Residents May Lose Ambulance Service if Volunteers Don't Sign Up

Updated: 06/01/2014 10:53 PM
Created: 06/01/2014 8:41 PM
By: Meghan Reistad

(ABC 6 News) -- The Mabel Ambulance Service responds to around 120 calls a year; however, the community could lose this service, unless more volunteer for the job.

“We have two people on during the day and just a few people on during the weekends,” said First Responder Carl Westby.

Mabel Ambulance Services has only fraction of what is needed with five working for the service.

“We’re running ourselves thin,” said Ambulance Director Neil Folstad.

While the numbers are scarce now, it has not always been this way.

“I started about 18 years ago. At that time, we had roughly 20 volunteers here on the service,” said EMT Tim Mengis.

For EMT Ashley Rein, it’s added a sense of security. “That comfort, if something happens to one of our children, and we have to wait that extra amount of time, it could be life or death,” she said.

With at least 10 minutes from any other emergency service, community members feel the impact of possibly losing the service.

“It would be scary, we’re close to Decorah, Iowa, which is about 20 miles away, but it’s not like having an ambulance service right here in Mabel,” said Arleen Soltow.

This June, Mabel will offer an EMT class, paid for by the city. In order to keep the service, Mabel Ambulance Services is looking for 15-20 people to help cover shifts.

A local community is at risk of losing its ambulance service because of a lack of volunteers.