SEAFORD — Sussex County’s highly acclaimed Emergency Medical Services paramedic program has a new home in the bustling heart of western Sussex County.
Medic 110, which relocated from Blades in mid-May, was formally christened with a ribbon-cutting Friday, marking the grand opening of the single-story, 5,000-square-foot facility in Seaford that cost approximately $1.9 million.
“We looked at five years of call data, anticipated growth between 2017 and 2025. We knew we wanted to be on the north side of Seaford with quick access to U.S. 13 and U.S. 13A,” said Sussex County EMS Director Robbie Murray. “Today, we are standing in the ideal location based on all of the data and all of the requirements and desires that we had in place.”
Based just north of Seaford off Swain Road, with easy access to those busy highways, Medic 110 will serve the greater Seaford/Blades area, historically one of EMS’ busiest geographic locations. It will also assist Medic 107 — a single paramedic station a few miles north in Bridgeville.
Last year, paramedics who worked out of Medic 110 responded to just shy of 3,300 calls for help.
“The Seaford area, since day one, has been one of the busiest areas. For many years, it was the busiest area. More recently, in the last several years, that has been taken over by the Lewes unit,” said Mr. Murray. “But hands down, without question, Seaford continues to be one of our busier units.
“This would be the primary backup to Bridgeville,” he added. “Our current paramedic unit in Bridgeville is a single paramedic. We send two paramedics on all calls. So any call that Medic 107 in Bridgeville would go to — whether Bridgeville, Greenwood — the paramedics (at Medic 110) would split and one of them would go to back that person up.”
Additionally, the new Medic 110 will be staffed by three people 24 hours a day and serve as quarters for a paramedic supervisor, as well as a training facility.
“This is also one of our primary training stations. So you will see a number of paramedic students through (Delaware Technical Community College) and also candidates that have joined us as employees,” said Mr. Murray.
The Seaford building includes two garage bays that can accommodate four emergency vehicles, office/conference space, a kitchen, a day room, sleeping quarters and a fitness area. Out front, along southbound U.S. 13, it features an electronic message center.
Designed to blend in with surrounding residential areas, Medic 110 is the fifth free-standing, county-owned paramedic facility, joining stations near Laurel, Long Neck, Ocean View and Lewes in the county’s ongoing shift from a decades-long model of renting space or co-locating with volunteer EMS companies for quarters.
“The goal of the County Council when we started this project was buildings,” said Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent. “We didn’t own any buildings. We leased buildings. Now, this is building No. 5 (owned). We have three more to go. We’re going to do those in the next two or three years. I think the next one is going to be in the Millsboro area.”
Sussex County now has 10 fixed stations and one seasonal unit. All are two-person units except for Medic 107 in Bridgeville, a 24-hour, single-person unit, and Medic 111 in Milton, a single-person unit that operates in the daytime only, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Councilman Vincent emphasized Sussex County’s commitment to supporting public safety, including the county’s nationally acclaimed EMS program.
“Every year in the budget process, a lot of requests come to us — from everybody. But I can assure you that the thing on top of our list is public safety — paramedics, EMS, state police, local police, fire companies. That is what we zero in on,” said the councilman, who labeled Sussex EMS “the best paramedics department” in the nation.
“We must equip our brave and talented first responders with the tools, training and facilities they need to deliver lifesaving care to patients, and this new station will go a long way in supporting that mission of saving lives,” he said.
Construction, by Whayland of Laurel, cost about $1.4 million. Acquisition of the property that previously housed Seaford Pet Emporium was around $500,000, Mr. Murray said.
“This building was paid for in savings, and a lot of attention gets paid to the savings that the county has,” said Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson. “The good news about that is we didn’t have to borrow one dollar to build this building and purchase this land. That’s a benefit to all our taxpayers, including all of you.”
Mr. Lawson said he was pleased to “see the hallmark of all the work that came about to bring this to the finish line. I think what this represents is teamwork. The credit goes to all the hard work that came about — the county’s staff, our vendors, our stakeholders with the city of Seaford and (the Delaware Department of Transportation). That culmination brings us to today.”
Bobby Schoonover, Sussex EMS manager of logistics, highlighted the efforts of County Engineer Hans Medlarz, who brokered a deal with the city of Seaford that brought municipal water and sewer “at a reasonable cost” to meet 2017 State Fire Marshal sprinkler regulations.
A turn lane from Swain Road for direct access to U.S. 13 also was included in the project.
Medic 110 transitioned from Blades on May 13.
“We feel that this station is in the best location for us to improve our overall response times to calls, thus providing better service to residents and visitors of the area,” Mr. Murray said. “The station design was based on our east-side dual station that serves the Lewes-Rehoboth Beach area and opened in 2017.”
Following a year’s hiatus due to COVID-19, Sussex County EMS, past recipient of numerous medals in international Journal of Emergency Medical Services Games events and other competitions, will be competing in San Antonio this August and in Washington, D.C., in February.