The Watkins Ambulance Service binds together our communities more than our churches, schools or businesses. Each of our communities has a fire and rescue department, but they cannot transport patients if needed. That’s when Watkins Ambulance is called.
As of the first week of September, the Watkins Ambulance has exceeded the number of calls they answered during all of 2018. They’re already over 400 calls, sometimes taking 3 or 4 calls in a single day. That’s a lot for a volunteer department.
Here are some ways that you can help the Watkins Ambulance Service (and yourself and your family).
• Make sure your location number is visible. Leave an outside light on, if you can, to help them find your home in the dark.
• Remove snow from doors, especially one that may be needed for access with a cot/gurney. Indoors, clear a path if possible for a cot/gurney so responders don’t trip (or break something).
• Pets should be put in a kennel or closed off in another room. Even a “good dog” can get excited with how many volunteers arrive and how fast they move.
• If you call with a respiratory problem, make sure no one in your home is smoking. They may bring and use an oxygen tank.
• If your loved one is transported by ambulance to hospital, do NOT follow closely behind. Other drivers are not watching for a second vehicle and a private vehicle does not have the right of way. A private vehicle must also follow all traffic signs and laws, including speed and stop lights; this is not the time you want to get a ticket.
• Have critical information readily available: list of medications, allergies, name and DOB, name of your doctor, and hospital preference. You can find a form at vialoflife.com. The Watkins Ambulance Service will order big stickers to hold this information on your refrigerator, and these will be available soon to anyone in their service area. NOTE: Any DNR/DNI request must be present, in writing, in order for responders to honor your wishes.
• JOIN them! The Watkins Ambulance Service is looking for new members to become EMTs. More members can mean shorter response times. There is an application on the city’s website at
• Thank them. They are our neighbors and friends, and sometimes family. They volunteer their time for training and to answer calls. They don’t have to. But we’re so grateful that they do.