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Lee native to work in Gulf relief

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

MACON, Ga. -- Cuts, contusions and other injuries are an everyday sight for 22-year-old Leesburg native Kevin Simons.

The nationally registered paramedic hopes that during his two-week deployment in the Gulf of Mexico that he will be able to offer treatment to many more injuries.

According to Mid Georgia Ambulance Chief Operation Officer Joe Robinson, Simons will be departing Saturday for Louisiana to provide medical assistance to the numerous workers in charge of cleaning up the beaches and waters of the Gulf from the oil spill.

Robinson said Simons will be performing blood pressure and wellness check and offer treatment for conditions such as dehydration and smoke inhalation from their work on the Gulf's beaches.

"They will be treating (the oil spill workers) for everything that might need medical attention like headaches, burns and cuts," he said.

Robinson said MGA began sending teams of paramedics to the Gulf after Acadian Ambulance of Lafayette, La., contacted the emergency medical service for assistance.

"I think they are a little overwhelmed because of the disaster," he said. "In the past we have always answered a call whenever anyone needed additional help so we are doing whatever we can to help our colleagues and the people in Gulf."

Simons said he expects to be working steadily during the cleanup effort.

"The cleanup crews are moving a lot of heavy equipment, so there is a greater chance they may suffer some injuries like cuts and bad bruising," the paramedic said. "They are also working out in the ocean and they need paramedics out at sea to stabilize injured workers so that they can be treated on shore."

Simons said he would prefer to be working in the water as opposed to working on land if given a choice.

"I would prefer the sea assignment," he said. "I like the water and I know that there are a lot of people out there that need help."

After arriving in Louisiana, Simons and fellow paramedic Jennifer Smith will meet with Acadian representative for orientation and will be assigned to designated location at the Gulf to offer medical support.

Bandaging wounds and stabilizing patients isn't all that Simons will be doing, Simons said. In addition to providing medical treatment, Simons will also be assisting with the oil spill cleanup effort.

"I'm excited about it," said the paramedic. "I know it is going to be a good experience and this will be my first large-scale (disaster relief) work experience."

Robinson said MGA will continue to send paramedics to the Gulf to offer medical support for as long as needed.

"You do whatever you can to help when these things happen," he said. "Right now, they need our help and we have a great team of paramedics that are willing to volunteer to offer that support."

Mid Georgia Ambulance Service is a full service Emergency Medical Service based in Macon and provides primary and supplemental 911 coverage, critical care transport, inter-facility transport, neonatal transport, special event and standby coverage in eight counties within the state.