Ribbon cutting ceremony, open house held to celebrate new Dare EMS Station 4

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Dare County, in conjunction with the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house event on Friday, March 15, 2024 to celebrate the recent completion and official opening of the new Dare County EMS Station 4 located at 28 East Dogwood Trail in Southern Shores.

The new 8,800-square-foot facility – which is shared with the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department – is part of a multiphase project to improve and modernize outdated Dare County EMS facilities throughout the county in order to better serve the residents and visitors of our community.

The ceremony kicked off at 1:30 p.m. with a welcome message from Dare County EMS director Chief Jennie Collins, who shared the excitement she and her staff feel for completion of the new facility, which offers several significant improvements over the outdated station that was constructed in the 1980s and had previously been situated on the site.

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“We are honored and thrilled to have you here to celebrate this momentous milestone with us,” Collins told the dozens of event attendees, who ranged from county and town officials to Dare County EMS and Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Departments staff members, as well as numerous individuals from the public.

“The opening of the reconstructed station stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to our community and symbolizes our readiness to respond to any situation that may occur,” Collins continued. “While I am very excited about the opening of the station, I promise you that my feelings are eclipsed by my personnel’s feelings. They are so excited to have a new station and one that accommodates their needs on their daily basis – and they have been looking forward to this day for a very long time.”

Following Collins’ opening remarks, Dare County EMS chaplain Cherri Wheeler led a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance before turning the event over to Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard, who spoke about the county’s ongoing commitment to public safety and improving the facilities from which the community’s first responders are dispatched on a daily basis as they perform their essential life-saving operations.

“Our board has stepped up to the plate to the tune of some $42 million to be able to renovate [all of] these stations throughout Dare County, and [it’s been a] long, long time coming,” Woodard told attendees. “Our people need good facilities, excellent facilities. This is their home. This is what they work out of every day, so we need to make sure that they have all the things in place to [do] their job. It’s amazing what our people do, and we’re so fortunate to have the talent that we have in our community.”

Woodard also highlighted the need for improved EMS facilities throughout Dare County to update or replace the existing stations that no longer meet the demands of the county’s EMS workforce and the members of the community the department serves.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people who visit Dare County and who are moving here permanently, as well as a number of people who have relocated from multiple states,” he said. “This increase in the number of residents and visitors also means an increase in the number of calls for service that Dare County EMS has to respond to; therefore, it’s critical that these essential members of our workforce have access to quality facilities and the resources that allow them to perform their duties both efficiently and effectively.”

The recently completed Dare County EMS Station 4 facility offers a wide array of essential improvements, including:

  • New technology that will keep vehicle exhaust carcinogens from entering and contaminating the crew members’ living areas;
  • New rapid notification technology for incoming dispatch calls for this particular station only, reducing the systemwide radio noise that previously had to be heard at all hours of the night;
  • Updated life safety systems that protect the staff members on duty;
  • Enhanced structural protection of the staff, vehicles and equipment during storms; and
  • More adequate space to not only position the ambulances in the vehicle bays but also to be able to perform daily inspection of those vehicles and equipment without moving them outside to do so.

In addition to these improvements, the new facility has also been specifically designed to be more supportive of the needs of the male and female personnel who make up the Dare County EMS department’s diverse workforce and provides a supportive facility for first responders to work their 24-hour shifts, study, prepare meals and perform important training drills.

“The Dare County Board of Commissioners recognizes and appreciates the integral role that EMS staff plays in our community, and we’re committed to improving our facilities throughout the county,” said Woodard.

As he continued his remarks, Woodard praised everyone whose hard work and dedication played a role in bringing the EMS Station 4 project to fruition – including officials from Dare County and the Town of Southern Shores, as well as staff and crew members from Barnhill Contracting Company and Oakley Collier Architects – and he also expressed his gratitude for the unique partnerships Dare County has forged with everyone involved in the process.

“The unique partnerships with all of these individuals and their dedicated staff have made this project here today possible,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t celebrate the completion of this new facility today.”

Woodard then turned over the podium to Town of Southern Shores Mayor Elizabeth Morey, who began by recognizing the many Dare County EMS and Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department crew members that were present in the audience.

“This [project] is a marriage of two different departments that work together, and it’s clear that everybody’s got the community’s best interests at heart,” said Morey. “I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you do. We, as civilians, don’t have any idea what you guys do, so thank you.”

Morey then went on to extend her appreciation to several of the key players who helped make construction of the new station possible, including county manager/attorney Bobby Outten, Southern Shores town manager Cliff Ogburn and Dare County special projects and purchasing manager Dustin Peele.

“There were a lot of discussions, negotiations and details to work out,” she said. “All of that happened, and we’re all benefiting from that today.”

At the conclusion of the speakers’ remarks, officials from Dare County, the Town of Southern Shores and the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, as well as representatives of Barnhill Contracting Company and Oakley Collier Architects, gathered in front of the facility and ceremoniously cut a blue ribbon to mark the official opening of the brand-new station.

Attendees were then invited to take guided tours of the new facility, enjoy light refreshments and join several Dare County EMS staff members who were onsite during the event to perform free blood pressure checks, as well as hands-only CPR training and Stop the Bleed training at various locations within the new station.

To view a video of the Dare County EMS Station 4 ribbon cutting ceremony on Dare County’s YouTube channel, go to youtube.com/watch?v=mgptnnDhTfk or view here: