LANESBORO, Minn. - In recent years, Lanesboro Ambulance Service's numbers have dropped from 20 to 13 (11 EMTs and 3 first responders). Soon, two of those people will be moving out of the service area.
Ambulance service director Deane Benson will be holding a town hall in January on the matter. He says its critical for Lanesboro to maintain the emergency medical technicians they have now as well as gain more volunteers.
If Lanesboro can find 5-7 people willing to take the 160 hour EMT course, an instructor may be able to come to Lanesboro to certify the volunteers. Benson expects it takes about a year for a newly trained EMT to be confident responding to calls.
"It's a good community service. It's rewarding, but it is a time commitment," says Benson.
If the service can't keep enough EMTs, it may have to move to a first responder model, which would limit what kind of care can be given in the ambulance. Benson expects they would carry a trauma bag containing tools such as bandages and tourniquets, a defribulator, and oxygen.
Without an ambulance service, Lanesboro would have to depend on surrounding towns' ambulances, which would increase call times. Lanesboro Ambulance Service responds to roughly 100 calls each year.
"I also feel too if the citizens know there's not an ambulance service, people will be more apt to maybe putting their loved one in a vehicle and trying to race to get them to a hospital to get them there," Benson explains not having an ambulance service is a cause for concern.
People interested in serving the community as an EMT or first responder can get in contact with the City of Lanesboro at 507-467-3722 or email Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I would wonder why we wouldn't be able to get at least 1 or 2 that would want to step up," says Benson. "If you're living here and you're able to do something, maybe try being an EMT or even a first responder."