Sussex County christens new paramedic station covering busy coastal area

REHOBOTH BEACH – Sussex County’s paramedics in the busy beach area are providing the same great product, but in a new and improved package.

Emergency Medical Services officials were joined by Sussex County leaders and other dignitaries during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday at the new Medic 104/EMS Supervisor 100 Station, just off Plantation Road southwest of Lewes.

From left: Sen. Ernie Lopez, Sen. Gary Simpson, Sussex County EMS Director Robert Stuart, Sussex County Councilman I.G. Burton III, Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent, Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson, Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett, Carlton Savage of Pennoni Engineering, Sussex County Finance Director/Chief Operating Officer Gina Jennings, Chris Eccleston of Delmarva Veteran Builders and Sussex County EMS Logistics Division Manager Bobby Schoonover.

Located approximately ¾-mile from its previous location along SR 1, the new 5,000-square-foot facility provides nearly twice the space than its predecessor, with improved access to serve residences and businesses in eastern Sussex. The station also will serve as quarters for a supervisor and training facility for new medics.

Paramedic crews from the new Medic 104 station will continue to serve areas largely along the Coastal Highway corridor in the beach area, the busiest district in the county, from north of the Indian River Inlet to SR 16 and west to SR 5, including Angola, Dewey Beach, Harbeson, Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach. The new location, away from the congestion of Coastal Highway, is still central within the district, but will allow medics quicker access to new developments in the area, particularly north and west of the highway.

“We feel that this station is built in the right place and will help us improve our overall response times to calls as well as provide overall better service to residents and visitors of the 104 District,” said Sussex County Emergency Medical Services Director Robert Stuart. “This station will serve as the model for our next dual-purpose facility project on the west side of the county.”

Sussex County EMS provides around-the-clock advance life support throughout the county, augmenting basic emergency medical care provided by local volunteer ambulance and fire companies.

In 2016, crews from Medic 104 responded to more than 2,600 calls for service, with a typical response time of just over eight minutes.

The new $1.4 million paramedic station – a single-story building designed to blend with the surrounding residential areas – is the fourth free-standing, county-owned facility built exclusively to house EMS crews and units in recent years. Since 2009, Sussex County has constructed new medic stations near Laurel, Long Neck, and Bethany Beach, shifting from a decades-long model of renting space or co-locating with volunteer fire companies for quarters.

Sussex County plans to transition all its medic stations serving nine geographic territories in the coming years so that each unit is housed independently, giving staff more space for life-saving equipment and better access to communities served, all with the goal of saving taxpayers’ dollars and improving response times.

Sussex leaders said the new station, which became operational in May, represents the county’s continued commitment to public safety. Funding for the station’s design and construction was made possible through the county’s share of realty transfer taxes collected on property sales.

“The paramedic program is our single-largest expenditure each year, and it’s arguably among the most important services we provide to the public each and every day,” said Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent, R-Seaford. “We’re proud to be able to make this investment that allows Sussex County EMS to continue providing the fastest, highest quality of care to patients – our residents and visitors – when seconds literally count.”

Among some of the new station’s features, the building includes two garage bays that will accommodate four emergency vehicles, office/conference space, a kitchen, day room, sleeping quarters and fitness area.

Construction was performed by Delmarva Veteran Builders, LLC of Salisbury, MD. Pennoni Engineering of Philadelphia provided design services.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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