New Aiken Co. EMS station set to open; response times to improve

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- For Jim Bonner, who lives outside Monetta, rural living has its pros and cons.

"We don't have services," he tells News 12. "You can't get fast DSL. You can't get sewers, gas, side-walks, and they even took our Magistrate away, so we get very little as far as services, but we'll live with that for the type of living we have."

However, there is one service he wishes he did have. In a medical emergency, an ambulance could be half-an-hour away or further.

"I've heard people that won't even bother calling," he says. "They'll put somebody in the back-seat of their car and take them in, because no matter how long it takes them to get there, it's faster."

But for Bonner, and his neighbors, help is on the way. The county just finished construction on a new EMS station to serve the northeastern part of Aiken County.

"We had our final walk-through [Monday] on a punch-list," says Aiken County Emergency Services Director Tommy Thompson.

Thompson says the station will improve response times for many. Right now, the Monetta area is served by either Station 6 at J.D. Lever Elementary School, across the street from the airport, or Medic 4 in Downtown Wagener.

With those two ambulances freed up from calls in the Monetta area, Thompson says this new station will help response times in those areas too.

"Well, we can't say we will eliminate it, but it will greatly improve it," Thompson says about response times.

As News 12 first reported, though, Aiken County EMS has a 34 percent turnover rate, but Thompson says the new station will be adequately staffed.

"Right now, we are working to come up to full staffing," says Thompson. "We have a number of trainees that are coming along, and we will be able to maintain, eventually, to get all ten going at the same time and maintain that staffing."

That's good news to Bonner.

"I also think that it'll help develop the area, because we don't know how much development we want, but it will bring some people to live out here now that they do have that kind of a service, I believe," he says.

In addition to the new Monetta station, the mobile home substations will also be replaced at Oakwood Windsor Elementary School and Silver Bluff High School. The Oakwood station will be moved to 120 Cedar Road in Windsor. Thompson says the ground was broken there just last week. As for the Silver Bluff station, it'll be moved to the corner of Pine Log Road and Williston Road (US-278) in Beech Island. Thompson says that station is just several weeks behind Monetta's station.

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