Squad hopes new ambulance allows for expansion of service
Since 1975, when you needed help the Falls City Ambulance Squad has been quick to respond.
Now the Squad is asking for your help so it can, in turn, enhance its help to you. The Squad has launched the campaign for a new $135,000 ambulance, with plans to expand its service to include three-fourths of Richardson County – from Highway 75 to the Missouri River and from the Nemaha-Richardson County line to the Brown County, KS, Stateline. Plus adding long distance transport service.
The campaign also hopes to add squad volunteers. In this writers opinion it is the pinnacle of community service.
The Squad has applied for a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. It is hoped that fundraising efforts by local organizations will ensue, as well as donations from the public.
The Squad is self-sufficient financially, NO TAX DOLLARS ARE INVOLVED.
Mayor Jerry Oliver noted, “The city’s only involvement is providing the facility for the Ambulance Squad.”
The Ambulance building is at the south end of the former City Hall at 1800 Towle Street.
Volunteering for the Ambulance Squad certainly isn’t a money-making proposition. Emergency Management Technicians are paid $3 per hour and drivers, $1.50 per hour. The average Ambulance run costs $600 and many health insurance companies and Medicare cover it. The money is used for Ambulance maintaning and upgrading equipment, plus fuel and stipend for EMT’s and drivers. The majority of EMT’s have from 10-20 years of experience on the Squad; Jim Gerweck has 42 years of service.
The Squad includes eight EMT’s. Becoming a certified EMT requires 150 hours of classroom training and the certificate has to be renewed every two years with 20 hours of classroom training.
In 2016, the Squad made more than 300 runs. So far in 2017, it has already made 109 runs with its three ambulances. In one instance this year, all three ambulances were in service at the same time, on the same day.
The Squad also provides stand-by service at Irish and Tiger football games at Jug Brown stadium, at the Jaycees Tractor Pull and Demo Derby at structural fires and at various other times.
When the Squad cooperation was formed, Attorney Peter Beekman was president and provided excellent devotion and direction to the Squad. City Clerk Gary Jorn is the current president and Amy Olberding is the vice president.
The Squad was formed 42 years ago after the two funeral homes gave up providing ambulance service. Two individuals, Subby Lombardo and Buddy Simmonds, gave it separate tries then threw in the towel because it was unsuccessful financially and it was too time consuming.
Donations from the public may be made to Gary Jorn at City Hall.
Persons interested in becoming members of the Squad are also referred to Jorn at City Hall.