Yadkin County EMS moves to new building

Lindsay CravenStaff Writer

November 29, 2012

Yadkin County Emergency Medical Services has a new home.

The county’s EMS team has moved into its new location at 108 George St. in Yadkinville.

The location is an unused portion of the hospital that was initially built as a nursing home facility. Since then the area has been used for many things but from now on it will be the operating center for the lifesavers of Yadkin County.

Before the move the Yadkin County EMS was located in the old jail location that sits beside the current jail. EMS Director Keith Vestal said that the building was deteriorating because of its age and he saw the need for a change when he took over as director.

“That building was built somewhere in the 1920s or 1930s, Vestal said. “It has old baseboard heat and it has leaking issues so we were having a lot of moisture problems. The plaster was literally turning loose from the walls and falling off. The metal steps in the building that we used run calls were rusting through. A lot of health and safety issues were present.”

Vestal said that he took his concerns to County Manager Aaron Church and he instructed Vestal to look for possible solutions and come back to him. Vestal did just that and came back with a proposal for the county to take over the unused portion of the hospital.

“The county approached the hospital about the floor space and was able to work out a contract so that we could operate out of this location,” Vestal said. “Since the hospital is leasing the property from the county, the county was able to negotiate the value of this portion of the property and deduct it from the hospital’s lease and the county didn’t need to create any new construction or acquire new property.”

The location required a lot of repairs and work after years of abuse and vacancy. Vestal said that his staff played a major role in the repairs and renovation of the site to suit the needs of the EMS team.

“All of my guys usually have other specialties because of their schedule; it’s pretty easy for them to work secondary jobs,” Vestal said. One of my guys really knew a lot about the waxing and buffing of the floors here, another had a lot of experience with painting and I had another that is really good with general repair.

“The county bought us all of our materials like the paint, the sheet rock and the repair stuff. I would say we saved several thousand dollars in labor with the painting, floor care and the sheet rock repairs,” Vestal continued.

Now that the facility is up and running the EMS will have several new assets at its disposal. The center of the facility houses the group’s training and education center.

Vestal said before the new location EMS had to work around schedules for the conference rooms at Yadkinville Fire Department and the Yadkin County Planning and Permits office. Now they are able to accommodate all of their continuing education at their own facility.

“For EMS we have to have training classes several times every month to keep up with the continuing education and to keep up to date on the latest skills, techniques and drugs that we’re using in our jobs,” Vestal said. “We have really never had a place where we could all get together and train.”

In the case of a local emergency the training area can be transformed into an emergency operation center. It can accommodate federal, state and local emergency management teams. The area has Internet connections so that each teach has instant access to whatever they need.

The location houses offices for several medical and emergency officials. The medical director has an office on site as well as the EMS director, fire marshal and the EMS major.

Former patient rooms were transformed into shift supervisor’s offices. Aside from basic office equipment these three rooms will include sleeping quarters because the shift supervisor’s workday spans 24 hours.

There is also a fully functional kitchen on site with a dining area that can double as a breakout room in cases of emergency.

Vestal said that while the facility has come a long way there are still a few things that need to be completed before it will be finished. A security wall must be built at the entrance of the facility to maintain confidentiality in the case of an emergency, audio/visual equipment must be installed throughout the facility and more electrical work must be contracted out to finish lighting.

Vestal said that he also hopes to receive a grant from the state to get the EMS team its own generator.

“There are only certain outlets that are able to pull power from the hospital generator,” Vestal said. “We’re trying to work with state emergency management to get a generator that’s there for us so that we will be able to power the entire building and we won’t have to go down to half power like the hospital will. We want to be able to run and handle whatever emergency is going on.”

Vestal said that he and his staff are very pleased to be in the new building and he has noticed a sense of pride and accomplishment amongst his staff since the move.

“The building we were in was not laid out to fit our needs and when we would have sales people or hospital representatives come in it was not a building to be proud of,” Vestal said. “We’re really proud of this building and we don’t mind visitors stopping by. Everybody here is really proud of this place, especially since we did a lot of it ourselves.”

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@heartlandpublications.com.