shelby County Fire Department is dedicating its first-ever ambulances in a ceremony at 9 a.m. Feb. 9. The dedication for the 12 state-of-the-art advanced life support ambulances will be at SCFD Headquarters, 1075 Mullins Station Road, Memphis.
It’s been a day long awaited since 1972 when the SCFD first began answering emergency calls.
Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. said, “This is a historical time for the Shelby County Fire Department. I’m confident having dedicated Shelby County employees serving in these important emergency medical positions will enable us to have one of best county-operated ambulance services in the nation.”
Since the fall of 2016, the SCFD has designed and implemented this comprehensive fire-based ambulance service where one did not exist before. Two years ago, the department welcomed a new fire chief, Alvin D. Benson, who rallied the full support of local government leaders into putting the right people into the right places at the right time.
“I have been able to lean on more than 30 years of highly valuable experience from one of the largest fire departments in the United States,” Benson said. “I was able to apply what I know right here at the SCFD. It has been a wealth of hard work, and at the same time among the most satisfying things, to lead this amazing team of skilled professionals into what really is a new and very exciting initiative for us as emergency responders here at the Shelby County Fire Department.”
Deputy Fire Chief Glen F. Kneeland said, “Our fire-based emergency medical system provides exceptional value by emphasizing responder safety, professional and compassionate personnel, and a service truly dedicated to our citizens.”
Since the effort began last fall, more than 50 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics have been hired, with more on the way. This in addition to the creation of a new Emergency Medical Services division within the existing department, a division that had to evaluate the needs of the community, create response plans and finally prove to the Tennessee state inspectors that the SCFD created a service worthy of licensing.
EMS Division Chief Donald Fletcher said, “With deployment of these new vehicles, we have continued to build on the commitment of safeguarding our citizens by ensuring high-quality patient care from the receipt of a 911 call to arrival at the hospital.”