SPRING CREEK – Ambulance service based out of Spring Creek could be up and running by the end of the year, adding a third layer to the community’s emergency services.
“We want to be able to serve that area from within that area,” said Lee Cabaniss, director of Elko County Ambulance Services.
The increasing need for an ambulance and paramedic service in Spring Creek — as well as surrounding areas including Lamoille, Lee, Jiggs, Pleasant Valley, and South Fork — has been discussed by the Spring Creek Association, Elko County and the ambulance service for a few years, said Cabaniss.
Now the time seems right to take action, with the City of Wells withdrawing from the county ambulance service and contracting with another provider, Cabaniss said.
“It allowed the ambulance service, the Spring Creek Association and Elko County to collaborate on ideas for placing an ambulance in Spring Creek,” he said. “It was kind of a good time to jump on the idea.”
Spring Creek Association President and General Manager Jessie Bahr said the need for the additional service in Spring Creek came to the attention of Elko County Commissioners, who added it to the 2019-2020 budget, but it also was part of the association’s strategic plan.
“Safety is one of the priorities,” Bahr said. “At the association we have been driving various items, including working with local agencies for fire breaks, fire safety, alternate evacuation routes from Spring Creek, and more.”
The funding to staff the new station will come from the costs saved from not operating in Wells and from the Elko County enterprise fund, Cabaniss said.
Costs will be covered only by Elko County, Bahr said.
“The county has made a commitment to Spring Creek to help with additional services and funding this ambulance,” she said.
The quality of service provided to county residents will remain the same with the new station as it is currently, Cabaniss said.
“There will be no reduction in service. If you call 911 out there today, a paramedic truck will come out,” he explained. “We want [residents] to receive paramedic-level service out there.
Elko County Commissioners on May 22 unanimously approved the ambulance budget to include Spring Creek service, which will start with a 12-hour day operation, said Cash Minor, assistant county manager.
The hope is to begin operating the station by the end of the year. The ambulance service plans to hire and train this summer, Cabaniss said, and will try to find a suitable location for the new station, which will also be funded by the county.
“We’re looking for a place out there … that puts us centrally located to the needs of Spring Creek,” he said. “The ambulance would be the primary response to everything out there, not just the association.”
Once functional, Cabaniss said response time to an emergency could be reduced by 10-12 minutes.
Increasing growth is another reason the station is necessary in the area, Cabaniss said. A memo to the county says calls from the Spring Creek area are expected to increase in the future.
“Spring Creek volumes have increased 9.2 percent from 2017 to 2018,” Cabaniss wrote, “and we continue to see an increase of 4 to 5 percent in total calls each year service-wide.”
The ambulance station would be the third emergency facility to be stationed in Spring Creek. The Elko County Fire Protection District has a staffed station that runs 24-hours, in addition to the Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Also, Elko County Sheriff’s Department have stations within the homeowners association. In January, Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza announced plans to post a full-time deputy in the area and staff the substation on Spring Valley Parkway.
Additionally, results from a recent survey of Spring Creek residents’ use of ambulance services helped make the final decision to establish the station in the community.
“Some results from people said they were not utilizing the service because of time and distance,” Cabaniss said.
The results of the survey and other plans for the ambulance station will be discussed at the Spring Creek Association board of directors meeting on July 24.
Cabaniss said the ambulance service is looking forward to covering the area.
“We’re really excited to offer service in the Spring Creek area which includes all the rest of it – Lamoille, Lee, Jiggs and South Fork – from a location within Spring Creek.”