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County's battalion trucks: ALS non transport and more

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Curious about the county's battalion (ALS non transport) trucks?

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We, here at the Citizen, were.

Levy County Department of Public Safety Director David Knowles and Battalion Commander Clay Drew (who drives one of two ALS vehicles) came by the paper Monday at the request of Citizen staff.

The trucks carry everything "that an ambulance carries with the exception of a wheeled stretcher," Knowles said. The battalion truck's crew is able to perform advanced life support with the equipment and medications on board, as well as restock ambulances that may have used up a supply of certain medications. Damaged equipment can be replaced, as well. That helps ensure ambulances are always ready to go, Knowles said.

Providing ALS is primary in an emergency when an ambulance hasn't reached the scene, Knowles explained, but the trucks — Chevrolet Silverados that carry about $50,000 worth of gear and medications — are also equipped with supplies that keep emergency services as prepared as possible.

The battalion trucks, driven by a supervisor who helps manage daily functions of LCDPS, also work as a sort of mobile command center, helping to coordinate and organize the scene of an emergency.

Knowles said the trucks, which cover the whole county, are not specifically licensed as ALS vehicles because they are not assigned to deploy to a set area.

"Our supervisor vehicles are not dispatched as a first response vehicle," he said.

An ALS truck, such as the one the City of Chiefland is seeking, would have to be licensed by the state if the intention is to have it cover a specific area as a first responder.

Knowles said the county has one full-time supervisor and one captain who works as a back-up to the supervisor, though the plan in the next few months is to have two full-time supervisors that will work two halves of the county.

"The county will be split in half, "Knowles said, explaining that one battalion supervisor would work near Chiefland, while the other worked near Williston. State Road 24 would be the dividing line, he said. The plan would make it easier to manage employees, he said, and increase ALS non transport services.