McDowell County EMS
Wilderness Medical Response
Special Operations Coordinator - Capt. Craig Walker CCEMT-P
Asst. Coordinator - Lt. / FTO Marvin Hancock CCEMT-P
McDowell County offers a wide variety of outdoor wilderness recreational opportunities in Western North Carolina including hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and kayaking. In order to meet the emergency needs of the counties wilderness visitors McDowell County EMS takes special measures to ensure remote response readiness.
McDowell County EMS Wilderness Response Measures
Each ambulance is equipped with a mountain wilderness bag which is a state of the art backpack equipped with everything necessary to provide top level Advanced Life Support patient care.
MCDEMS has developed a special operations team in which specially trained paramedics respond to wilderness events. Special trainings and emergency pre-planning occurs between EMS and other emergency agencies in order to be ready for quick and efficient response.
McDowell County Facts
McDowell County: 437 sq miles
Total acres: 279,660 acres
Total National Forest Service Land 68,102 acres
62.17 miles of major streams and rivers.
Elevation 900-4700 ft
Hiking/Backpacking; The Mountains -To -Sea Trail is a magnificent trail that leads 938 miles from the Tennessee/North Carolina border to the Atlantic Ocean. : 26.6 Miles of this trail are in or on the border of McDowell County. Hundreds of miles of total hiking trails offer many opportunities for visitors to get close to nature. Catawba and Toms Creek falls are just two of the wonderful waterfalls that can be hiked to and are located within McDowell County.
Geo caching: This is a relatively new sport in which explorers use navigation aids to find hidden spots using only map coordinates then leave record of their visit. A significant amount of these caches are located within McDowell County.
Mountain Biking: Many of the area trails are open for mountain bikes including the Woods Mountain trail which offers a 13 mile loop through Pisgah National Forest.
Kayaking: Much of Lake James as well as the Catawba River allow paddling access.
The most important safety tip for people entering the wilderness is to take along a trusted friend. If you decide to go alone please let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return.
Any visitor to wilderness areas should bring along items that will increase their safety. The Mountaineers Group provides a list of these items and has called them the 10 essentials.
10 essentials http://www.mountaineers.org/scriptcontent/default.cfm?insert=essentials
1.Navigation (map and compass)
2. Sun protection
3. Insulation (extra clothing)
4. Illumination (flashlight/headlamp)
5. First-aid supplies
7. Repair kit and tools
8. Nutrition (extra food)
9. Hydration (extra water)
10. Emergency shelter
1st aid training. Classes on basic first aid are available from numerous sources. We encourage you to take some first aid training for the benefit of both you and your traveling companions.