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May Spur Further Business Opportunities
John Henderson with the South Carolina Association of Counties presented an Outstanding Achievement Award to Edgefield County at the February monthly meeting of the Edgefield County Council. While the award was given to the county, it is due to local inventor, Shane Emmons, and his contribution to the field of rescue and recovery that the county garnered the honor. Mr. Emmons’s rescue vehicles were nominated by EMS Director Jewel Plaxico for recognition for their contributions to reducing workers compensation and insurance rates. Mr. Henderson, who is with the SCAC’s Risk Management division said Mr. Emmons’s invention was “so unique…we had to recognize it.” He added that Mr. Emmons’ rescue vehicles will “save money for the county in the long run.”
Mr. Emmons, a native of Connecticut, is a 12 years member of the Merriwether Fire Department but a metal fabricator by trade. In an interview with the Advertiser, Mr. Emmons shared how he was approached by Merriwether Fire Chief Joey Smith, who was aware of Mr. Emmons’ abilities in the fabrication of metal, to design a rescue system that would facilitate rescues in the county’s various terrains, specifically along biking/hiking trails that are often too narrow for traditional rescue and all terrain vehicles to navigate. The fire department allocated money for this project, and Mr. Emmons designed and built the new system. As a result of this collaboration, the fire department now has at its disposal a long-range medical rescue trailer, a “highly modified” two-wheel motorcycle, a fast access rescue vehicle, and an over-road trailer – all of which are Mr. Emmons’s inventions .
The fast access rescue vehicle was actually being used the day the Advertiser called for a follow-up interview with Mr. Emmons. Used to pull a man from one of the biking trials within the county (the report of which may be found in last week’s edition), the devise caught the eye of several assisting agencies. One Sheriff’s Office official stated that this devise was “exactly what they’ve needed for years” and that “that things worth whatever they paid for it.”
Mr. Emmons shared that interest in his devices is not limited to local agencies. He has been contacted by 7 different countries and 7 other states have expressed interest in his inventions. The wide appeal of his devices seems to stem from what Mr. Emmons described as their best feature; comfort. Having 31 years experience in fire rescue as well as 12 years in EMS, Mr. Emmons is well aware that stability while transporting patients is crucial. His systems are designed to be shock absorbent and are based on the idea of not transferring movement to the patient or the rescue personnel.
Mr. Emmons newest addition to his rescue vehicle line-up is called the “Balistica,” the predecessor of which is the fast access rescue vehicle currently in use by the MFD. Mr. Emmons is no longer making the model owned by the MFD and says the replacement Balistica is better in that it is a modular device that actually has three variations. It is unclear whether the MFD will be adding this model to their fleet, but Mr. Emmons said he is hopeful they can work something out.
As far as long-range goals for his inventions, Mr. Emmons did say he would like to see this expand into possibly a manufacturing business within the county. He says his hope is to stay in Edgefield County, where he has lived for 13 years now, and he has even looked into acquiring space within the different towns within the county for such an enterprise. Mr. Emmons shared that he has had a “great deal of interest” from private parties wishing to back his business venture, but he is not really interested in pursuing those possibilities and does not want to “give it away.” He is hoping that the interest he is getting in his designs will lead to “lots of orders” and thus, his possibilities and opportunities will increase exponentially. As noted in a brochure about his products, the applications for his devices, from sports venues to outdoor rescues, are many. The possibilities to the county afforded by these endeavors may be as varied and promising as well.