Dolores gets 24-hour ambulance service

Thursday, April 20, 2017 4:39 PM
Cody Rogers and Eddie Martinez of Southwest Memorial ambulance services stand with Cheryl Speer and Billy McCoy of the Dolores Fire Protection District after ambulance services expanded to the town in 2016.

Starting June 1, Dolores will become the third town in Montezuma County to have its own 24-hour ambulance service.

Haley Leonard Saunders, a public relations representative from Southwest Memorial Hospital, announced Wednesday that the hospital plans to station two emergency services technicians in Dolores 24/7, starting on June 1.

A hospital ambulance has already been stationed in town during the day for about a year, but a new partnership between the hospital and the Dolores Volunteer Fire Department will allow for overnight service. The fire department will add sleeping quarters and an ambulance station to Station No. 1 on Railroad Avenue.

“It’s a benefit to the people of the district to get quicker transport to the hospital if they need it,” Dolores fire chief Mike Zion said. “It take some of the pressure off the volunteers.”

He said the town’s volunteer firefighters aren’t equipped to transport people to the hospital, but only to provide emergency medical help until an ambulance arrives. An ambulance in Dolores overnight will help the town as well as smaller neighbors, like Lewis and Pleasantview, Zion said.

“It provides good coverage of the county, having it spread out like that,” he said.

A 24-hour ambulance service for Dolores has been in the works since the beginning of the year, but Saunders said the hospital and fire department only recently finished all the paperwork and training required to make it happen. Although the crew will use the Dolores Fire Department’s building, the hospital will pay their expenses. Saunders said Southwest Memorial’s goal is to provide expanded emergency services without affecting fire department activities.

“Nothing will change as far as the way they operate,” she said. “They’re just welcoming us in for a little more time.”

The expanded service comes as Southwest Memorial Hospital undergoes its own expansion, including the planned purchase of two ambulances and a new EMS station on the Cortez campus, which is on track to be completed in July.

Dolores is the third town in Montezuma County to receive round-the-clock ambulance coverage, after Mancos got its 24-hour service last year.