Water rescue: the plan to reduce travel time and save lives - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Water rescue: the plan to reduce travel time and save lives

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – State and local agencies in New Hanover County have a plan to increase the chances of saving lives in water rescue situations.

The old plan would have boaters and beach goers alike rushed to one of a few places around the county, like the Coast Guard station in Wrightsville Beach. What used to be a few will soon be many. Warren Lee, Director of Emergency Management, said it was time for responding agencies to consider more options.  

"There were probably some things that we could all do to improve a patient's chances of survival," said Lee.

He added that those chances drop when traffic is heavy on the water during the summer months. More than a dozen additional transfer locations are expected to alleviate any concerns with congestion.

"We've had some on Masonboro Island where the response has been delayed because of the sheer volume of traffic," he said.

Injury Prevention Coordinator of Trauma Services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Tina D'Amico Poole said there is nothing with the current response plan, other than a responsibility to improve it if possible.

"We just want to make sure we're always giving our patients the best care, and our community the best care, we can," she said.

The effort is not only about emergency agencies. Lee said the more you know about the new pick-up spots the better chance you have of saving someone's life.

"If you're transporting someone by your own private boat then you can deliver them there," Lee said. "We can have EMS en route and have the time between pickup and delivery be much shorter."

The locations stretch up the Cape Fear River and down the Atlantic coast, but they are not finalized just yet. Lee said the plans should be ready before the summer season, so everyone can expect more information in the following months. 

Agencies involved include the Coast Guard, North Carolina Marine Patrol, NC Wildlife Resource Commission, New Hanover Regional EMS, New Hanover County Emergency Management and both Wilmington and New Hanover County fire departments.

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