Northwest MedStar supports rural EMS agencies with GPS donations

Spokane 16 August 2004Through a $16.100 grant from the Washington State Trauma Care Fund, a division of the Department of Health, Northwest MedStar is donating 150 Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) units to 49 public safety agencies in 14 counties in eastern Washington. In an emergency, GPS units supplied to emergency medical services (EMS) teams enable MedStar crews to quickly locate and evacuate accident victims. With the GPS unit, the flight crews are able to land within feet of the accident scene.


"A GPS device would greatly assist in providing MedStar with accurate landing zone co-ordinates and would speed up the transport of the patient to the hospital", stated John Rumelhart, administrative assistant at Pend Oreille County Fire Department #2.

MedStar was given this grant to deliver GPS units to rural EMS agencies throughout Washington. Since MedStar covers such a large service area, they focused on small rural agencies that may not have the money to purchase GPS units. Generally, this grant is given to emergency medical services that are in more need of this equipment. Since MedStar covers a large service area including North Central, South Central and Eastern Washington, agencies were eligible to receive the devices.

"Since moving to Pasco, MedStar can actually nearly beat our ambulances into many remote areas. We are very excited about placing one unit in each of our stations for remote responses", stated Donald Perry, Fire Chief of Walla Walla County Fire District 5. "Between 1999 and 2003 we have received small grants from several sources and have used the money to supply GPS units to agencies throughout the northwest", stated Michael W. Day, Northwest MedStar Outreach Educator/Clinical Nurse Specialist.

"In March of this year, MedStar supplied 150 GPS units to rural agencies. With this grant, we will now have distributed approximately 450 units. This is a continuation of our ongoing work with rural emergency providers to reach victims in remote and poorly defined locations", stated Mr. Day.

Northwest MedStar is a division of Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS). INHS is a non-profit corporation formed by Deaconess Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital, Sacred Heart Medical Center and Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Spokane to find and implement collaborative health care opportunities. INHS companies also include St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, Community Health Education and Resources (CHER), Children's Miracle Network, Northwest TeleHealth and Information Resource Management.

Leslie Versweyveld

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