Changes on the Horizon for Walton County Emergency Services

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Walton County Fire Rescue will do more than just fight fires in the future. The fire rescue organization will also offer residents a community paramedicine program.

According to the organization, “Community paramedics are trained and licensed paramedics who respond to specific pre-determined EMS calls to visit patients and provide care.”

This new program will be one of the first in the state of Florida and will provide care for attention seekers who previously sought care only at the emergency room. They simply called 911 and were taken to the nearest hospital.

“A lot of people think calling 911 is their only option,” said paramedic Lindsey Timpano, who has worked for Walton County Fire Rescue since 2020. These patients — it’s more one-on-one.

Starting August 1, when residents or visitors call 911 for medical services, the information will be determined on an emergency basis by Walton County Sheriff’s Office communications professionals, who will use a tactical dispatch plan to decide. whether a community paramedic should respond. The paramedic would be dispatched instead of an ambulance.

Timpano and fellow paramedic Ashley Dumont, who together have more than 15 years of paramedic experience, will be able to check vital signs, catheters and make fall risk recommendations. Both will refer patients who do not need to be transported to their telehealth service for their care needs.

“We have the ability to bring a doctor on an iPad into your home,” Dumont said.

With the recent closure of Healthmark’s ER, the impact on the 911 system is even greater. This program could ensure that ambulances are less busy transporting someone to a facility for a relatively minor reason and can remain available for more urgent emergencies.

“I want them to have confidence that they will receive quality care,” Dumont said. “Whether it’s connecting them with a doctor or educating them on how to better manage their insulin.

Officials say it’s a program also designed so that patients don’t always have to leave the comfort of their homes, but always receive the care they need and deserve – with a smile.

Dumont was the only community paramedic until Timpano joined the team.(Walton County Sheriff’s Office)
Timpano joined Dumont in the community paramedic program.
Timpano joined Dumont in the community paramedic program.(Walton County Sheriff’s Office)

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Richard F. Gandhi