Bowen heads up county Emergency Departments

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

Kenny Bowen has joined Darlington County as the new head of Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services, and Bowen has plans to raise the level of service provided to county citizens.

A Hartsville native and graduate of Hartsville High, Bowen earned his EMT and Paramedic certifications through Pee Dee Regional EMS. He joined the Lake Robinson Rescue Squad in 2003 as a junior rescue squad member and served there until 2010 as a paramedic and member of their Board of Directors. He also joined up with Darlington County EMS, working some small jobs through high school, and has stuck with DC EMS since 2007.

Kenny Bowen

“I’ve always enjoyed helping people, especially being there for them in a time of need and knowing what to do to make their situation a little bit better,” says Bowen.

As head of Darlington County EMS, Bowen aims to provide the best level of care by filling the county’s five vacant paramedic positions as quickly as possible. While all DC EMS ambulances are staffed by qualified EMTs, the paramedics are certified to provide higher level services.

“Their skill set is a lot more broad, getting into things like cardiac interventions, treating fast heart rates and slow heart rates with medications, defibrillation, doing advanced airway maneuvers like tracheal intubation,” says Bowen.

Since highly skilled emergency responders are always in demand, Bowen says there is a shortage of paramedics all around South Carolina, and Darlington County is no different. Offering competitive wages will help, and Bowen notes that Darlington County Council approved a significant raise for EMS workers in the last county budget.

“It brought our pay scales up to the level of other surrounding agencies, so we’re right in line with everyone else now,” says Bowen, adding that this should help with employee retention.

Heading up the Emergency Management branch entails making sure the county’s resources are prepared and properly deployed in the event of a major emergency or natural disaster.

“It covers how we can plan to deal with those events in advance, and through the recovery process that follows,” Bowen says.
He is aided in these efforts by Molly Odom, who served as second to former Emergency Management director Woodrow “Mac” McDonald, who retired at the close of 2017 after 25 years of service.

Keeping up with the latest information on weather events can help with preparation, and all county residents are encouraged to check out for the current weather info that may impact our area.

Bowen also suggests that county residents sign up for CodeRED, a messaging service that notifies subscribers via telephone, email, text message, and social media whenever a time-sensitive emergency situation arises – such as the escape of a prisoner from the County Courthouse, the testing or activation of alert sirens for the H.B Robinson Plant, or a rapidly evolving weather emergency.

You can also keep up with the latest news from Darlington County EMS and Emergency Management by visiting their social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Author: Duane Childers

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