The Caledonia Ambulance department has seen another record setting year for ambulance calls.

“We’ve had a record number of calls this year,” Caledonia Ambulance Director Mike Tornstrom said. “It’s up again from previous years.”

To go along with providing service the ambulance department meets twice a month to discuss business and do trainings in order to keep up to date.

“We gather a lot, because we have meetings twice a month,” Tornstrom said. “We do a topic of business and a topic of training each meeting.”

The department is well staffed to deal with situations that may arise and a group that has a lot of character according to Tornstrom.

“Staffing seems to be getting a little bit better. We have nearly a full house on staffing,” Tornstrom said. “We have a good group, we have one of the best groups. They have good integrity, character, and I cannot say enough good about the members we have.”

Those who have recently joined this great crew are, Sarah Barnes and Taylor Crapcer.

The department hosts a range of classes throughout the year and are done through request. The classes are done through the American Heart Association.

“They are usually scheduled by request,” Tornstrom said. “Businesses will call and ask, and then we set them up. Otherwise, you can call and make a request and we can pull you in.”

One of the goals of the department is to improve where people can find information and sign up for classes on the city website.

“One of the things we are working on is to be a little bit more transparent about the classes we have out there, and get them on the city website,” Tornstrom said.

With the weather finally starting to warm up, Tornstrom had some summer safety tips. “As far as safety tips, slow down wear helmets, and think before act,” Tornstrom said. “Thinking before you act being the most important and the rest following that.”

The ambulance department is looking ahead to it’s big annual chicken-q fund raiser. It is on Sunday, May 19 and the department will be serving a complete chicken dinner starting at 10:30 a.m. at the ambulance station, 304 E Main Street.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting an ambulance crew member or at the Caledonia City Hall or Police Department. Tickets are $10 each and you don’t need to buy a ticket in advance.

The money raised will go towards helping to purchase a second LUCAS automated CPR device. Currently the department splits one between the two ambulances and equipping ambulances with both would help the EMS providers.

“We have one of those already in our front line truck,” Tornstrom said. “It is our goal to have both ambulances stocked identically allowing us to provide the highest quality care.”

The LUCAS device is a crucial piece of equipment for EMS staff and can give someone experiencing cardiac arrest a greater chance of survival. The LUCAS device the department already has will be on display at the fund raiser.

“That is just one device that has been proven to be a very valuable asset for cardiac arrest survival,” Tornstrom said.

The Chicken-q fund raiser serves two purposes for the ambulance department. The first is to raise money to help the department purchase equipment and other things. The second is to meet with people of the community.

“This gives people a chance to come to the station and meet the people who work on the ambulance,” Tornstrom said. “We do believe community involvement is hugely important for the department.”

The chicken-q kicks of EMS week for the Caledonia Ambulance Department. EMS week is May 19-25. EMS week recognizes all first responders and this year’s theme is Beyond the call.

“Whether we are on call or not any EMS provider is always willing to help whether they need to be or not,” Tornstrom said.

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