Patient Care, Trauma

Colleton County Fire-Rescue (S.C.) to Carry Whole Blood on Ambulances

Officials hope whole blood will be on Colleton County Fire-Rescue ambulance by March. (Photo/Colleton County Fire-Rescue)

COLLETON COUNTY, S.C.— Colleton County Fire-Rescue will begin carrying whole blood on its ambulances as part of a pilot program.

Colleton County Fire-Rescue will be the first county, nonhospital-based ground ambulance service in South Carolina to implement this life-saving measure, the agency said.

Related: Prehospital Whole Blood Transfusion by Texas Helicopter Air Ambulance Crew

Colleton County Fire-Rescue is the sole 9-1-1 emergency ambulance service in Colleton County, including the six municipalities. Colleton County Fire-Rescue operates nine advanced life support ambulances staffed with firefighter/paramedics and firefighter/EMTs.

“Fire-Rescue responds to many patients that are victims of traumatic injuries, such as motor vehicle collisions, falls from significant heights, penetrating injuries, and blunt force trauma,” Battalion Chief Joey Campbell said in a statement.

“Our goal is to rapidly deliver these patients to a trauma center while minimizing blood loss through the use of bleeding control techniques and fluid resuscitation,” added. “Unfortunately, our fluids currently consist of volume expanders such as normal saline and lactated ringers, which lack clotting factors and do not carry oxygen. Today, we are left with no alternatives to these fluids, but tomorrow will be different.”

The agency says it already has the proper equipment to store blood on its ambulances and hopes to have the logistical plans and training completed by mid-February for deployment in March.