SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Hundreds of emergency medical personnel are already on the streets in and around the St. Patrick’s Day Festival area, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.
This year, crews with Chatham Emergency Services are trying some new tactics to make sure you and your family are safe and taken care of should you need help during the weekend.
Even though Friday is the first official day of the 2019 Saint Patrick’s Day Festival in Savannah, emergency crews have been preparing and honing their game plan for months.
More than 200 Chatham Emergency Services employees will be dedicated to this year’s festivities - working 12-hour shifts and adjusting coverage and personnel when needed.
“Saturday morning during the parade, we’ll have 20 ambulances on duty. We’re going to have four gator teams and a command gator,” said Chuck Kearns, CEO, Chatham Emergency Services. “We’re going to have four bike teams out there also along the parade route, and as it transitions over to the festival areas, we’re going to re-deploy those assets. The only real change there is, is that the bicycle teams will dismount and they will become walking teams.”
CES is actually increasing the number of ATVs to navigate the crowds, some with the capability to load a patient on a stretcher. They’ll also bring on licensed EMTs from their year-round paramedic class. It’s a win-win that gives the agency more staff, and gives students credit hours in the field.
CEO Chuck Kearns is issuing a word of caution for anyone drinking alcohol in the early morning hours Saturday when cooler temperatures are expected.
“That’s always a problem that is compounded by alcohol consumption, because alcohol makes you cold. It feels warm going down, but it actually makes you hypothermic, and you add that with cold temperatures, and you can see people getting in a lot of medical problems from hypothermia," he said.
There will be emergency staff at the command post located at West and Julian streets for the duration of the festival if you have a medical emergency.
During the parade, keep an eye out for Chatham Emergency Services. They’ll be unveiling this year’s special-designed ambulance.