North Fork Ambulance is a 501c3, volunteer agency formed in 1969 to provide emergency medical care and transport to the North Fork valley in western Colorado. We are the only emergency ambulance service available to over 9,000 residents and countless visitors, responding to nearly 700 emergency calls each year. We are staffed by 50 volunteer EMTs and Drivers.
For 48 years our agency has been largely funded by Membership, a voluntary payment currently made by about 1,800 of the 5,000 households and businesses in the North Fork valley. Even though we have the support of the community by our Members and our volunteers, due to rising costs and decreasing revenues our Membership alone can no longer sustain the ambulance service financially.
Our 1,550 square mile rural service area encompasses the communities of Hotchkiss, Paonia and Crawford, the eastern half of Delta County and reaches into Montrose and Gunnison counties as well. The North Fork valley is feeling the effects of two of three coal mine closures with the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs over the last five years. Our organic agriculture and wine industries are gaining strength and the area is becoming a popular recreation destination, as well as attracting early retirees.
The North Fork Ambulance Powerful Stories project is inspired by real experiences with North Fork Ambulance and our community members. The purpose of this project is to raise public awareness among the 9,000 residents in the North Fork valley of the value of Emergency Medical Services by sharing the impact our ambulance service has had over the last 48 years, and continues to have everyday. Many of these experiences are life-changing, sometimes even life-saving, and pull at the heart strings of the viewer.
Some quotes from our interviewees:
"The ambulance is important to me because I still have my son." Heidi H. - Their car hydroplaned on the way to school one morning… her son, Evan, lost three fingers in the accident. North Fork Ambulance was there in minutes.
"There are angels among us!" John R. - resident, reflecting on the selflessness of the North Fork Ambulance volunteers.
"I never thought that my son was going to fall out of a window. And he did. You don't think your child is going to fall out of a tree. But they do. And we are there pretty quickly." Cindy O. - EMT with North Fork Ambulance for 7 years. After her two-year old son fell from a second story window, Cindy decided to become and EMT.