In September of 2017, PMC Paramedic Ria French received a call at home from Manager of PMC Ambulance Services, Ruth Erickson. The call turned emotional when Ruth let Ria know the news that Pondera County Ambulance’s grant to the Montana Department of Transportation had been approved and Ponder County Ambulance Services was being awarded over $200,000 for a new Type I, AD Ambulance, Stryker Power Load System and Power Cot and Graphics Package. This news came after Ria had attended a course on formal grant writing and worked extensively with her boss and crew members to collect all the necessary statistics and information. The grant writing process began in January of 2017.
The entire crew has since worked very hard to transition ambulances and to update the storing facility where the ambulance will be parked. Heidi Fowler, a full-time EMT-FR with Pondera Medical Center, has been instrumental in organizing and implementing the new truck into use. On October 18th of this year, Pondera County Ambulance Services marked their new ambulance as officially “in service.”
The highly competitive DOT grant provided 90% of the funding, with a request for a 10% match from Pondera County. The outstanding County Commissioners were able to match the funding request and also provide funding for a refurbished LifePak 12 ECG monitor/defibrillator. This device assists to speed the relay of life saving information and expedites the diagnoses and specific care needed for the patient. That data is transmitted to a cardiologist in Great Falls. This is essential to cardiac patient care, where each moment is critical.
The new truck comes with upgraded features that promote both patient and crew safety. The state-of-the-art Stryker Power Load system and Power Cot allows for much safer loading for the patient, as well as significantly reducing the risk of back injury associated with ambulance crew members loading patients into the ambulances. Pondera County does much of the transferring for surrounding counties such as Toole and Glacier when they are unable to meet the demand; and the new ambulance will be instrumental for transfers and well as providing crucial services. The 4-wheel-drive is a necessity to provide emergency services in winter conditions. Patients have already commented on the smoothness of transports in the new ambulance.
Pondera Medical Center feels so fortunate to have been recognized and awarded so generously with this grant. This is the second Department of Transportation grant that Pondera County has been awarded since 2015. Being awarded the ambulance and equipment necessary to perform lifesaving procedures and treatment for the patients we serve in the community is invaluable to Pondera County and the surrounding areas.
We invite all community members to come tour the new Ambulance on December 7th at the Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Stroll. We would like to thank the Department of Transportation and the Pondera County Commissioners and the area communities for their support.