Fire District 12 adds new ambulance

District’s new transportation vehicle comes with electric gurney to help improve care, chief says



Mirenda Stenbakken, Emergency Medical Service Chief for Fire District 12, shows the new ambulance’s storage area Sunday morning at the Whitman County Fire District 12, Section 1. The ambulance also includes an electric gurney.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

Whitman County Fire District 12 bought a new ambulance to be housed at station No. 1, which is located on West Main Street.

The ambulance cost around $187,000, said Lee Druffel, Whitman County Fire District 12 commissioner.

“We were ready to become a transport agency,” said Mirenda Stenbakken, Whitman County Fire District 12 emergency medical services chief.

Stenbakken said becoming a transport agency meant District 12 could take people to the hospital and perform necessary care, which they could not do before.

The money partly came from an EMS levy District 12 gets, which is about 50 cents per $1,000 of valuation, Druffel said.

Valuation is the amount of money people pay in taxes, determined by the value of the property they own or how much money they bought the property for. This is what the EMS levy is based on, Stenbakken said.

The money also came from donations, she said. District 12 volunteers are part of a non-profit association, which allows people to give donations to them.

Stenbakken said the money collected from the levy and donations, which took five years, paid for the ambulance and the supplies.

“So basically, [we are] taking the money that we got from the patrons in our district and giving it back to the patrons in our district,” Stenbakken said.

Druffel, Stenbakken and Volunteer Fireman Jim Brickey are involved in determining what features would be in the new ambulance.

Stenbakken said she looked at other ambulances around Whitman County to ask what people liked about them. This was a starting point for what District 12 wanted in their new ambulance.

She said they looked at demo ambulances, which let them determine which features they favored, such as the make and model and whether it should be fueled by gas or diesel.

“Pretty much every lock, every bolt, every nut—we went through the process of deciding where those things were going to be, what color they were going to be,” Stenbakken said. “We literally built it from the ground up.”