Donation to SVMC Brings First Responder Vehicle to Dorset

For Immediate Release
8 August 2011
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson

Vehicle on display for Dorset’s 250th celebration

DORSET, Vt. — A newly donated Chevy Tahoe will give residents of Dorset and nearby villages faster access to life-saving medical care. The Tahoe, donated by an area resident, will be operated by members of the Manchester Rescue Squad in collaboration with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC). Known as a “first responder vehicle,” the Tahoe will carry a variety of equipment, such as an automatic external defibrillator (AED), a device used to shock a heart into the correct rhythm during a heart attack.

“Seconds can count in a medical emergency,” said David Meiselman, the attorney and Dorset resident who donated the Tahoe completely outfitted as a first responder vehicle. “Under the best of circumstances people in Dorset are about a half-hour from a hospital. By donating a first responder vehicle, I hope that we can reduce the time it takes to administer treatments like defibrillation. I am grateful to SVMC and Manchester Rescue Squad for helping work through the details to make this happen.”

Dorset residents are invited to have a look at the vehicle on August 20 during the town’s 250th anniversary celebration picnic and community party.

The vehicle will operate under the auspices of the Manchester Rescue Squad, the Northshire’s state-licensed rescue organization. The Dorset First Response Team is open to any members of Manchester Rescue living in the Dorset area. Dorset residents who wish to join must become members of Manchester Rescue and take a training course. A group of nine Dorset residents already has stepped forward to staff the first responder vehicle. They have a range of skills from basic emergency medical technician training to advanced cardiac life support training.

“This is a great opportunity for Manchester Rescue to expand the services we offer to the Dorset area,” said Michael Casey, the squad’s chief operations officer. “The Dorset community is an important part of our service area. Adding this vehicle will give us an extra tool for rapid response.”

The vehicle itself will carry basic life support equipment, such as an AED, first aid supplies, oxygen and a few medications. An emergency 9-1-1 operator will dispatch it simultaneously with Manchester Rescue Squad. As the first responder team grows, the group hopes to expand its capabilities to include advanced life support, which could include additional medications and IV starts.

Manchester Rescue will house the vehicle temporarily at its squad house while Meiselman and group of donors work with the Town of Dorset and Dorset Nursing to construct a garage for it in Dorset.

“Our goal is to position this vehicle as close to the center of Dorset as we can,” Meiselman explained. “In an emergency, proximity is the key because it helps make life-saving treatment, such as defibrillation, available more quickly.”

“SVMC is pleased to be able to help expand pre-hospital services in the Dorset area,” said Dr. Trey Dobson, medical director of the SVMC Emergency Department. “This vehicle will give Dorset residents faster access to high-quality emergency care in the field, which can often make the difference in a patient’s long-term outcome.”

“This is an excellent example of the type of collaboration that helps improve health care in rural communities,” explained Rob Gaiotti, town manager. “The town, the local hospital, a motivated donor, Dorset Nursing, and the rescue squad have come together to help solve a problem. This solution is only possible by working together.”

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is Vermont’s first Magnet hospital for nursing excellence. It also is home to Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the region's only nationally accredited breast care program. It provides hospital care for all of Bennington County as well as towns in neighboring counties and communities in nearby New York and Massachusetts. In addition, SVMC provides primary care to the Northshire and Deerfield Valley communities through satellite locations in Manchester and Wilmington.