The EPHC Foundation board of directors reported that it is making raising funds for an ambulance remount (replacing the chassis while keeping the existing body) for one of the hospital’s ambulances a top priority. This is a $228,000 project that, according to Amy Burkhart, EPHC paramedic and emergency medical services manager, directly benefits the health, welfare, and safety of the community.
Why? Burkhart explained: Because the area is drawing more people to it, EPHC’s ambulance department is experiencing a higher volume of calls. This time last year, there were an average of 96 calls per month. This year calls are averaging 110 per month. In all, 2023 will see the department taking about 1,300 calls.
When someone calls 911, first responders are going to come from Eastern Plumas Health Care Ambulance if the call originates in its large coverage area that stretches east to west from Scott Road almost to Hallelujah Junction to Lee Summit toward Quincy, and north to south almost to the Walker Mine area above Lake Davis, up to the Doyle intersection at Frenchman Lake, and south to Little Truckee Summit, halfway to Truckee.
Two EPHC ambulances are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One ambulance is stationed out of the hospital in Portola and the other is stationed out of the skilled nursing facility in Loyalton; together those two geographical locations make almost a perfect circle around the coverage area. EPHC also has mutual aid agreements with ground ambulance services in Quincy, Susanville, Reno, and Truckee, which means that they will help out EPHC Ambulance if needed and vice versa.
Increased call volume means more wear and tear on the four ambulances in EPHC’s fleet, which go such long distances and cover such a large area. Burkhart explained that each year more than 50,000 miles are put on EPHC’s ambulances, “all miles dedicated to the community.” Plus, winter weather and rough terrain add wear and tear. And in addition to outgoing calls, EPHC’s ambulance team often brings patients back home from stays in higher-level facilities in Reno and Truckee.
Donations to support the maintenance and expansion of EPHC ambulance services can be made at https://www.ephc.org/foundation.php.
Information submitted by Eastern Plumas Health Care Foundation