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Crisis Response Team assembled to acquire new ambulance

Kitty Gallman addressed the crowd at the Friona Chamber of Commerce banquet on Tuesday evening to bring to their attention a critical need for the community.

“Three weeks ago, on February 20, our Friona ambulance was involved in a wreck while transporting a patient from Friona to Amarillo,” Gallman stated. “That has left our EMS service in what you might call ‘critical condition’.”

Gallman went on to explain that Friona is certified as a 9-1-1 service and one ambulance must remain in town at all times. Parmer Medical Center needs ambulance service on a daily basis for transporting to larger hospitals those patients who need specialized care. Almost every day the ambulance is continually transporting patients. Some patients have had to be airlifted due to the lack of ambulance service.

Repairs on the wrecked ambulance have been bogged down due to delays.

At this time Muleshoe EMS has loaned Friona EMS an ambulance to ease some of the burden but this is not a permanent arrangement.

A Crisis Response Team has been assembled to address this issue. Members of the team are Sharon White, EMS Director Jeannie Martin, Friona Mayor Rick White, Skip Hodges, Kathryn Goddard, and Gallman.

Their purpose is to determine the availability of funding for the purchase of a new ambulance. They will be researching possibilities for grants and may request monetary donations from the community.

At present, the ambulance in service is a 2008 model and the wrecked ambulance is a 2009 model. A new ambulance will cost approximately $175,000.

Gallman explained that PMC is a Critical Access Hospital. The staff is trained and certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support as well an Advanced Trauma Life Support. This makes PMC a hub of activity for medical care that requires an ambulance for transport, which has tripled in the last three years.

According to a PMC spokesperson, “The EMS is a vital link in the chain of care for our county. In a small rural area, it can be a challenge to have access to an ambulance to transfer patients to a higher level of care because on many occasions what is available is already in use. We are thankful for those who work with EMS and know they would greatly benefit, as would we, from having an additional ambulance in service to provide for the needs in our community.”

“To have three ambulances available is not an extravagance,” stated Gallman. “On most days, it would be a necessity.”

The goals of the Crisis Response Team are to make the community aware of the critical situation our EMS services are experiencing.

“We are asking the community to come together. We know the generosity of this community is beyond compare,” said Gallman. “I am confident and proud and grateful to be a part of a community that we can count on to help us make a new ambulance for Friona a reality instead of a dream.”