Forks Ambulance Adds New Emergency Vehicle To Fleet

Forks, WA, June 30, 2016– Forks Ambulance has added a new vehicle to better serve the community of Forks and the surrounding areas.  A 2013 Ford Expedition, which we refer to as the “Command Vehicle” has been outfitted with emergency lighting, radios and rescue equipment and has been added to the Forks Ambulance fleet.  This vehicle will serve a dual role in responding to emergencies, it is primarily to be used for extended rescue missions, such as retrieving patients off the beach or from logging sites in the woods.  The other use will be to serve as a Command and Control point in larger emergencies, such as mass casualty incidents, natural disasters, and any incident requiring a prolonged presence at the incident site.  This will free the Ambulances to respond to emergencies, transport patients and provide medical coverage to the unaffected areas.  The Command Vehicle is equipped with a tow package which enables it to tow the Mass Casualty trailer and the Alternate Care Site trailer. The Command Vehicle is equipped with medical supplies that would be needed for initial patient assessment and stabilization, it also carries a basket litter that can be used for short distance transport of patients, such as a logging road, river access or beach access that a regular ambulance could not navigate.

Historically, Forks Ambulance has responded to rescue requests with our rescue vehicle, known as Rescue 91, this vehicle was a dual use vehicle, providing both vehicle extrication (Jaws of Life) as well as beach and backcountry patient retrieval.  The obvious drawback to this is that one response would necessarily mean that the other could not happen.  For example, if we are dispatched to retrieve a patient from the beach by Kalaloch Lodge, or Sol Duc Hot Springs or a remote logging site, we would not be able to respond to a motor vehicle accident anywhere else.  With the addition of the Command Vehicle this is no longer a concern.  Other uses will include personnel transport, training, and mutual aid requests that do not require an ambulance.  We are very excited to have this vehicle as it will enable us to greatly expand our response capabilities and provide a higher level of patient care in a pre-hospital trauma situation.

Forks Ambulance is a volunteer organization that serves the City of Forks and La Push, and provides ambulance and rescue coverage for West Clallam county from the top of Fairholm Hill, out to Sol Duc hot springs and surrounding areas, all the way south to West Jefferson County to Kalaloch Lodge and the beaches and trails there.  We respond to Olympic Corrections Center and all access points to the rivers, trails and back roads and everything in between these areas.  The volunteer EMT program is known as the Ray Ellis Memorial Volunteer Ambulance Corps (REMVAC) and has been serving the community for almost 60 years.  Forks Ambulance recently added two permanent EMT’s to the organization, these EMT’s work during the day with Volunteer EMT’s working all other shifts as well as the day shift.  All EMT’s at Forks Ambulance are state licensed and certified through a rigorous training program and held to the same standards of education and training as required by state law.  REMVAC has trained with and responded to incidents with the Forks Police Dept., La Push Police Dept., Forks Fire Dept., Washington State Patrol, Dept. of Corrections, Airlift Northwest, Olympic National Park Service, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office, The Department of Natural Resources, Quileute Fish and Wildlife, The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Customs, Border Patrol, ICE and the FBI.  Recently REMVAC has participated in the planning and preparation for the Cascadia Subduction Earthquake as well as active shooter training and mass casualty incidents with local law enforcement agencies.  EMT’s respond from their homes, work place and from where ever they may be when the call comes, they leave their dinner on the table, jump out of bed, stop what they are doing and respond to the station or sometimes directly to the incident scene.  They do this everyday, rain or shine, day or night, all year round including holidays.  The EMT’s have a green flashing light in their vehicles identifying themselves as First Responders and use this light as a polite request for other drivers to yield the right of way, but only if they can do so safely. EMT’s are also identified by displaying a white placard the same size as a license plate which states “Forks Ambulance”.  So, if you can do so safely, please yield to these vehicles, because in a short while later those same drivers will be responding in an ambulance.

Forks Ambulance is currently recruiting for new EMT’s and will be hosting a EMT certification program in September.  Anyone interested in becoming a part of this dynamic and motivated organization please feel free to contact us at the Forks Hospital, (360) 374-6271 ext. 151 ask for Becky Wilson or Tim Wade.