Harris Regional Hospital purchases five new ambulances to serve county

October 11, 2016

SYLVA, N.C. – Through its longstanding partnership with Jackson County, Harris Regional Hospital has purchased five new ambulances to serve the county Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which have been operated by the hospital as Harris EMS for the past 20 years. The new ambulances replace five units that have reached the end of their service.

Harris EMS has a total of seven ambulances stationed at three bases located throughout the county on Old Settlement Road, on Hampton Road in the Qualla Community, and at the hospital. With the purchase, a truck will be stationed at the Qualla base for 12 hours per day to improve response times. Harris EMS has a mutual aid agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and tribal EMS to provide response in the Qualla community. The Qualla base will be staffed with a crew from Harris EMS.

Harris Regional Hospital began operating the ambulance service for the county through a contract agreement that began January 1, 1996 providing stability for the community, well-trained paramedics and emergency medical technicians, and a continuous focus on response times. In 2015, Harris EMS answered 5,218 calls from all across the county representing a 15% increase over four years.

β€œIt is a privilege for Harris Regional Hospital to operate the county EMS. The new ambulances represent what is working about our partnership with the county. The community understands the importance of quality emergency medical services and the hospital is willing to make the capital investments in equipment and personnel in collaboration with the county and its needs,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital.

The ambulances will be on the road in early 2017. Harris Regional Hospital is building a new emergency department scheduled to be complete in the early fall of 2017. Both Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital recently attained national accreditation as chest pain centers by the Society for Cardiovascular Patient Care. Visit www.myharrisregional.com for more information.