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News >  Idaho

Kootenai County Buys 2 New Ambulances Will Boost Service In South, North; Merger Also In The Works

Ambulance service in the southern and northern parts of Kootenai County is shifting into higher gear, thanks to two $79,000 vehicles paid for by county funds.

Both the Worley Ambulance and Spirit Lake Ambulance will replace outdated 1984-model ambulances. Each department also has a 1994-model ambulance.

Thanks to another $20,000 grant, Spirit Lake Ambulance will be able to merge with the Athol Quick Response Unit, manager Penny Miller said.

The money was used to build a bay at the Athol Quick Response Unit to house the new ambulance, Miller said.

“That will give us a little faster transport for patients in that area,” she said.

The official merger will take place in July. The new ambulance will be put into service as soon as the word “Athol” can be added to the “Spirit Lake” lettering on the ambulance.

Penny and Joe Miller are president and manager of Spirit Lake ambulance. Bill and Charlene Waddell serve the same functions for Worley Ambulance. The couples traveled together to Florida to pick up the vehicles and drive them to Utah, where they were outfitted before being brought to Idaho.

Both ambulance services rely on volunteers. Charlene Waddell said past ambulances have been paid for by fund-raisers. The vehicles should be replaced every seven years, “but of course we have no money,” she said.

User fees pay only about 68 percent of the cost of operating the service, she said.

Her organization stations ambulances at both Worley and Plummer. The new vehicles feature such improvements as inside lighting that shuts off after five minutes and should prevent drained batteries; and filters that will recycle air every 90 seconds, removing odors and bacteria.

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