Turners backup ambulance on the road

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Fire Fighter Michael Currie with the new ambulance at the Turners Falls Fire Department.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Fire Fighter Michael Currie with the new ambulance at the Turners Falls Fire Department.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Fire Fighter Michael Currie with the new ambulance at the Turners Falls Fire Department.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Fire Fighter Michael Currie with the new ambulance at the Turners Falls Fire Department.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Fire Fighter Michael Currie with the new ambulance at the Turners Falls Fire Department.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Fire Fighter Michael Currie with the new ambulance at the Turners Falls Fire Department.

TURNERS FALLS — The Turners Falls Fire Department now has an ambulance that will allow it to provide medical emergency backup in the absence of the regular Baystate Health Ambulance.

Residents last year authorized the fire district to purchase an ambulance and operate a backup service, and the new vehicle is on the road. It’s a a 2001 Ford E450.

Capt. Leon Ambo said the ambulance went into service July 1.

“We’re within budget and have it staffed,” Ambo said this week. “I believe it actually did three runs this (past) weekend. It’s going to be busier than we thought, I think.”

Turners Falls Fire District residents twice approved the plan, endorsing the concept with a special vote in February and approving $24,270 for operation of the service at the annual district meeting in April, a figure the district accountant said is expected to be reimbursed through insurance billing.

While the fire department already goes as first responder to medical emergencies, it has until now done so without an ambulance and therefore did not have the ability or permission to transport patients.

With the new vehicle, the department’s EMTs may transport a patient to the hospital if the primary responder, Baystate Health Ambulance, is tied up elsewhere.

Capt. John Zellmann said the ambulance will eventually be worked into the mutual aid framework to respond to other towns as other towns respond to Montague, but the ambulance in not yet in the plan. Operating within its current coverage area, the ambulance has transported patients from three calls as well as transporting firefighters to the medical calls to which they always respond.

The ambulance is staffed with the department’s firefighters already licensed as emergency medical technicians, and the department is now licensed to operate an EMT-level ambulance service. Baystate’s service is licensed at the higher paramedic level, but the Turners Falls ambulance will transport only when they are not available.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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