Need for a new am­bu­lance also iden­ti­fied

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - News -

Although the Ramea Fire Depart­ment is fo­cused on fundrais­ing pri­mar­ily for its new pumper truck, a smaller emer­gency ve­hi­cle is also a ne­ces­sity. Ramea has a small med­i­cal clinic staffed by a nurse-prac­ti­tioner, but the only other emer­gency re­sponse per­son­nel on the is­land are the fire­fight­ers.

There is no proper am­bu­lance ser­vice per se, and the RCMP are sta­tioned in Bur­geo. Tra­di­tion­ally the fire depart­ment has al­ways pro­vided trans­port ser­vice for med­i­cal emer­gen­cies, although Gan­der will dis­patch a heli­copter should the sit­u­a­tion war­rant. How­ever, as with most re­mote coastal com­mu­ni­ties, a heli­copter trans­port is very much weather de­pen­dent.

In order to trans­port pa­tients to and from the clinic, or to the ferry to Bur­geo, the fire depart­ment uses a small emer­gency ve­hi­cle in lieu of an am­bu­lance. Their cur­rent ve­hi­cle is 31 years old and in even worse shape than the fire truck.

“We can’t send it for in­spec­tion,” says Fire Chief Paul Green. “She won’t come back.”

The am­bu­lance is no less im­por­tant to Ramea than the fire truck. There are li­a­bil­ity is­sues when it comes to trans­port­ing pa­tients via a per­sonal ve­hi­cle.

For the past two years Green has been mak­ing calls to provin­cial am­bu­lance com­pa­nies to see if Ramea can get a deal on a re­place­ment ve­hi­cle. But even used emer­gency ve­hi­cles are ex­pen­sive and hard to find, and there are other con­straints be­yond the fi­nan­cial to con­sider. “They had am­bu­lances avail­able, but they would have been a cube van and that’s no good for us be­cause we can’t get it in our truck bay,” said Green. “So we need one of those van types or smaller box ones.”

The depart­ment has even toyed with the idea of buy­ing an old cargo van and con­vert­ing it. For now, Green will keep reach­ing out to see if an af­ford­able, re­li­able re­place­ment can be found, while the Rock Is­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val keeps on fundrais­ing.

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