Killdeer Area Ambulance gets bigger station
Killdeer Area Ambulance paramedics and volunteers this month will finally see the silver lining of dramatic increases in calls for service.
With county and oil impact money, it’ll move into a new station that’s big enough to accommodate them as they respond to calls that have jumped from about 50 annually six years ago to more than 300 in 2013.
On a tour in late January, the new station was buzzing with activity, from workers installing floors and working on plumbing in the bathrooms. The building gets ample natural light and has a porch off the side facing Central Avenue. The garage has four ambulance bays -- three for the ambulances and a fourth for washing them.
Right now, a tiny bit further south on Central Avenue -- what Highway 22 is called as it passes through the town -- paramedics and volunteers are “on top of each other” with no room for storage at the old station, said paramedic manager Ann Hafner.
“We’ve gotten too busy for the space we have,” she said.
So she and others are excited to move into the new station in early February.
“It’s really exciting to have, you know, room so we can spread out for training,” said Tracey Dolezal, auditor for Dunn County and a volunteer for the KAA since 1992.
“And I think that probably one of the most important things … is when we have medics or EMTs or anyone that’s on call, we’ll have a sleeping room, we’ve got a kitchen there or bathroom or shower.”
Ambulance drivers will also have an easier, safer time pulling out of the garage. At the old station, they had to pull right onto Highway 22, busy with truck traffic. Now, they’ll be able to pull on High Street before pulling onto the main highway.
“We’re not pulling out onto Highway 22, which can be dangerous with all the traffic going through town and the trucks … when the page goes off and you’re adrenaline’s going,” Dolezal said.
Dunn County Commissioner Reinhard Hauck, who also served on the squad from 1987 to 2007, said increasing EMT and paramedic training requirements also require more space and people.
“There wasn't space to do that anymore,” he said.
KAA employees brought up that, and how the new ambulance doesn’t fit in the old garage -- they have had to resort to parking their shiny new ambulance in a outdoor parking lot adjacent to the station -- when they asked the Dunn County Commission for $300,000 toward the station.
“The fact of the matter was the new rig wouldn’t fit into the old facility so that was the first problem we have,” Hauck said.
The station has had two houses put up for permanent employees to stay, but the sleeping rooms in the new station are better for temporary employees.
The station also needed places to stay for “locums,” or people who visit for weekends and day shifts from outside the area to help staff up.
The rest of the funds came from about $480,000 in energy impact grants from the state, and $5,000 from a private donor.
The architect, Dickinson-based Hulsing and Associates, designed the building to fit in with Killdeer’s western style, Hafner said.
“It’s a very modern, nice-looking building that, you know, kind of blends with the landscape up there,” Hauck said. “It will go well with the western atmosphere and it’s a nice-looking building that the area should be proud of.”