“Absolutely not! The ambulance station in Barriere is not closing,” said BC Ambulance superintendant for the Thompson District, Deborah Epp, during a telephone interview with this newspaper last Monday.
Contrary to a number of rumours that have been circulating within the community, Epp says the station isn’t going anywhere.
“BC Ambulance has allowed the areas Search and Rescue truck to be stored at the station for many years,” said Epp, “But we now want to put a spare backup ambulance into that space.”
Epp notes the that backup ambulance is there in case the ambulance from Barriere, Clearwater or Blue River goes in for repairs.
“Repairs can now be done within the community by a local mechanic who has been approved under our guidelines,” said Epp, “The intent is the ambulance will not have to leave the community for repairs, the repairs will be quicker, and there will be no tow costs to transport the ambulance out of the community to have the work done.”
The superintendant said that as a result of bringing in a backup ambulance, Barriere Search and Rescue were notified they had to find another place to store their rescue truck. “We told the head of Search and Rescue that we know this move is not something they can do immediately. They are not being kicked out overnight.”
She did note however, that the backup ambulance is sitting on the lot ready to make the move to the station, so the sooner it can do that the better.
“We really value the Search and Rescue group within the community, and we hope that they can find a good place for their vehicle,” said Epp.
She also noted, “Our service is growing, technology is improving, and as a result changes are often necessary.”
On Tuseday the Star/Journal asked Barriere Search and Rescue president, Drew McMartin, if they had found a new storage garage for their highway rescue truck?
“Not at this point,” said McMartin, “We are hoping something will turn up, and we are asking everyone we can think of right now.”
McMartin says that Barriere S&R has plans to aquire a small piece of land where they can build their own compound and building, but in the meantime they must rely on already existing facilities that are within the community.
“We have been offered the opportunity to park the truck in the municipality’s yard, but we would have to purchase a portable canopy to put over the truck, which comes with a cost of about $3,000.”
For the time being the truck is still stored at the ambulance station, but that cannot continue for much longer.
“Within the next few weeks we must find a secure place where the rescue truck can be stored,” said McMartin.
If anyone has a secure facility with power that would be available to store the highway rescue truck, please contact Drew McMartin at 778-220-6542.