Imagine living in an area where the closest ambulance service is 40 minutes away. That’s what the people of Esmond and the surrounding areas were dealing with for a few years. Now, thanks to volunteers, they have a Quick Response Unit.
“So a lot of us are EMR’s, Emergency Medical Responders, we do the very basic care so we do all the blood pressures, the pulse rate, respiration rate do all that basic care,” Jayla Smith, QRU Board President, said. “And then if they need first aid we can do all the very, very basic first aid. We can load and lift them with the ambulance that comes onto scene into the other ambulance and then we kind of just leave the scene from there.”
The unit has 10 volunteers that are stationed all across their coverage area, which is as far as 30 miles away. EMR Bethann Gale says they provide services until an ambulance arrives on scene.
“We are able to have sort of a triage area set up, mobile first-aid station,” Gale said. “We use our quick response unit on wheels as our mobile first-aid station so if we are able to stabilize the patient in the AC or in the heat during inclement weather rain we can do so while we are waiting for additional ALS or any other EMS providers to provide the transportation.”
In a rural area, having a service like this is vital to saving lives.
“Very, very important. Luckily we have an ambulance service over in Maddock so that’s about 15 miles away but within those 15 minutes it can seem like an hour if you’re really critically injured,” Smith said.
Similar to other volunteer first-response teams, QRU volunteers drop whatever they are doing when the call comes in.
“We get a call, we can be at home, I was at a wedding once and I left the wedding to come to a call,” Smith said. “We’re not just stationed at the bay the whole time, we can go about our daily lives until we get a call, and then we kind of drop everything and go.”
“I could be gardening, I could be playing with my kids and a call will come in. First thing I do is obviously make sure the kids are OK,” Gale said.
The quick response unit receives their calls either through pager, phone call or text message with a description.