Contact: Katie Johnson
Grant County CARES Funding Makes Unit Possible
[Elbow Lake, MN] In an emergency time is of the essence. Thanks to a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant awarded by Grant County to the Prairie Ridge Healthcare (PRH) Ambulance Services, their team will be able to offer faster responses to area residents utilizing a new “Quick Response Vehicle.”
Ambulance services across the nation utilize these vehicles as a supplement to their ambulance service to get a paramedic on scene to give the best patient care possible as quickly as possible. The closest hospital can be 20-30 minutes away at times and having what is referred to as an “intercept” by a paramedic can benefit patients by giving them lifesaving interventions and treatments that can only be done by paramedics.
“This vehicle will be available in response to 911 calls across Grant County in addition to the Elbow Lake calls. It will allow a paramedic to quickly and safely get to the scene to assist other ambulance services like Ashby and Hoffman with higher level medical interventions while still keeping the Elbow Lake Ambulance available for other calls,” according to PRH Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Manager Aric Risbrudt.
The quick response truck will make assistance for potential COVID patients in the rural areas safer for responders and more timely for patients. It will be stocked with the proper equipment to enable the paramedic to be the first on scene for all positive and potential COVID-19 calls, responding to the need while waiting for EMS services to arrive. When dispatch sends out a call that potentially involves COVID, the EMS staff meet at the garage and get into their safety gear, which takes time. Prior to the pandemic, first responders would assist the patient until EMS arrived. However, when the potential for COVID is present, not all first responders are equipped to respond safely. The quick response truck will carry isolation gear, including a Power Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR), so the paramedic can safely get to the patient and help them while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Risbrudt said law enforcement and Grant County emergency management supported the idea of a quick response vehicle knowing that getting a paramedic to the scene quickly and safely enhances the level of patient care in our rural area. With their support, Grant County Commissioners allocated some of the county’s CARES Act funding toward the project to help make it happen.
Other benefits of the vehicle include the ability to use it to respond to fire assist calls since fire gear will also be kept in the vehicle, and to assist law enforcement calls for “standbys.” These are situations such as a high-risk warrant where there is potential for injury to either party involved. By using the quick response truck instead of the ambulance for standby requests, the ambulance is kept in service for 911 calls. It will also be utilized for community outreach education, such as CPR class and first responder class, allowing the paramedic teaching to still be able to respond to calls during this time.
“The addition of this quick response truck to our EMS services is truly going to save lives and improve emergency response throughout Grant County,” said PRH CEO Danielle Lesmeister. “I want to thank Aric and the other PRH leaders who worked on this grant request, as well as the Grant County Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and EMS and fire entities throughout Grant County for their support on this project and their partnership serving the emergency response needs of our communities,” she added.
About the Lake Region Healthcare Enterprise
The Lake Region Healthcare enterprise is comprised of Lake Region Healthcare, an independent community-governed non-profit headquartered in Fergus Falls, the Mill Street Residence Assisted Living Facility in Fergus Falls, and the non-profit critical access hospital, Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services headquartered in Elbow Lake. With over 100 medical staff and over 1,000 employees, we are dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of our communities with values of Excellence, Person-Centered, Collaboration, Stewardship, Integrity, Respect and Innovation. Together we bring specialty and sub-specialty services to patients at hospital locations in Fergus Falls and Elbow Lake and at clinics in Ashby, Barnesville, Battle Lake, Evansville, Herman, Hoffman, and Morris, MN. For more information visit: www.lrhc.org, www.prairiehealth.org or www.millstreet.lrhc.org.
Attached Photos: The Quick Response Vehicle is equipped with special lights for safety while driving to and responding at the scene of an emergency.