Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 25, 2004

EMS van posted to Ka'a'awa

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

Emergency help will be much closer at hand for Windward O'ahu residents beginning Jan. 9 when a city EMS "rapid-response" van sets up shop next to the Ka'a'awa Post Office.

"Right now, Ka'a'awa is on the cusp of the Kane'ohe ambulance service area as well as the Kahuku ambulance service area," said Patty Dukes, chief of the city's emergency medical services division.

"From Kane'ohe to Kualoa, the ambulance response time runs about 10 to 15 minutes, and from Kahuku to Kualoa, likewise," Dukes said.

By positioning a rapid-response van at Ka'a'awa, response times "should be down in the single-digit range."

The van will be equipped with most of the lifesaving equipment carried by a full-fledged city ambulance and will be staffed by a fully trained paramedic.

Service hours will be 7 a.m. through 11 p.m. daily.

"The rapid-response unit will provide essentially the same kind of service as a city ambulance except for transporting patients," he said.

The inability to transport patients on the van will not be a significant drawback because the paramedic assigned to the van will be able to arrange for helicopter evacuation of critically ill patients and can be on scene providing services to less severely injured or ill patients while waiting for a city ambulance crew that can transport them, he said.

Two rapid-response EMS units have been operating on O'ahu for almost three years, Dukes said, one in Downtown Honolulu and the other in 'Ewa Beach. Funding has been received to add full-fledged ambulance service to the Downtown area and Nanakuli, meaning the rapid-response van that had served the Downtown area can be reassigned to Ka'a'awa, Dukes said.

Windward O'ahu community leaders had lobbied the city for years to improve emergency medical services.

Wanda Hashimoto's Nov. 27 death did not play a part in the decision to place a rapid-response van in Ka'a'awa, Dukes said.

But Kualoa Ranch and Kualoa Beach Park are high-intensity recreational areas, and people who get into emergency medical situations in the future will be able to receive emergency treatment sooner when the van begins operations next month, Dukes said.