New ambulance station to solve response time issues in Charlevoix
EMS services in Northern Michigan continue to struggle with both funding and staffing shortages.
But a new ambulance station in Charlevoix County will make the job of local responders a bit easier.
To get anywhere north of downtown Charlevoix, EMS workers deployed from the local fire station would have to dodge heavy traffic and sometimes be delayed by the rise and fall of the Charlevoix bridge.
Hayes Township President Roy Griffitts said in cases where the bridge is closed due to construction, ambulances would have to drive the circumference of Lake Charlevoix — about 40 miles — and sit in a parking lot across the bridge, in case of an emergency.
Griffitts said that time can’t be wasted when someone’s life may be on the line.
“During the summer, the increase in population for tourism swells our small town with its limited road capacity to the breaking point,” he said. “So if someone is in an emergency situation where seconds count, we need to be able to have ambulances available to treat them.”
Griffits said the new station’s location at 9251 Major Douglas Sloan Road in Hayes Township would significantly cut down on response time.
Voters approved a millage increase for the station back in 2021. Griffits said it passed with nearly a four to one majority.
The station can hold up to two ambulances at a time with a pair of EMS workers on staff 24/7.
The facility broke ground in June and construction cost about $1.4 million. Griffitts said upon completing final inspections, the station should be open in mid-March.
There will be an open house for the public to tour the facility from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on March 12.