The Desoto Rescue Squad is made up of all volunteer members that live in Mentone and Valley Head. We have Paramedics, Advanced EMTs, EMTs, EMRs and First Responders. Advanced EMTs and Paramedics are able to provide Advanced Life Support Care such as IVs and some medications prior to the arrival of the ambulance. Our EMTs and EMRs provide Basic Life Support care including the administration of oxygen prior to the ambulance. All personnel can appropriately assess the patient and start some form of care including CPR and the use of an AED.
Licensure and Affiliations
Desoto Rescue Squad is a licensed non-transport Advanced Life Support provider at the Intermediate level by the Alabama Department of Public Health Office of EMS & Trauma. We have an off-line Medical Director who oversees our service. We are a member in good standing of the Dekalb County Association of Rescue Squads, and the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads. Our Captain serves as the County Rescue Squad Communications Officer, the State Association webmaster and Communications Committee Chairman. Our 1st Lieutenant serves as the County Public Information Officer and the State Magazine Editor.
Our primary coverage area includes the Towns of Mentone and Valley Head and the surrounding areas. We provide secondary coverage to the Town of Hammondville on a Mutual Aide basis when called. We also provide assistance anywhere in Dekalb County when requested by EMA or any other agency.
Our official purpose statement in our By-Laws is: The purpose for which the Squad is organized is civic and is to assist city, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, Emergency Management Agencies, Emergency Medical Services agencies, Fire Service agencies, civic organizations, businesses, and the general public, either as a group or individually in the primary areas of rescue, first response, search, and recovery.
Desoto Rescue Squad uses the Mentone Community Church Life Center or the MERF house for most of our monthly meetings, which are held on the First Saturday of the month at 9 am. We also utilize the facilities of the Mentone Community Church for special training sessions and special events. We have a storage building behind the MERF house which is in need of repairs to the windows from storm damage. With significant renovation or replacement, it could be made into a functional rescue squad building able to house at least our rescue boat, hold meetings, and have administrative offices. Although, its location is not ideal for response with emergency vehicles due to the walking trail. It would need power restored as well as internet service. We also currently have a small office building on our Captain’s property which has our administrative offices. Electricity and internet to that building are provided at no charge by our Captain.
The Squad has three rescue vehicles:
2008 Ford F-250, 2003 Ford Expedition, and a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe. The Expedition and Tahoe are both 4-wheel drive vehicles. However, the Expedition 4-wheel drive needs some maintenance done to it to be fully operational.
We also have a 19-foot travel trailer that is in the process of being converted into a command post to be utilized throughout the county for special operations and our new drone program. We have a DJI Phantom 3 Drone to be used by our new search and rescue drone team to assist with locating missing persons and other drone appropriate missions. Both the drone and travel trailer were donated to the squad by a squad member.
We store and maintain one of Dekalb County EMA’s Basic Disaster Rescue Trailers, which is available anywhere in the county. We responded with it to the brow forest fire and the most recent tornado in Ider.
What we do
Our primary day to day operations is centered around responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for service. We respond to lift-assist calls, medical emergencies, traffic accidents, and other trauma and rescue situations. It is our mission to arrive quickly on-scene and begin providing care to the patients prior to the arrival of the ambulance. Once the ambulance arrives, we turn over patient care to the ambulance crew and assist them as needed, including riding in to the hospital with them if the situation warrants. We provide extra manpower and assistance as needed. We are available to provide standby medical service for the community events such as the ColorFest. We also are available to the fire department if they request us to provide medical support on any incident they need. We provided medical standby at the brow forest fire last year and at the Mentone Market fire.
We receive $1666.67 as a tax appropriation from the Dekalb County Commission each year. We also occasionally receive a grant from the Dekalb County Community Development Fund when we have had an emergency need. ALL other funding comes from donations and fundraisers the Squad has. We send out an annual fundraiser letter around November – December, do a family photo fundraiser around June-July in which the photographer gets 50% of all money he collects, and we are looking at doing two pancake breakfast fundraisers per year. One will be the first Saturday in October and the second will be the first Saturday in May. We also are working on offering a Community CPR course on at least a semi-annual basis with minimal cost for the class to the public. We do not charge for our response services, although we have looked at cost-recovery for motor vehicle accidents where we would bill the insurance company but never send a bill to the actual victim. We have not implemented that process at this time because we are concerned about the feelings of the community regarding such a process.
Our expenses vary from year to year based on what we have available in the checking account to spend and what we are able to receive in donations. Our general liability insurance and vehicle insurance cost is $2300 per year, our fuel cost is $2500 – $3000 per year, annual dues to the County Association $25, annual dues to State Association $400, medication costs $500 – $1000 a year depending on which medications are used or expire, backup communications $1200 per year, travel expenses to attend required state meetings $1000 per year, disposable and non-disposable medical supplies varies based on use, and what we can obtain from DAS, vehicle maintenance varies depending on what needs to be repaired and if we can repair it ourselves. We also need to have our cardiac monitors recertified every year which would cost about $1500.
We provide in-house training to the EMR level for our members at no charge to them. We also hold continuing education classes 2 out of 3 months of the quarter, with the 3rd month being for a business meeting. We encourage our members to obtain outside training but are unable to assist them with tuition at this time. We do notify our members of available free training as we become aware of it.
Our long-term goals are to be able to have our own building, send our members to EMT school if they wish to attend, add additional drone resources, add portable equipment coverage to our insurance policy ($1000 per year), and provide additional training opportunities to our membership.