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Emergency call boxes at New Salisbury, Elizabeth

Emergency call boxes at New Salisbury, Elizabeth
Emergency call boxes at New Salisbury, Elizabeth
Paramedic Ramsey Vance demonstrates using an emergency call box that was recently installed at the ambulance station in New Salisbury. Another box is in Elizabeth. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

Emergency call boxes are now available for use at the ambulance stations in Elizabeth and New Salisbury.
Inside each red call box, attached to the front of the ambulance stations, is a phone that automatically rings into the Harrison County Central Dispatch at the Justice Center in Corydon when someone lifts the receiver.
‘Each one of our stations is marked with a sign to designate us as being an ambulance service,’ said paramedic Ramsey Vance, a shift supervisor with the Emergency Medical Services at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon.
‘Over the past few years, we have strived to excel and make our service better for the whole community … We provide 24-hour emergency response’ from the two outlying stations, as well as the emergency room at HCH.
‘On occasion, we have people in distress stop in our stations for assistance, which is fine, if we are at the station when they stop,’ he said. ‘However, if we are out on a run, moving our units for normal coverage, or we are out on road orientation, no one is at the station to answer our door and provide assistance.’
So Vance proposed purchasing and installing the call boxes at the north and south stations.
‘I just knew we needed something so people could call 911,’ Vance said.
He applied for a mini-grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation and was awarded the $1,200 needed to equip and install the two boxes.
‘The boxes are similar to the fire call boxes you see on street corners in large cities,’ Vance said. ‘They are simple to operate. You simply open the front door and pick up the receiver, and it automatically dials 911 for assistance.’
On average, two or three times a month someone appears either at the New Salisbury or Elizabeth station requesting medical assistance. Vance said it would vary from someone reporting a wreck to a person with chest pain.
‘It was happening more frequently,’ Vance said.
He added that they prefer people to call 911 when assistance is needed, but EMS personnel understand that sometimes that isn’t possible.
Both call boxes became operational earlier this month. Porch lights on the front of the ambulance stations illuminate the call boxes at night. Vance said the boxes are also reflective.
‘I feel like this is a worthwhile project,’ Vance said, ‘that will help us improve our service to the community and might help save a life.’