volusia county emergency workers need rest
PHOTO COURTESY VOLUSIA FIRE RESCUE NOT HERE — The space in the cab and back compartment of an ambulance is devoted to the needs of those undergoing medical emergencies — not to the comfort of emergency medical workers. Yet, an ambulance is the only workplace these workers have during their shifts. That’s about to change, as Volusia County will use money from the American Rescue Plan Act to purchase two modular buildings that will be set up as places for Volusia County emergency medical technicians to shower and find respite after especially intense emergencies, or during very busy days. This ambulance belongs to Volusia Fire Services, but the respite stations will be for Volusia County Emergency Medical Services workers.

To fulfill its promise to provide places for emergency medics to freshen up after especially grueling or trying incidents, Volusia County has agreed to purchase two prefabricated buildings.

The County Council is piggybacking on a contract with the Suwannee County School District to buy buildings similar to the portable classrooms seen at many schools.

The Suwannee County School Board is contracting with Mobile Modular Management Corp., a California company with offices in Auburndale. The cost of the two buildings is $183,165.40.

“We hope to have them by the end of the year,” Volusia County spokesman Kevin Captain said.

Captain said the contractor is beset by supply shortages that may delay delivery of the units.

Mobile Modular assembles the buildings for customers after they are purchased, rather than having an inventory of finished units in stock.

One of the buildings will be for the west side of the county, and the other will be placed on the east side. The EMS respite center on the west side will be next to Volusia County Fire Station 46, located at 920 Glenwood Road, northwest of DeLand. The location of the facility for the eastern half of the county has not been selected.

COMING SOON TO GLENWOOD — Portable buildings being purchased by Volusia County to create respite spaces for emergency workers will look similar to these modular classroom structures on the campus of DeLand Middle School.
BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

The buildings will be for the exclusive use of the county’s Emergency Medical Services personnel, whether for respite after an intense incident or simply during a busy day of nonstop emergencies.

When the County Council debated the establishment of such respite centers for paramedics and emergency medical technicians, some members suggested the EMS use local fire stations for showering, changing clothes, eating and relaxing before returning to duty.

County staffers, however, cautioned against allowing EMS personnel to encroach upon the firefighters’ domain. Even though each county firefighter is also certified as an EMT or a paramedic, who performs many of the same tasks in a medical emergency, the mixing of firefighters and the EMS workers could result in friction between the two groups, staffers warned.

“They don’t want them in their refrigerator,” County Manager George Recktenwald said, referring to the firefighters on duty and their possible reaction to non-firefighters using space in what is essentially the firefighters’ second home.

The modular buildings Volusia County is buying are wooden structures of 864 square feet each. The buildings are rated to withstand winds up to 175 miles per hour.

The county is paying for the buildings with funds it received under the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed by the Congress and signed by President Biden last year.

Volusia County government received $107 million from the ARPA.

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