JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - There is a new emergency response team that is dedicated to keeping Region 8 residents safe in a variety of situations, including hazmat and infectious diseases.
About 20 paramedics and emergency response technicians from the Medic One Ambulance Service are part of their S.H.O.T. team, which stands for Special Hazard Operations Team.
"The state put out a request for EMS services in the state of Arkansas to handle Ebola and highly infectious disease transports with funding through federal and state grants," S.H.O.T Team Leader Will Tate said.
Medic One administrators decided they would like to have a highly-trained team ready to handle those scenarios rather than crew members with basic knowledge.
All of the team members have gone through hazmat awareness and operations training.
"Some of our team, we've sent to Anniston, Alabama to the Center for Domestic Preparedness and they've got their certifications in emergency medical operations for a CBRN event," Tate said.
CBRN stands for a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events.
"Our goal is to provide the best patient care for our families but also be there for the fire departments and the first responders out there that are actually doing the job," Tate said. "That we can be there and provide a better assistance for them."
The SHOT truck was specifically built for hazard operations.
"This is not a front-line truck," Tate said. "This truck only deploys when this team is activated."
There is nothing sharp in the back of the truck that could compromise the EMT's suits.
It also has two layers of specialized lining.
The team also has a trailer filled with equipment for decontamination.
The team is now planning their first city-wide training that will happen in April. They will be transporting a mock Ebola patient between NEA Baptist Hospital and St. Bernards Medical Center.
"We've got to make sure that all of our personal and protective equipment is in line and all our procedures are there," Tate said. "It's best that when we do these trainings that we do it and make mistakes. If you don't make mistakes during the exercise then you don't know what to fix."