Bowman Ambulance’s three life-saving rigs finally have a new home after months of anticipation.
Construction on the new 6,000-square-foot ambulance garage, located at 111 Highway 12 in Bowman, progressed throughout spring and finally wrapped last month. The ambulances were officially parked in their new structure Sept. 25 and a community open house was scheduled for Wednesday.
For the ambulance staff, it’s a blessing to have a new, larger space.
“The space is so much better. Now everyone isn’t on top of each other,” said Lisa Knopp, director of the regional ambulance service.
But it’s not just about a bigger space—with true living quarters, four garage bays and a huge classroom, the new garage gives the ambulance squad more opportunities to expand and enhance its services.
The garage boasts a large classroom, about four to five times larger than the previous space, according to Knopp. A variety of important, instructive courses ranging from EMR, ACLS and PALS classes will be offered to keep the squad up-to-date on its techniques, but also for the community to learn. They even offer the space to be used by local firemen when they need training courses, too.
The living quarters is an essential component to the new garage, giving overnight shift workers a place to call home while waiting for the next call. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms, Knopp said the service might be able to utilize additional paramedics.
Currently, Bowman Ambulance staffs three full-time paramedics, a group of contracted workers and volunteer responders, including drivers, EMRs and paramedics. A contracted shift worker could potentially stay over in Bowman as long as 36 hours or more, so the living quarters were necessary. Not having a real place for workers to stay in the previous garage was a problem.
The new ambulance bay fully houses the service’s three ambulances, with a connecting fourth bay that’s currently used for washing the rigs, but could one day serve as a fourth bay if there was need for an additional ambulance. The old garage could only hold two of the rigs, leaving the third parked outside throughout the year.
The location of the old garage was problematic, situated in the middle of a residential neighborhood, across from the school and next to a daycare.
“It’s nice having access to the highway and not be by residential or school,” Knopp said. “It’s absolutely wonderful.”
Darrell West, a full-time emergency medical technician, agreed.
He was happy to finally have enough room in the garage to fully pull out the cot from the back of the ambulance; mainly, having enough room to move.
“I’m extremely happy, we have everything here,” he said. He expressed his appreciation for the community’s support of the squad.
Carpet for several bedrooms was donated by Pam Hestekin, president of the Rural Ambulance District Board, and Suzan Hanson, a paramedic. Flooring elsewhere, however, has yet to be finished due to budget constraints.
The garage is owned by the Rural Ambulance District Board and Bowman County, and staffed by Southwest Healthcare Services. Funds to construct the garage, about $540,000, came from a hefty grant and from the county.
Bowman Ambulance’s old property, next to the hospital, wasn’t large enough to expand on—they wouldn’t be able to have the four bays or living quarters—and the grant they were awarded was strictly for a new building.