Boyceville’s new ambulance station ready for occupancy weekend of February 21

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville ambulance service’s new station is expected to be ready for occupancy the weekend of February 21.

Matt Feeney, ambulance director, reported on the status of the construction project at the Boyceville Community Ambulance District’s February 11 meeting.

All of the hurdles presented by the heating and plumbing have been cleared, Feeney said.

The sinks and toilets have been installed, the furnace is working and the air exchangers are working, he said.

“We are close to moving in,” Feeney said.

The drywall was finished the previous weekend, he noted, adding that volunteers from the ambulance service were planning to paint the interior of the building Saturday, February 14, and once the painting was finished, were planning to install the flooring.

“We (expect) to start moving in next weekend,” Feeney said.

Construction of the new ambulance station was funded by a $248,000 state trust fund loan. The Village of Boyceville took the lead on securing the loan for all of the municipalities in the ambulance service district.

Initially the plans were to remodel the former car dealership building across the street to the west from the village hall.

When remodeling the building became problematic for a variety of reasons, members of the Boyceville ambulance district board approved tearing down the old dealership building and constructing a new ambulance station.

Construction on the new ambulance station started last fall.

“By the next meeting next month, we will 100 percent be operating out of the new station,” Feeney said.

Financial report 

According to a financial report from Clifton Larson Allen LLC, the ambulance service exceeded revenue to expenses by $98,368.

The ambulance service had a budget of $282,625, but actual disbursements were $378,110.

The new building cost $160,934, and $87,666 remains from the loan.

The ambulance service had a 14 percent increase in revenue for 2014.

Feeney reported that the ambulance service was actually $6,279 short in 2014 and had a deficit of $45,000 in 2010.

The ambulance district is headed in a better direction, said Jonathan Sherwood of Clifton Larson Allen.

The financial report would have shown a $23,000 increase if the new building had not been included in the numbers, he noted.

Dispatch

Feeney also reported on a problem with Dunn County’s 911 dispatch system.

Dunn County had switched to the Wiscom system, and several weeks ago, Boyceville was dispatched for a patient reporting head pain, he said.

Ambulance services acknowledge the page when they are called out, and then the ambulance services report to the dispatch center when they are going out on the call.

Boyceville never received the page.

The dispatcher heard static over the radio and assumed that it was Boyceville EMTs saying they were going out on the call, Feeney said.

Almost an hour later – 58 minutes – the dispatcher looked at the computer screen and realized that he or she had never heard anything from Boyceville, he said.

The back-up system had not repeated the page, Feeney noted.

At the time of the call, the 911 dispatcher said it was not an emergency, but by the time Boyceville was contacted and EMTs arrived on the scene, the situation was assessed to be an emergency, he said.

Dunn County did extensive work on the system after that to ensure that all of the pagers were working properly, Feeney said.

When the dispatcher “assumed” that the static was the Boyceville ambulance going out, “that was wrong,” Feeney said.

The situation with the dispatcher has been referred to the county administrator’s office, he said.

The county’s central analog tower is now being used as the repeater tower, and that means the back-up system will work better, Feeney said.

“It was a failure on the dispatcher’s part … it never should have happened,” Feeney said.

The pages are simulcast for the sheriff’s department, and 90 percent of the time, law enforcement officers will respond to the scene as well, he said.

Feeney said he wanted to report on the situation to the Boyceville ambulance district board so that if someone talked to them about the incident, they would have background information and could explain what had happened and that the problem with the paging system has been fixed.