Sheriff's boat Guardian recognized by state as licensed ambulance
San Juan County Sheriff's boat P/V Guardian has been recognized by the State of Washington as a licensed ambulance, following a three year process of fundraising, planning, modification, and training.
"For many years to come, this multipurpose, dual hull twin-engine catamaran will serve and augment the emergency medical transport and water rescue needs of all of San Juan County through its upgraded capability," said EMS Chief Jim Cole. "The P/V Guardian now gives us the ability to transport San Juan County residents from their home island with a certified ambulance when airborne transport is impractical."
The boat is equipped with the necessary life support and rescue equipment that is found on a traditional ambulance, and has the capability to carry two critical patients at once. Capabilities include cardiac monitoring, airway support, emergency communications, and trauma care, splinting and obstetrics equipment. San Juan Island EMS personnel have attained Water Rescue Technician certification and have specific training to safely operate and utilize this water ambulance.
Sheriff Bill Cumming stated, "I am glad to provide this upgraded resource to the residents and visitors of all our islands. The P/V Guardian will be especially effective in providing EMS transport to outer islands and in inclement weather from all islands, while continuing to meet the varied water-based needs of EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement throughout our county."
Funding for modifying and equipping the P/V Guardian to be a certified ambulance was supplemented by several grants and by community donations. The P/V Guardian was originally purchased using funds seized in drug arrests and funds provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The boat is piloted by Coast Guard licensed Captains.
San Juan Island EMS is the tax supported, county EMS agency serving the residents and visitors of San Juan Island, Town of Friday Harbor, Brown Island, Stuart Island, Johns Island, Speiden Island, Pearl Island and Henry Island in San Juan County, Washington. It provides emergency medical services, critical care transport, and injury and accident prevention programs. The staff of career paramedics and volunteer EMTs is available twenty-four hours a day.
EMTs and fast boat save womans's life
"We had a great save yesterday," San Juan County Sheriff Bill Cumming told the Friday Harbor Town Council at their Aug. 3 meeting. A passenger onboard a tour boat had collapsed and was receiving CPR. Seven EMTs were quickly transported via the county's public safety boat Guardian to the tour boat.
They climbed up a ladder to the boat and administered aid to the woman. She had no pulse, blood pressure or respiration at the time they arrived, according to Cumming. She was revived and transported to a mainland hospital. "Had they not got there, she would have expired," Cumming told the council.
Cumming said, in a phone interview later, the boat has been involved in so many rescues and medical transports, he's thinking of putting a mark on it for every life it's saved.
New public safety boat comes in handy
The county's 35-foot catamaran, Guardian, is proving popular with heart patients, firefighters and Harry Potter fans. Sheriff Bill Cumming said the 85 hours have already been put on the motors in the first two and a half months.
In the past few days the boat was used to transport two patients to the mainland after weather conditions grounded flights. A heart patient was taken on Friday and an elderly woman with a broken hip was transported Saturday. Cumming said it takes 40 minutes to travel from Friday Harbor to Anacortes aboard the boat powered by twin inboard turbo powered diesel engines.
The Guardian transported Orcas Island firefighters to Patos Island Friday for a scheduled burn of an old Coast Guard building. On Saturday, the boat had an unusual mission - returning seven stranded Harry Potter fans to Lopez Island. After the ferry the Sealth developed engine trouble, the young movie-goers were unable to return home as scheduled. Their worried parents were relieved when the boat was used to return the children home.
The majority of the $225,000 cost of the boat was paid for with grants and money from drug siezures. Only $30,000 of tax money was used for the purchase.
Sheriff's boat arrives
The Guardian, the new public safety boat for the county arrived Wednesday, August 31, 2005. The boat, built to commercial standards, has twin inboard turbo powered diesel engines. There is a head system and full galley.
New public safety boat to arrive in August, 2005
July hasn't been a good month for sheriff's boats. The District 1 boat blew a rod responding to the July 2 plane crash. The District 2 boat is "good anchor material" according to Sheriff Bill Cumming. August promises to be a better month. A new $225,000 35-foot long aluminum catamaran is due to be delivered August 20, 2005.
The boat is built to commercial standards. It has twin inboard turbo powered diesel engines. There is a head system and full galley. A small four-wheel drive vehicle can be carried onboard and driven off onto the beach.
The fuel costs should drop in half compared to the present boat. The new boat has a 12 foot 8 beam on it. Cumming has talked to other public agencies in the state. "We think this will set a new standard in Washington," Cumming said.
The boat will have some firefighting capability and will also be able to dewater boats. Cumming said all of the fire chiefs in the county were consulted regarding the design of the boat.
Sheriff Bill Cumming praised the Friday Harbor Fire Dept for their help during the plane crash. The fireboat Confidence played a key part in the recovery operations. When the sheriff dive team's boat had engine problems, the divers were taken aboard the Confidence. The divers conducted their recovery operation from the boat. At the July 7, 2005 Town Council meeting, Cumming thanked the Town and the fire department for the help.
With the new boat, the sheriff personnel will be able to respond quickly to emergencies. The landing craft will make it easier to transport injured people. During a recent rescue on Jones Island, transporting the victim to the boat was difficult. The new boat would have made the situation more comfortable for the victim, Cumming said.
The funds for the new county boat come from a variety of funds. Most of the money, $150,000, is from drug seizures. Some is from homeland security funds. Tax revenue covers $30,000 of the cost.