The St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Department has a new addition.
Fire Chief Josh Reese recently announced that the station will be home to a Carle Arrow Ambulance starting on Nov. 6.
“We had looked into getting an ambulance here when we originally built the new station but that didn’t work out,” Reese said. “We’re always looking to better how we serve our community.”
The ambulance being housed in St. Joseph means the response time will be 15 minutes quicker with paramedic-level care and there will be no increase in taxes for this service.
Getting an ambulance in St. Joseph was a group effort with the Homer and Sidney Fire Protection Districts. Reese and Homer and Sidney Fire Chief Don Happ worked together to create a coalition of fire districts that would have enough call volume to justify an ambulance being permanently stationed in the area.
The ambulance stationed in St. Joseph will respond to calls in St. Joseph-Stanton, Homer, Sidney, Ogden, Royal, Broadlands, and Allerton Fire Districts. An SUV with an Arrow paramedic that responds to calls in that area before the ambulance arrives or if the ambulance is already on another call will be stationed in Homer.
Under the agreement, Arrow pays for the staffing, vehicles, and all furniture and computer equipment needed.
St. Joseph-Stanton and Homer are responsible for having proper housing including a kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a day room for the staff 24 hours a day.
For St. Joseph that meant adding sleeping quarters for the staff in the upstairs part of the station.
“We added living quarters to the upstairs of our station staying within our yearly budget , which means no added taxes for this service,” Reese said. “We built the station with the thought of having living quarters upstairs someday not thinking it would be this soon but this opportunity came along so we seized it.”
Reese said having an ambulance in St. Joseph is a positive for the community and the department.
“Having the ambulance here and SUV in Homer gives a faster response time to the entire southeast part of the county,” he said.
Reese said another plus is that paramedics on the ambulance and SUV can give more drugs to help in different situations than EMTs can give. The district’s EMS units will still be responding like they do currently to assist the ambulance.
“In the field, we can care for patients and give meds and stuff like that but sometimes patients just need to get to the hospital quickly to be treated there and this will be 15 minutes faster than before, and that could be the matter of life or death in cases such as a stroke or heart attack,” Reese said.
The ambulance will be staffed by one paramedic and one EMT-B and the SUV will be staffed by a paramedic. Three of the staff already live in St. Joseph and two of them are already members of the fire protection district, Reese said.