On Wednesday, Porter County Healthcare System donated a decommissioned ambulance to Porter County Search & Rescue, who was in dire need of a large vehicle to use during their operations.
The coming together of Porter EMS and county Search & Rescue came about through Porter EMS Director, Ann Brandl, who attended a recent Porter County Fire Association meeting where representatives from Search & Rescue were outlining their need for such a vehicle. Brandl happened to have a decommissioned ambulance that needed to find a home.
“They had made mention that Search & Rescue needed such a vehicle to respond to their incidence,” Brandl said. “It’s a functional ambulance that’s close to the end of ‘ambulance life’ but that doesn’t mean the engine’s bad, or the compartment’s bad. It’s just near the end of its ambulance life.”
“I talked to my superiors and we had a conversation about what we could do to get this donated to someone who truly needs it to serve Porter County,” added Brandl. “We went back and forth, and we thought it would be a win-win. We felt that we’d be doing a service to the community so that when Search & Rescue went out they could have base which could be a warming unit, a cooling unit and get all of their people, and their equipment, to the scene as a staging unit to help out.”
After working through the paperwork and coordinating with Porter Health Care System administration, Porter EMS was able to donate the decommissioned ambulance to Porter County Search & Rescue.
“Porter County Search and Rescue researched best practices for setting up mobile command posts during operations, and learned that we really needed a large vehicle that had air conditioning, heat and power at minimum,” said Micah Bell, director and co-founder of the not-for-profit Search & Rescue Team. “We are so thankful for this donation and want to thank Porter EMS and Porter Health Care System for acknowledging the important work of the team and extending their healthcare arm to the community in this way.”
Porter County Search and Rescue is made up of an all-volunteer team of EMS, fire and emergency management professionals who assist local law enforcement with searches and rescues. The team was called to 26 incidents total in 2015 and 2016 – all of which ended successfully.
“We understand the work of our emergency responders is complex and particularly difficult when a person is missing or needing rescue. It’s vital that our local organizations have the equipment they need to successfully carry out their missions, and we are pleased that circumstances in this case allowed us to assist,” said Stephen Lunn, CEO of Porter Health Care System.
Ashley Dickinson, Chief Operating Officer for Porter Health Care System, echoed Lunn’s sentiments in saying, “It’s great when a ‘need’ and a have’ come together and we just happened to have the resources available to help out.”
Porter County Search and Rescue plans to outfit the rig with field equipment, computers, and seating to help act as a warming or cooling station for search professionals and victims when needed.
“We rely heavily on special operations services provided by Porter County Search and Rescue, and it’s important for them to have the equipment and support they need when we are facing a community crisis such as a missing individual. I commend Porter EMS and Porter Health Care System for acknowledging the needs of the search and rescue team, and responding with this donation to support them,” said Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds.
Porter EMS is the ambulance service provider for Porter County, and has recently begun offering a new non-911 transport service. For more information on Porter EMS, visit porterhealth.com.
Porter Health Care System has two hospital campuses and seven outpatient facilities serving Porter, Lake, La Porte, Starke and Jasper counties. With more than 350 physicians representing 50 medical specialties, Porter Health Care System is committed to medical excellence and personalized, patient-centered care. Porter is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.