New Quick Response Vehicle unit launches Island patrol next week

  • Aug 25, 2015

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Aug. 25, 2015) – Next week Manatee County Public Safety will begin a lifesaving patrol unit on Anna Maria Island that is the first of its kind on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Beginning Aug. 31, a new Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) will patrol the beaches of Anna Maria Island with a marine rescue paramedic who is trained in lifeguarding proficiencies. Marine Rescue Chief Joe Westerman said, for the first time ever there will be an Island-based patrol unit that offers Advanced Life Support (ALS) -- an array of medical services that lifeguards cannot.

 “The new marine rescue paramedic will be able to quickly get on scene, provide ALS care immediately, determine what kind of medication and transportation a patient need and communicate with local hospitals on what’s needed,” Westerman said. “Our goal in this is to provide Anna Maria Island with an ALS unit that can quickly respond to any emergency on the Island and have direct contact with the hospitals.”


The public is invited to a brief ceremony to dedicate the patrol on Monday, Aug. 31 at 8:30 a.m. at the Marine Rescue Building at 2651 Gulf Drive South in Bradenton Beach. Public Safety officials will give more details on the new unit at that event.


“This is a first of its kind unique service model providing both ALS paramedic rescue and marine beach rescue and safety as a combined component,” said EMS Chief Stephen Krivjanik. “It’s going to provide an enhanced resource for Anna Maria Island and we’re hoping that the pilot service model will demonstrate the needs for a full-time enhancement.”


Manatee County Public Safety Director Robert Smith said the new unit is a pilot project. If it’s successful after four months, it could continue longterm. It comes on the heels of another record-breaking tourism season when more than 500,000 people visited Manatee County.


“In an emergency situation, whether it's a water emergency or medical emergency, seconds can literally mean the difference between life and death,” Smith said. “Anything we can do to give our first responders an edge in those situations is worth exploring.  


“There’s a great benefit to a partnership between our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Marine Rescue Divisions,” Smith said. “We can maximize on existing County resources and take advantage of our in-house expertise to enhance the overall level of public safety service we provide the citizens and visitors of Manatee County.”


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