The River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club is proud to announce a $20,000 award for the River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS. The funding was derived from a raffle ticket drive by Club members this year.
The Lions Club support for the EMS goes back to 1978, when a River Hills resident suffered a heart attack on the golf course, and Club members realized the need for an EMS unit that was closer to the community.
With seed money from the Lions Club and its first ambulance vehicle purchased, the River Hills Emergency Squad was activated in 1980 with 11 EMTs and 21 drivers.
Initially operating out of a one-bay garage, the early EMS staff was all volunteer, with calls coming to the River Hills Gate Security employees. The original EMS coverage area was limited to the River Hills community and select areas nearby.
Today the EMS unit operates through the York County 911 dispatch system, and can be routed to a broader geographic area, based on the nature of the call and the availability of ambulances nearby. The system was installed in York County in 1989, on the very day that Hurricane Hugo swept through the area, causing extensive damage and power outages.
The current staff is mostly paid, about 35-40 people, with half certified as paramedics and the rest EMTs. They operate two Advanced Life Support vehicles and one Basic Life Support vehicle. With their newest truck nearing almost 250,000 miles, their biggest need in the next year is to purchase at least one replacement vehicle, with costs upwards of $200,000.
In the early 2000s, the call volume to the EMS was usually around 1500 each year. But with the advent of COVID-19, the calls jumped to 1800 in 2020 and 2400 in 2021. This year the calls have surpassed 1700, with two months remaining in the year.
Partial funding for the River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS service is provided by the patient’s insurance; if the insurance does not fully cover it, EMS writes off the difference. They strive to make up the loss through donations from the community and organizations like the River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club.
As such an important service to our community, and one whose needs will continue to grow as we see residential development exploding in our area, we encourage other organizations and individuals to join in supporting the River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS with your donations.