July 18, 2018 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Ambulance fundraiser gets urgent
  The new Prairie Ridge ambulance sports a distinctive gray color scheme.

Sometimes even an ambulance can get in a fatal accident. This past January, an ambulance from Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services, Elbow Lake, was returning from Alexandria after transporting a patient, when it hit a deer and was totaled.

Prairie Ridge had just started a fundraising campaign to purchase a much-needed new ambulance. Prairie Ridge had two ambulances in service: a 1996 model that was scheduled to be retired when the new one arrived; and, a 2001 model, which would have served as the primary back up... until it hit the deer!

Fortunately, Prairie Ridge was able to borrow an ambulance from Premier Specialty Vehicles of Fergus Falls, the company that was building the new ambulance. But that ambulance could only be borrowed for a short time.

“The accident forced us to move up the date we were scheduled to get the new ambulance,” said Aric Risbrudt, Ambulance Manager for Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services.

The new $185,000 ambulance was delivered this summer, but Prairie Ridge is still around $25,000 short of funds needed to pay for it.

“We have a donor who is willing to match donations up to $75,000 but we currently need around $25,000 yet to match that gift.” said Missy Amundson, Executive Assistant at Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services.

“We have received donations of all sizes and every donation, no matter the amount, helps us get closer to our goal” she said, adding “we have really enjoyed receiving notes from donors telling us how our ambulance service and its staff has had a positive impact in their lives.”

Risbrudt said the service makes around 200 trips a year, either responding to a medical emergency, or transferring a patient from Prairie Ridge to another medical facility. The service relies on between 20 and 25 volunteers and, with the new ambulance, their job is much faster, easier and safer.

The new ambulance features a new, self-loading cot system that will lift up to 700 pounds. This will help staff, decrease back injuries, and allow for smaller crews to go out on calls.

The ambulance also features an air-ride suspension for patient comfort.

The new ambulance has safety harnesses for EMTs and paramedics who are working on a patient during a transfer, allowing them to move freely, yet keep them secure.

A GPS system accurately navigates the crew to any address that dispatch gives them, and once on site, LED lights brightly illuminate the scene.

Risbrudt said the new PRHHS ambulance will be in several of the local parades this summer, so look for it with its distinctive grey coloring that sets it apart.

Interim Assistant Administrator Jim Gingerich stated “In an emergency situation fast response is crucial, and having this service available locally is a huge benefit to this community, it saves lives.”

You can donate using the ad in this paper or contact Missy Amundson directly at 218-685-7327, or email her at mamundson@prairiehealth.org

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