Electric Cooperatives Donate $5,000 To Build Spink County EMS Center

Contact: Ben Dunsmoor, Communications Director, Northern Electric Cooperative

BATH – Emergency medical services are the cornerstone of the community. And organizers of a project in Spink County hope a new emergency medical services (EMS) center will build a solid foundation for the future of emergency response in the county. “It is necessary,” Mike Sanger, the director of Spink County Ambulance said. “When businesses look to move to Redfield, they ask about the school, the hospital, and ambulance and fire.”

Members of the Spink County Ambulance Service and the Redfield Community Memorial Hospital and Clinic Foundation are working to build a new EMS center in Redfield. A portion of the new building will house on-call EMTs because half of the county’s emergency responders live outside of Redfield and two of them live in Aberdeen. They currently stay in an old home that was purchased near the hospital, but the new EMS center would provide dedicated living quarters.

The new EMS center will also allow the EMTs to stay in the same building where the ambulances are parked. The county’s three ambulances will be housed in the EMS center. Right now, Spink County’s three ambulances are parked in two different locations and emergency equipment is kept in four different storage areas throughout Redfield. The proposed EMS Center would allow the ambulance service to operate more efficiently and serve all its needs with one building.

Organizers are also planning for a community room in the new building to host CPR trainings and community blood drives.

Spink County Ambulance Director Mike Sanger believes the project will help attract new EMTs in the future.

“We need to get younger people in here and it is hard to recruit if you don’t have good facilities or good equipment,” Sanger said.

Organizers of the project have been working to raise $580,000 for the building for the past three years. Northern Electric Cooperative teamed up with East River Electric Power Cooperative and Basin Electric Power Cooperative to donate checks totaling $5,0000 on March 12.

“We know how crucial emergency services are to our rural communities,” Northern Electric Cooperative CEO/General Manager Char Hager said. “This project will improve emergency response and put the Spink County Ambulance Service in a good position to grow and retain EMTs into the future.”

Spink County Ambulance currently averages 500 calls a year and provides emergency response to an 1,800 square mile area in Spink County and portions of Beadle, Faulk, Brown, and Hand counties. About $150,000 has been raised for the EMS center so far.

“We’re excited about it and keep plugging away looking at every option, financing and fundraising,” Sanger said about the fundraising efforts.

Organizers of the project hope to break ground for the building this fall.