Remsen EMS unveils new look

Thursday, May 19, 2022
Showing off the new Remsen ambulance are crew members and EMTs Greg Arens and Talon Penning. The ambulance volunteers came up with the graphics design to highlight the ambulance service.
(Photo by Beverly Van Buskirk)

REMSEN — The new ambulance, delivered in April, is out on the out job for Remsen EMS.

The ambulance stands out with its new decals and wrap.

According to EMT Abby Phillips, the ambulance’s new decals and wrap were done by Wicked Graphics in Le Mars.

More photos of the new ambulance at different side and back views.
(Photos contributed)

"We came up with the design and the colors and they put it all together," she said.

Director Kevin Rollins said the new ambulance was definitely a needed purchase.

"We try to rotate each of the two ambulances out every 10 years, and the old one was up for replacement," he said. "It brought everything up to speed where we should be as far the updates. It was pretty crucial that we get it into service."

Talon Penning is an EMT with the service since 2011, and currently serves as the service’s president.

"We've been fund raising for about three years," Penning said. "The community has really stepped behind us. It's a big undertaking for a small community."

Rollins said the new ambulance is a bit more user-friendly for the customer.

"It gives the patient a lot more comfortable ride. It's an air ride system, they call it Liquid Ride, so the ride for the patient is a lot smoother," he said.

The ambulance also features more outside cabinet room for equipment as well.

"It's a little more user-friendly for the EMTs as far as where things are located on the inside," Rollins continued. "We updated space for our IV solutions and we have a warmer in there now so we can keep the solutions nice and warm, which comes in pretty handy in the wintertime."

In what is referred to as the action area, Rollins said they will be moving the cardiac monitor to where it will be more readily accessible for the medics to use.

Penning added with the cardiac monitor, they will be able to transmit a patient's information right to the hospital.

"So if you're having a heart attack, we can actually take you right to the cath lab, because we do have paramedics and nurses on staff. So that's going to improve your outcome," he said.

He added the crew is also able to carry a drug box, as they have provisional paramedic service.

If a paramedic is on the call, they would be able to administer certain drugs and start IVs.

Penning said calls are by mass callout, “So the first three people that show up go on the call."

All members of the service are volunteers, according to Phillips.

"So as long as three people are available to go, we head out. We travel in threes," she said.

Penning added that sometimes that third member may meet the others at the scene.

Currently there are 16 members on the crew, but not all of those are available all the time.

"Where we're really hurting is on our day shift because most of the people work outside the city of Remsen," Rollins said.

Anyone interested in taking the class and joining the unit may contact Rollins or any of the crew members.

Why do they volunteer their time?

"To help people," Penning responded.

New EMT member Greg Arens said, "If we don't do it, nobody else will."

Phillips said a T-shirt of hers says it best, "The hardest job you'll ever love."

"It's to give back, to help. I want someone there to help me if I or my family needs help," she said.

"I grew up with the beeper. It's been a part of my life. My mom was on 25-30 years. I guess it wasn't even a question for me, once I got settled and knew where I was going to be. Just that little part that we can change someone's life just like that," she said.

"We can be the calm in their chaos," Penning added.

There are also tough times being a member of the ambulance crew.

"Especially in a small community where everybody knows everybody, or at least one of us on the squad knows that something about them, is related to them, their kids go to school with them," Phillips said. "That can be a huge challenge in itself because you have to calm your nerves but also calm their nerves and take care of them and show them that you're not scared or nervous."

Purchasing a $215,000 ambulance is no small feat.

The unit has been fundraising for several years. Events have included a dance, a pork loin dinner, breakfasts, and then just asking for donations.

"The businesses came through for us, and we sent out a mass mailing," Phillips said. "We just have a lot of generous people in the town of Remsen that see the importance in us and they put their trust in us."

Rollins said the service handles about 200 to 250 responses a year out of Remsen.

The service area goes east to the county line, then County Road K-64 all the way to the Sioux County line (8 miles) and south to County Road C-44.

Rollins said fundraising never stops, as there is always something that is needed.

"We will continue to accept donations," he said.