Harris Regional Hospital’s five new ambulances arrive

February 21, 2017

SYLVA, N.C. – Harris Regional Hospital has received five new ambulances to serve county Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which have been operated by the hospital as Harris EMS in partnership with Jackson County for more than 20 years. The ambulances replace older trucks in the hospital’s fleet which have been taken out of 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.

“Our paramedics and EMTs are dedicated to saving lives in Jackson County and working with other emergency services professionals in the surrounding area,” said Stephen Plemmons, Director of Harris EMS and Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital Emergency Departments. Matthew Burrell serves as EMS Operations Manager for 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 5,610 calls from all across the county representing a 15% increase over four years.

“We’re excited to provide our region with these five new ambulances,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “Our longstanding partnership with Jackson County, through our management of EMS, demonstrates our mutual commitment to saving the lives of those who live in the communities we are privileged to serve.”

Harris Regional Hospital is building a new emergency department scheduled to be complete this fall. Both Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital recently attained national accreditation as chest pain centers by the Society for Cardiovascular Patient Care.