Cape Region paramedics have permanent home

New station twice as large as former leased facility
July 14, 2017

Story Location:
Plantation Road
Rehoboth Beach  Delaware
United States

After several moves over the past 25 years, Sussex County paramedics serving the Cape Region have a new permanent home.

County emergency medical services officials were joined by county officials and other dignitaries during a July 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Medic 104/EMS Supervisor 100 Station along Plantation Road near the Route 24 intersection between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.

The new 5,000-square-foot facility provides nearly twice the space of the previous leased facility along Route 1 with improved access to serve residences and businesses in eastern Sussex. The station also will serve as quarters for a supervisor and training facility for new paramedics.

Medic 104 station will continue to serve areas along the Route 1 corridor in the beach area – the busiest district in the county – from north of the Indian River Inlet to Route 16 and west to Route 5, including Angola, Dewey Beach, Harbeson, Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach.

“We feel that this station is built in the right place and will help us improve our overall response times to calls as well as provide overall better service to residents and visitors of the 104 district,” said Sussex County Emergency Medical Services Director Robert Stuart. “This station will serve as the model for our next dual-purpose facility project on the west side of the county.”

Stuart said the first stations were housed at the former Airport Hotel and in a construction trailer and single-wide manufactured home.

Sussex County EMS provides around-the-clock advanced life support throughout the county, augmenting basic emergency medical care provided by local volunteer ambulance and fire companies. In 2016, crews from Medic 104 responded to more than 2,600 calls for service, with a typical response time of just over eight minutes. Stuart said the call volume at the station continues to increase about 4 percent each year. Last year, Sussex paramedics responded to more than 23,800 calls. The county budgeted $15.4 million in fiscal year 2018 for paramedics.

The $1.4 million paramedic station – a single-story building designed to blend with the surrounding residential area – is the fourth free-standing, county-owned facility built in recent years. Since 2009, the county has constructed new stations near Laurel, Long Neck and Bethany Beach, shifting from a model of renting space or co-locating with volunteer fire companies for quarters.

Sussex County plans to transition all its paramedic stations serving nine geographic territories in the coming years.

Funding for the station’s design and construction was made possible through the county’s share of realty transfer taxes collected on property sales.

“The paramedic program is our single-largest expenditure each year, and it’s arguably among the most important services we provide to the public each and every day,” said Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent. “We’re proud to be able to make this investment that allows Sussex County EMS to continue providing the fastest, highest quality of care to patients – our residents and visitors – when seconds literally count.”

Among some of the new station’s features, the building includes two garage bays that will accommodate four emergency vehicles, office/conference space, a kitchen, day room, sleeping quarters and fitness area. Construction was performed by Delmarva Veteran Builders, LLC of Salisbury, Md. Pennoni Engineering of Philadelphia provided design services.

In memory of Stephanie Callaway

The new station was dedicated in memory of Stephanie Callaway, a Sussex paramedic and Lewes firefighter, who died in the line of duty. Several members of her family were in attendance at the ceremony.

Callaway, 31, of Lewes was killed in a crash June 17, 2008, on Route 24 along with her patient, Betty Hall, of Lewes, as they rode in the back of a Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad ambulance. The driver swerved to avoid a deer and hit a tree.

Glenn Luedtke, former Sussex EMS director, said her tragic death has resulted in improved safety standards throughout the nation for patients and providers riding in ambulances. “There is better ambulance design and they are making major improvements as a direct result of her crash. The effort started in Sussex County and Delaware,” he said.

“We will never forget her. She touched the lives of everyone she met. We have to remember how lucky we were to know someone who was so special,” Luedtke said.

Members of the Lewes Fire Co. presented Sussex EMS officials with a plaque in her memory to be displayed at the new station.