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Bannock County hires new ambulance crew with levy funds

Bannock County has just hired a new ambulance crew to hopefully solve the current problem of some 911 callers being forced to wait for help.

Last November voters passed a levy to pay for the new ambulance crew, but that money didn’t become available to the fire department until October 1.

Interim Fire Chief Dave Gates said, when compared to other cities, Pocatello has been woefully understaffed.

“Idaho falls is running one ambulance for about every 15,000 residents. We were in the neighborhood of about one ambulance for nearly 45,000 residents. So that’s a lot of coverage,” Gates said.

More and more the department has been forced to stack calls and tell people calling 911 they’ve just got to wait till there’s an ambulance available.

“If a call comes in and it’s a minor call it might not make a whole lot of difference. But when you’re talking something significant, a car crash, a critical trauma, a cardiac arrest, it’s very significant if you don’t have an ambulance available to respond right away,” Gates said.

The six new members of the fire department will go through training through the rest of the month, and the extra ambulance is scheduled to go into service on Nov. 1.

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