Volume 123, Number
Leeds Ambulance Service keeps going despite problems
Editor’s note: The following article appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the North Dakota Emergency Medical Services Assn. publication Response Time.
BY TAMMY URNESS
In March, 1965, a group of concerned citizens decided that an ambulance service in Leeds would be a great asset to our community. Prior to this time, the nearest ambulance service was 30 miles away.
The Johnson Funeral Home of Leeds donated a 1952 Pontiac hearse to be used as an ambulance, along with a cot. After much revamping by the Leeds Fire Department and Larry Nelsen’s body shop, the ambulance was ready. The only thing lacking was trained personnel. A Red Cross training program was given to the Leeds Fire Department and 15 trained care providers began volunteering their services.
April 1, 1965 was the date the service started operation. Memberships were set at $5 per year, which entitled a member and his or her family free service for a distance of 40 miles. The first year 239 members joined and 36 trips were made.
The Leeds Ambulance Service has now been in service to the city of Leeds and the surrounding community for more than 40 years. Twenty-one volunteers comprise the Leeds Ambulance Service, which operates out of the Leeds Fire Hall. Of these 21 members, the service has one EMT-Paramedic, three EMT-I’s, 11 EMT-B’s and one ECT.
We also have the services of four nurses, three of which are EMT-B certified. Three of our volunteers are instructor/coordinators and are also certified AHA CPR/first aid instructors.
We are a BLS (basic life support) ambulance service with ALS (advanced life support) capabilities. We are fortunate to have the services of two ALS services on which we can call for intercepts. One is the Golden Heart Paramedics located 30 miles to the west in Rugby.
The other service, Lake Region Ambulance Service, is located 30 miles to the east in Devils Lake.
The area serviced by the Leeds Ambulance Service is approximately 780 square miles and includes several communities around Leeds. The ambulance service is one of the best trained and equipped in the state for its size. We are a privately funded service organization relying on $30 yearly memberships from area residents.
Housed in the fire hall are two fully equipped and stocked ambulances, one of which is a 1999 model. Our backup ambulance is a 1985 Ford. All EMT’s are equipped with pagers and fully stocked jump kits (containing first aid equipment and supplies) for faster response time. Many of the EMT’s are also certified in extrication and EVOC. Members of the fire department also help prepare them for most any situation.
The members meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the fire hall for classes and training sessions. Our primary goal is to provide the best patient care possible. Our monthly training is on a variety of topics which we try to tie in with the seasons: winter training has to do with hypothermia and winter-related trauma. Summer training focuses on hypothermia and water-related accidents and in the spring-summer our goal is to train on agricultural-related accidents, such an amputation/partial amputation, etc. We also attend regional conferences, the spring conferences, yearly refreshers and CPR refreshers.
The ambulance service, together with the school, has implemented a high school EMT class. Upon completion of this training, students have the requirements for state EMT testing and certification. The ambulance service also provides the opportunity for students to take the required testing in Bismarck.
The Leeds Ambulance Service also gives back to the community in many areas by providing CPR training, CPR/first aid for daycares, firefighters, babysitters and the pool staffs in and around the community. We also provide continuing education for our volunteers and free blood pressure checks as well as organizing the local blood drive biannually. We have a defibrillator placed in the high school with plans to provide defibrillators for the Leeds Community Center and the city’s churches.
We realize that many communities are having a very difficult time keeping their ambulance services going due to lack of people wanting and/or having the time to volunteer. Volunteers of the Leeds Ambulance Service have made the personal dedication to keep our service going. We are a family. Some of you may ask just how have we done that? First and foremost, you have to want it! How would you feel if you needed an ambulance for your loved ones and the closest available unit was 30 minutes away? All our volunteers have outside employment. Some are farmers, teachers, daycare providers, students and such. Most work outside of the city limits. However, we have the will to keep our service going. We put in many hours volunteering.
Everyone takes responsibility to see that things get done. There is more to being an EMT than just going on calls. Supplies need to be ordered and stocked as well as keeping track of inventory, maintenance on the ambulance is a must, paperwork has to be done, reports have to be filed and continuing education must be a priority as well as practicing scenarios to keep us well trained in any situation.
We take pride in our service and want to be there for our community in times of need. After all, the day will come when we are the ones who are calling 911 for assistance. As for now, we will respond to every call and provide the best treatment we can. We in return, hope and pray that others will feel as we do and want to be part of our EMS family.
Members of the Leeds Ambulance Service are pictured in this photo. Kneeling in front is Jana Darling. Left to right, front row, are Cindy Smith, Elizabeth McCarty, Whitney Streyle, Jodi Gullickson, Tami Nelsen and Tammy Urness. Back row: Lori Nelsen, Paul Peterson, Rio Himle and Bryce Zeitz. Not pictured are DeShawn Tofsrud, Ashley McCarty, Lauree Wangler, Kyle Nelsen and Doug Dulmage. The Leeds Ambulance Service has been in operation since 1965.
Maddock native wins Miss NDSU contest
Kayla Swanson, daughter of David and Denise Swanson of Maddock, granddaughter of Jim and Norma Swanson of Fargo, formerly of Maddock, and great-granddaughter of Norma Swanson of Maddock, recently was crowned Miss NDSU.
Swanson is senior at NDSU majoring in agriculture education with minors in general agriculture and agribusiness.
On November 1 she competed in the Miss NDSU Contest at NDSU. Her sponsoring organization was the Bison Ambassadors.
Miss NDSU is an annual pageant that raises money for the Nokomis Child Center. The contest features an application process in which the top 20 women among the applicants are selected. They then must plan out a skit and lip sync and take part in a formal wear competition. After the formal wear competition, eight finalists are selected and must answer an impromptu question. From there, four finalists are chosen and additional questions are asked.
Four judges selected Miss Swanson as the winner. She was crowned with a toupee in place of a crown. She will receive a $250 scholarship, a crown and a sash.
Landmark barn ready to fall
The landmark Vanderlin barn adjacent to ND 19 about four miles west of the city of Devils Lake is on its last legs. Due to its twisting, the windows have popped out and shingles are dropping out. The next strong wind will probably send it crashing to the ground.
Three scary witches terrorized the Maddock area Halloween night. They managed to escape before being arrested. Anyone who can put names to these three may contact Sheriff Ned Mitzel at Maddock Cafe & Lanes. It is believed the witches are sisters.
Earn music honors
Third through sixth grade music students of the first quarter at Leeds are, left to right, Meagan Jorgenson, Nikara Nelsen, Julissa McGarvey and Alyssa Anderson.
Band students of the first quarter are Millie Herman, McKenzie Silliman and Shelby Jorgenson.