Ambulance looks to upgrade equipment

Daily Inter Lake | January 6, 2021 1:00 AM

Those who help people when they need it the most are in need of a little help themselves this holiday season as Three Rivers EMS in Columbia Falls is searching for funding to replace aging Zoll E-Series ambulance cardiac monitors.

A nonprofit ambulance service, Three Rivers EMS provides advanced life-support care to a large rural area including Columbia Falls, Hungry Horse, Martin City, Coram, West Glacier, Glacier National Park, Essex, and responds to mutual aid requests in Evergreen and

Whitefish. The second-largest ambulance service in the Flathead Valley, Three Rivers EMS responds to an average of 1,400 calls a year.

While the number of calls in 2020 has been average, many of the calls have been COVID-19 related, meaning that use of a cardiac monitor is essential. The problem being faced by the ambulance service is that their current monitors will no longer be certified for use or serviced by their manufacturer as of February, meaning the units in two of its three ambulances must be replaced.

With a cost of $18,000 for a new unit or $32,000 for a new one, finding the funding for the much-needed equipment has not been easy.

With the help of a $15,000 Major Community Project Grant from the Whitefish Community Foundation earlier this month and an $8,000 Round-Up for Safety grant, Three Rivers EMS has been able to purchase one refurbished cardiac monitor from Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s A.L.E.R.T. Air Ambulance, but funding is still needed for units for the remaining two ambulances..

Individuals and businesses interested in learning more should contact Archer-Westgard at (406) 892-4244 for information.