Windsor

Essex-Windsor EMS to donate ambulances to Erie Shores HealthCare, Windsor Essex Hospice, Nunavut

Essex County council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a plan that will see three decommissioned ambulances donated to Erie Shores HealthCare, Windsor Essex Hospice, as well as the Nunavut Association of Municipalities.

'It's a very worthy cause,' says EMS chief

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter says both he and administration believe donating the ambulances is a worthy cause. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Essex County council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a plan that will see three decommissioned ambulances donated to Erie Shores HealthCare, Windsor Essex Hospice, as well as the Nunavut Association of Municipalities.

Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain said council "felt very strongly that this was a unique way of helping the community, by donating ambulances to areas where they were greatly needed."

According to Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter, his organization replaces its fleet of vehicles once approximately every five years, typically swapping out seven ambulances. 

"We keep it somewhat fresh and it keeps costs down for maintenance," he said.

Krauter said the idea to donate an ambulance to Erie Shores HealthCare came from the organization's president and CEO Janice Dawson.

"Everyday, there's numerous times during the day that patients have to make their way from Erie Shores either into Windsor or over to London for treatment and care, or even from the hospital back to their own residences," explained Krauter. "The hospital relies on an outside private transfer service, or sometimes even rely on EMS to complete these calls."

Bruce Krauter estimated his organization would forego approximately $27,000 by forgoing the donated vehicles. (Ioana Draghici/CBC)

Instead, Dawson plans to run a pilot that would see Erie Shores staff donated ambulances while hiring a private driver. 

The idea to provide a decommissioned ambulance to Windsor Essex Hospice was the result of EMS staff approaching Krauter about donating a vehicle to the hospice centre in order to assist in fulfilling so-called life wishes. 

Windsor Essex Hospice sometimes takes hospice or palliative care patients on short trips to places like Point Pelee or the Windsor riverfront. However, Krauter said acquiring a vehicle is often a concern.

"We just happen to have a vehicle right now that's decommissioned and ready to be donated tomorrow if we want," he said. 

Listen to Bruce Krauter speak with Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette:

As for the ambulance set to go to the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, Krauter said he was approached by a retired chief asking organizations across Ontario to "donate an ambulance to go up to the far north, so they can actually have an ambulance that works quite well in the northern communities of Canada."

"He called me up on day, and it was like, 'Yes, let's do this,'" said Krauter. 

Krauter estimated his organization would forego approximately $27,000 by forgoing the donated vehicles.

"I believe and administration believes that it's a very worthy cause," he said. "It stays within our communities, it stays within our country and it's helping out everybody."

With files from Windsor Morning

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