Rescue squad seeks funding for three projects

By Audrey Posten

At last Tuesday’s Marquette City Council meeting, members of the Mar-Mac Rescue Squad asked council members to consider providing funding for three projects–a rescue trailer, a Gator utility vehicle slider with a water pump and hose, as well as software for an ambulance laptop.
Rescue squad member Ember Martin said the first project, a rescue trailer that will cost a little under $10,000, has already been purchased in conjunction with the McGregor Fire Department, and will mainly be used to transport the EMS’s Gator. With $4,500 from the McGregor Hospital Board, along with $2,600 from the fire department, Martin said much of the funding for that project is already accounted for. That just leaves $2,600, as well as an additional $400 for lettering, for the rescue squad to fund.
Rescue Squad President Burt Walters said the trailer also needs to be equipped with shelving, circuitry and lighting.
“It’s all those little things that add up,” Walters explained.
Although the trailer will often be used to transport the Gator, Walters said the rescue squad and fire department will also use it to transport specialty gear, including the rope rescue gear that helps people who have fallen off bluffs, as well as HAZMAT suits and ice and water rescue equipment.
Walters said members have also considered putting a radio up front so that the trailer can be used as an emergency command post, something he said would be helpful for flood or other storm situations.
“We’ve thought this out very thoroughly with the fire department,” Walters said, “and know what we need and how we’re going to go about it.”
The second project, a FIRELITE Transport Deluxe Skid Unit, would sit on the back of the Gator. The unit features a water tank, pump and hose, as well as an area with grab rails that would help mount a stretcher. Martin said the unit will help transport injured people out of wooded areas or places with rough terrain.
“The Gator gets to places trucks can’t go,” Martin said. “We can get down there and get what we need and get out.”
Martin said this project would cost $6,500, but that the rescue squad was simply talking about it at this time. There are no plans to purchase it yet.
The final project includes the purchase of AmbuPro EMS software, a data collection system that stores patients’ medical and incident information. Martin said the rescue squad already has a laptop, so they just need to pay for the roughly $2,500 in software and $1,700 in licensing, technical support and upgrades.
Walters said the software would be especially helpful for documenting the medical information of previously-transported individuals.
“Some older people have a lot of medications and they oftentimes can’t remember all of them,” Walters said.
“It will all be right there,” Martin said of patients’ medical information. “Then we can focus on patient care rather than data collection.”
Marquette City Manager Dean Hilgerson said the city had already budgeted $5,000 toward the rescue squad for the 2013 fiscal year, which will conclude at the end of June. As a result, council member Jason Winter proposed that the city use that $5,000 to fund all of the software system, then allocate the remainder toward the rescue trailer, a motion the other council members approved.
Although the rescue squad uses the money charged from ambulance runs for general operation costs, Walters said it generally seeks outside funding for special projects. Aside from the City of Marquette, Walters said the rescue squad has also sought funding from the City of McGregor and several local townships.
“We’re very grateful for the money the cities and townships give us,” Walters said, “so we like to go to the meetings and tell them about the projects.”

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