Public Invited to Ambulance Station & Education Center Open House

  • February 04, 2019
EMT Wendy Long hoses down one of the ambulances housed in the new Ambulance Station and Education Center while EMT Kayley Wika scrubs. Brookings Health invites the public to tour the new station during an open house on Friday, Feb. 22. The new facility creates a headquarters for the ambulance service while also serving the health emergency education needs of the community.
EMT Wendy Long hoses down one of the ambulances housed in the new Ambulance Station and Education Center while EMT Kayley Wika scrubs. Brookings Health invites the public to tour the new station during an open house on Friday, Feb. 22. The new facility creates a headquarters for the ambulance service while also serving the health emergency education needs of the community.

Brookings Health System invites the public to tour the new Ambulance Station and Education Center, located at 2300 Yorkshire Drive, on Friday, Feb. 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. during an open house.

The new 7,160 square-foot facility creates a headquarters for Brookings Health System’s ambulance service while also serving the health emergency education needs of the community.

“Brookings Health has operated the ambulance service for the City of Brookings and much of Brookings County since 1974. In that time, the ambulance service has never had a permanent home and its own dedicated space until now,” said Ambulance Director Gordon Dekkenga.

When the health system first took on the ambulance service, staff parked ambulance vehicles in the emergency room’s attached garage. The vehicles would block other incoming emergency vehicles that required access to the ER. For ER efficiency, the ambulance service was moved to a leased location along Eighth Street South in 2009. While functional, that space was not optimal.

The new station is designed to house emergency medical services and moves the ambulance station back in close proximity to Brookings Hospital and the ER. It houses all four advanced life support (ALS) vehicles, the mass casualty vehicle and the mobile first-aid station trailer while providing proper storage areas for medical supplies. It also provides living quarters for ambulance staff working over-night or 24-hour shifts, including bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen. Connecting these areas together under one roof creates increased efficiency and even quicker response times for ambulance staff.

“Our ambulance team serves the same critical need for our community as law enforcement and fire and rescue. Improving dispatch and response times even by seconds can mean the difference between life and death for individuals who face medical emergencies,” said Dekkenga.

The station’s location is strategically placed to service the majority of call volume for both the city and county while maintaining strong access to respond to other advanced life support calls throughout the local area.

“The location on Yorkshire Drive gives us quick access to 22nd Avenue and main routes. It also gives us improved access to I-29, a hot spot, unfortunately, for accidents,” said Dekkenga.

The new station also enables the ambulance service to attend to the growing needs of the community. In 2017, Brookings Health System’s ambulance service made over 2,285 calls, a 40% increase in call volume since 2009.

The education center inside the facility will hold training sessions for Brookings Health System employees and the community alike. Starting in March, First Aid and CPR community classes will be held in the education center. Community members can register for these classes online at www.brookingshealth.org/events.

Brookings Health System’s ambulance service provides emergency 911 ALS services for the City of Brookings, much of Brookings County and the communities of Aurora, Bruce, Bushnell, Sinai and Volga. It also assists area ambulance services from Arlington, Clear Lake, Elkton, Estelline, White and Lake Preston when requested. It handles both local and long-distance transports as well as emergency and non-emergency transfers.

More information about the ambulance service can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/Ambulance.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes the 49-bed Brookings Hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.