Fire Chief John Kreuser says it’s huge for the community
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The Randall Fire Department recently received a retired ambulance from Gold Cross in Little Falls.
“This vehicle was still viable and Randall requested one. The company looks at all requests and donates to the departments with the most needs,” said Gold Ambulance employee Tom Jansky.
The definition of an ambulance is a medical vehicle which transports patients. The retired 2003 vehicle given to Randall is no longer licensed as an ambulance, but can be used as a primary First Response supply truck and a support rig for the Randall Fire Department.
“This is a huge donation to the Fire Department and First Response team,” said Fire Chief John Kreuser. “It will replace the 1992 support rig we now have with about 400,000 miles on it.”
“Buying new, or even used, was not in the budget,” he said. “New rigs like this would cost $150,000 and a used one about $50,000. The Randall Fire Department’s annual budget is $30,000 for 28 firefighters. We depend a lot on grants and donations.”
Gold Cross is owned by the Mayo Clinic and has about 12 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s proper name is Mayo Clinic Medical Transports/Gold Cross.
The new rig will be used to haul equipment for both the First Response team and eventually extra air packs for the Fire Department. It will also be used by the volunteers for rehabilitation during either very cold or very hot weather.
The vehicle could also be used as medical support for victims of traffic accidents and/or fires, it is just not able to transport people to a hospital.
While the Gold Cross logo is gone from the rig and the Randall Fire Department and First Response logo has been added, the colors of the vehicle will remain the same. Kreuser thinks this may confuse some people.
“It would cost about $4,000 to add reflective paint and change the color of the truck,” said Kreuser. “It’s important to know this is no longer an ambulance and is unable to transport people.”
Randall responded to 70 medical situations in the past year. The Fire Department and First Response team is all-volunteer, a huge commitment by the members, said Kreuser.
“First response teams are essential to rural communities,” said Gold Cross employee Tom Jansky. “Ambulances may be delayed by weather, traffic or trains, and may be coming from a distance. First response teams are local and will give support and care to the victims waiting for the ambulance. It is gratifying to be able to help the rural communities when we can.”
Jansky said there are two ambulances housed in Little Falls and one at Camp Ripley. Sometimes, he said, that may not be enough.
“Little Falls has mutual aid contracts with Long Prairie, Browerville, Staples, St. Cloud and Onamia,” said Gold Cross employee Jeff Kalla.
If a 911 call goes out for a fire or accident, the first responders, the fire departments and the ambulance is called. It’s usually the first response team that arrives first and ascertains the situation. If no ambulance is needed, they are cancelled.
“But, it’s important that everyone responds to the 911 call. Saving minutes saves lives,” said Kreuser. “We respond to all potential injuries.”