Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Sydney Yalshevec

Kimball Ambulance Service here to help the community


If a person were to suffer some sort of stroke or their heart stopped, the body would stop receiving oxygenated blood. It would take four to six minutes of a lack of oxygenated blood for the brain to begin to die. Brain death would be certain after six to ten minutes. Without an ambulance service, it would take an ambulance out of Sidney 40 minutes to reach the patient. According to the scenario previously mentioned, that would mean death for someone suffering from lack of oxygenated blood.

Thankfully, Kimball does have an ambulance service. The ambulance covers all of Kimball County. That area is just under a hundred square miles. The staff at the ambulance is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

There are always two people on call at a time. While on call these people are committed to staying near the ambulance barn so that, in case of an emergency, their response time is quick. Ambulance Director Carla Goranson explained how for their twelve hour shift the people on call are dedicated to answering emergency calls to a point where they make personal sacrifices.

“We won’t even go out to the ball park for our kids’ games, because it would take too long to get to the ambulance barn from there. We have employees from Dix so when they’re on call they come in and stay at the apartment we have at the office so they can be in town. So they don’t get to be around their families during their 12 hour shift,” Goranson said.

The ambulance is a service to the people, and the people on the crew want to serve and help the people of Kimball. The crew members get paid a stipend. They receive 15 dollars per twelve hour shift, roughly $1.33 an hour.

Concerning the amount of the stipend, some people might wonder why it costs so much to run the ambulance. According to Kim Schildhauer, Ambulance Director Assistant, in the 2012-2013 fiscal year the ambulance expenditures were $200,181.11, and the revenue(income) was $186,425.17. Clearly, the ambulance cost more to run than it was actually making. However, there was a reason for the high expenditures.

“When I started in November of 2011, I had nothing. I had no paperclips, no computer, nothing. I would sit down at whatever computer was available at the courthouse to start working on getting licenses and paperwork transferred. We had to get an office together, and our big expense was a computer and the rest of the stuff I got used or from other county offices in order to set up our office in order to function,” Goranson said.

For the first two years that Goranson was Ambulance Director, she worked hard in order to get the ambulances and ambulance staff’s training up to the state regulations.

“The department was out of compliance when I started as far as the training for the service and for the crew members, according to state rules and regulations. We had a lot of training that we had to do in the first year to catch up and to just be in compliance with state rules and regs. That was expensive. A lot of the training we did get for free. However, the training that we had to use an instructor from another area was costly,” Goranson said.

The training wasn’t the only thing that had to be taken care of, the ambulances needed care as well.

“The ambulances themselves, the maintenance that they had seen had been the bare minimum. So there were a lot of maintenance issues with the ambulances that we had to address,” Goranson said.

Unfortunately, the costs of “playing catch up” were high as noted by Schildhauer. However, in the long run up to date training and working vehicles will save money.

“It’s an added expense but keeping it up to date will stop us from having to play catch up later which would result in a lot more money being spent in training all at once,” Schildhauer said.

Goranson stressed the need of being up to date and in compliance with the regulations for an ambulance in Nebraska, a preferable situation for those who might have to use the ambulance service.

“We needed to be compliant. You don’t want to put your loved one in an ambulance with a crew member that might be up to date on their training or might not be. Now, though they are up to date and we keep up with the continuing education of all the crew members, the yearly or every other year training they have to have to be up to date,” Goranson said.

Concerning training, Goranson has arranged for the ambulance staff to complete yet more training. This training will upgrade them to a Advanced Life Support(ALS) Service from a Basic Life Support Service.

“What this means is that we will be able to do more advanced procedures in the field. We’ll be able to do pain management and air way control so we’ll be able to use more advanced life-saving techniques. We’ll be able to start IVs so that fluids can be replaced in patients that might be suffering from blood loss. We’ll be able to do pain management for people so they aren’t being in pain jostling around in the ambulance,” Goranson said.

This is a positive for the ambulance because they will be able to offer a better grade of care to patients. This also means increased prices for ambulance services.

“Due to the ALS Service, we’ll be able to charge more which will better our revenue and increase patient care. Which will hopefully allow us to rely less on tax payer money,” Schildhauer said.

Despite the training for ALS, the current fiscal year, which is nearing its end, has a much better looking budget. For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, expenditures are at $119,847.00. The revenue, however, is at $132,556.95. Also for those wondering what they are paying as a tax payer for the ambulance service, it comes out to this: a tax payer with a house valued at $100,000 pays $24.95 a year toward the ambulance service.

“The community support is very important. It’s important if we want a new ambulance, considering the trouble we’ve been having with the sirens in one of ours, and other little things that need fixed that are adding up,” Goranson said.

Goranson is also very thankful to the community for their support toward on call members of the staff.

“Sometimes we have to get up and leave in the middle of a meal, leave our groceries while we were shopping. The community is great about it though. We can go back and pay later for our meal, when we return to the store our groceries will have been kept. Overall, I think the community is supportive and we’re all very grateful,” Goranson said.


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