But with that also comes struggles. Like getting enough funding to stay open and keeping volunteers to run it.
No matter who you are or where you live at any time, you could need the life-saving capabilities of an ambulance team. And for New Salem’s ambulance service, they cover 420 square miles.
“We go south of New Salem, where when the roads are good, it can be a 30-35 minute road trip,” said EMT Debbie Anderson.
But they make it work. There are 28 volunteers on the squad taking shifts in-between their normal full time jobs. And on top of that – the organization has to worry about where the money comes from.
Preside Marc Guenther said, “We’ve done fairly well the last few years, but the grant part comes and goes. And that is getting harder to get funding.”
The squad is considering putting forth a mill levy to become a tax-based entity. No decisions have been made, but they’ll keep going regardless.
“Without having the small, rural ambulance squads, you’d be getting longer response times and it could potentially put people’s lives in danger,” said squad leader Jon Engelstad.
New Salem only has two rigs available – so in the instance that there’s more calls than they can handle other agencies step up. They all work together to make sure everyone gets the care they need.
Engelstad added, “It’s a refreshing feeling. Without that, we probably wouldn’t be here.”
The local community also steps up and holds donation events.
“We’re very well supported, I feel, as a community,” said Guenther.
Employers will also work with the volunteers to make sure they can get to a call if needed. Each year, New Salem Ambulance carries out around 150 calls in their community.