In 2018 the Barriere First Responders Society (BAFRS ) applied for and received a BC Community Gaming grant for $87,000 to purchase a brand new first responder ambulance.
The ambulance immediately became a reality when it was ordered from Malley Industries in New Brunswick. Although $87,000 may sound like a lot of money, it only just covered the cost of the vehicle.
The unit was shipped in January and came “bare bones”. BAFRS was then responsible for registering the vehicle, stocking the unit, and having reflective decals placed on the outside.
“We do not receive any ongoing funding. All funds are raised through fundraising and grant writing, and we also do first aid at events to try and raise funds as well,” said BAFRS president Drew McMartin, “The new ambulance was funded by the community gaming grant and donations from our community members. All of the activities our members participate in, including call outs, is all done as a volunteer.”
However, thanks to some generous donations, and the BAFRS members fundraising activities, all of the costs to date have been covered.
The Royal Canadian Legion Barriere Branch donated just over $1,400 to the fund, and the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society donated $2500 to purchase a portable vitals machine, which is capable of acquiring blood pressure, spO2, CO2, 12 lead EKG, and temperature. This machine can automatically monitor the patient and printout vitals at a predetermined set interval.
What about the old ambulance, FR- 4, that McMartin had talked the BC Ambulance Society into donating to the organization back in 2014 and had served the group since then?
“FR-4 has been stripped and put out of service,” said McMartin, “It served its days in the Okanagan with BCAS, then it came to Barriere to continue its duty with us. FR-4 touched a lot of lives and we thank it for a job well done. We offered the old ambulance to Barriere Fire and Chu Chua Fire as a donation, but they both didn’t have a need for it. The group then decided, as we were still a bit short on funds, to sell it privately.”
McMartin says the unit was recently sold for $4000 to a person out of Vernon who will be converting it into a camper, and the resulting funds will be put towards the new unit.
Here is a quick look at the value of the minimum equipment required for a First Responders’ medical call.
• First Responder’s bag and contents – $600
• Oxygen bag and tank – $300
• AED (Automated External Defib) – $3500
• Suction – $450
• Total – $4850
The $4850 is just the initial cost of outfitting one First Responder with the equipment needed to do a medical call, and this is why donations do matter and help to keep this amazing service within our communities.
“We do not transport patients we stabilize until an ambulance arrives,” said McMartin, “However, should we respond to a mass casualty we maybe required to transport. The ambulance also allows us to treat people at motor vehicle accidents inside a warm dry environment out of the public eye.”
BAFRS provides first aid services for events as a fundraiser for their organization. They have served at the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo, New Years Eve Bullarama, Barriere Big Block Party and more.
McMartin says they are fully equipped and well trained to provide first aid for any type of event.
“All our medics volunteer and all funds go directly to the society to keep our group running,” said McMartin, “Thank you to all our loyal supporters who continually bring us back year after year. And thank you to everyone that donated or played a role in the set up of FR-1. We are officially on the road ready to respond at a moments notice . A grand reveal and showcase is in the planning stages and we will have more information on that shortly.”
The new ambulance also sporst a new Barriere First Responders logo that is no longer the original blue, but is now green.
McMartin tells that he started the beginnings of the Barriere First Responders organization back in 2012, and has now seen it become a necessity to the community.
“I have an amazing group of First Responders,” said McMartin, “This is how FR-1 came to be, my vision was trusted, and with my groups help we accomplished an amazing new ambulance. I’m so proud of what we have been able to accomplish in five short years.”
You will find the Barriere First Responders on Sunday, Mar. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Barriere AG Foods offering a BP clinic (Blood Pressure by donation). They will be using their new Vitals machine
For more information check out the Barriere First Responders Society on Facebook or go to their website at: www.bafrs.org