City of Gaylord Contracts with Ridgeview to Expand Ambulance Services

The City of Gaylord recently entered into a contract with Ridgeview Medical Center to bring expanded emergency medical services (EMS) to the community. Beginning Sept. 14, a Ridgeview paramedic will be stationed at the Gaylord EMS facility 12 hours a day, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This individual will manage the administrative functions of the ambulance service and provide Advanced Life Support mutual aid to Gaylord Ambulance on emergency calls. The paramedic will respond in a separate “chase” vehicle when they are on site, complete an assessment of the patient and ride along in the ambulance when needed.

According to Mark Brandt, interim president of the Gaylord Ambulance Service, “We have been discussing the need for additional support for a few years. During those discussions our emphasis has been to continue providing our community with the professional emergency care they rely on now. Not unlike other communities our size, our ambulance is completely staffed by volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and first responders. When calls come in during the day, it can be challenging to respond quickly because our volunteers hold regular jobs, as well.”

The Gaylord Ambulance Service received 325 emergency response calls last year and, according to Brandt, “The largest share is between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. That’s why we decided to bring in a paramedic during these hours on most days.”

With the addition of a paramedic on call three days a week, the level of care, depending on the call, may be upgraded from Basic Life Support (BLS) to Advanced Life Support (ALS) during these times. “A paramedic has more advanced training than an EMT,” explained Darel Radde, director of Ambulance Services, Ridgeview Medical Center. “Paramedics are in constant contact with an emergency department physician during transport to the hospital, consulting about the condition of the patient, starting IVs and administering medications.”

Ridgeview Ambulance supports a total coverage area of nearly 800 square miles in a five-county service area and responds to 12,000 calls each year. It is staffed by 65 paramedics and 35 EMTs.

Even with the addition of a paramedic, there is still an ongoing needed for additional EMTs in the Gaylord community. “We appreciate the dedication of our team of 14 volunteers, but we are always looking for a few more to help us staff the ambulance 24/7,” said Brandt.

If you would like to learn more about joining this group, contact Gaylord City Hall at 507-237-2338 or email the Gaylord Ambulance Service at gaylordambulance@gmail.com.