Altru provides paramedic emergency services to the majority of Grand Forks county, portions of Marshal County, Minnesota, and a large percentage of Polk County, Minnesota. Altru's paramedics are trained to function under an assortment of circumstances since the emergency calls received vary dramatically. Our paramedics maintain proficient emergency care by providing care to nearly 5,000 patients each year.
To ensure safe and dignified ambulance services for all of patients, Altru has added 3 bariatric capable ambulances to its fleet. These special units boast the following features:
- Additional space: extra room in the rear of the ambulance for the patient and crew allows for easier access to equipment and more comfort and safety during the transfer
- Special equipment: larger blood pressure cuffs, a transfer cot which is designed to carry up to 1,600 pounds, and specialty ramps ensure safe transfers in and out of the ambulance
Please call 911 for an emergency. For questions related to Altru's ambulance services please call 701.780.1551.
Altru's highly trained professionals are proficient in responding to emergency calls.
- Access to help in an emergency
Altru operates within an Enhanced 911 System. Placing a call for help may be done on any type of phone, by dialing 911. A trained dispatcher answers the call and immediately sends an ambulance, first responders, and if indicated law enforcement officers.
- Responses to calls
Safety is a priority at Altru. When the public sees an ambulance responding with its lights and siren in use, it is responding to a true emergency. All of Altru's paramedic staff attend annual training in driver safety and proficiency. Advanced training and state of the art equipment allow Altru's paramedics to transport a majority of patients to the hospital without lights and sirens. This reduces risk to the patient, paramedics, and the public while allowing the paramedics to provide the very best patient care.
- Patient assessment and history
Altru's paramedics begin a rapid assessment of the patient's physical condition. The paramedics can immediately begin treatment and relay this medical information to the hospital's emergency room giving them time to prepare for the patient's arrival.
- Emergency Interventions
Paramedics are able to perform many emergency interventions at the patient's side or on the way to the hospital. Treatment of injuries or illnesses performed before a victim is taken to the hospital has proven effective to improve the outcome of the illness or injury. Many skills performed by paramedics are identical to the skills that doctors and nurses provide in the emergency room. Altru's paramedics carry high-tech equipment that is portable and durable enough to be used in any type of environment. Paramedics are able to perform skills such as cardiac monitoring, pulse oximetry, oxygen administration, intubation, and defibrillation. Paramedics are also able to start IV's, and administer emergency medications which may be vital to correcting illnesses or injuries such as heart problems. Altru's paramedics are trained to recognize situations that call for intervention and act quickly to improve the patient's condition. There are a variety of situations that the paramedics are prepared to handle, and frequent training makes them even more proficient with these lifesaving skills. The lifesaving care provided by paramedics assures the patient's condition is given attention from the moment paramedics arrive at the patient's side.
- Intercept Program
One unique opportunity to being a hospital-based ambulance service is the intercept program. If an outlying ambulance service asks for additional help with a critically ill or injured patient, a paramedic team is dispatched to meet them while the ambulance requesting assistance drives towards them. When the two ambulances merge one of Altru's paramedics board the other ambulance and provide advanced care while in route to the emergency department. Advanced equipment and care allow for the highest level of emergency care for all the patients Altru Hospital serves.
Altru's Ambulance Services offers many non-emergency services related to emergency medical services. Inter-facility transfers compose the largest portion of non-emergency services, but Altru EMS also participates in promotional activities.
Interfacility transfers utilize ambulances to move a patient from one facility to another, be it a hospital, long-term care facility, or a residence. These are typically routine in nature, using an ambulance because the patient is still in need of medical care, but needs to be moved to a more appropriate facility. Usual transfers for Altru's paramedics range from Fargo, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester MN.
- Event Coverage
Altru's Ambulance Services provides emergency medical care to all spectators, athletes, and staff at University of North Dakota hockey and football games. These large crowd events have attendances from 5,000 - 14,000 persons, with hockey games being the largest events
Altru's Ambulance Services provides similar coverage to other large events (i.e. concerts at Ralph Engelsted Arena, Alerus Center, and area festivals and celebrations such as the 4th of July events and the Potato Bowl events.) We also provide emergency services, for spectators, crew and drivers, at the races at the River City's Speedway during race season. Paramedics that attend these events are specially trained to meet the unique demands of auto racing.
When more than 400 people are planned to be at an event, an emergency medical provider should be onsite. For more information please call 701.780.1551.
Altru's Ambulance Services is responsible for coordinating the First Responder Network. First Responder agencies have been established in each community in Altru's response area. The goal of the First Responders is to provide rapid emergency care. The network is a combination of paid and volunteer professionals working together with the ultimate goal of saving lives.
Rapid and effective care is the basic tenant of the First Responder system. A variety of medical emergencies are encountered by First Responders on a daily basis, therefore First Responders and EMT-Basics are trained to provide basic care. Although, the Grand Forks Region First Responder services focus is on basic care, they have the ability to perform advanced treatments such as Automatic External Defibrillation and Advanced Airway Maintenance. EMT-Basics may assist patients with medications that may be necessary in medical emergencies. The First Responder network is a state of the art system, which makes the Grand Forks region a safer place to live.
- First Responders are an important link
First responders are trained to deal with a variety of medical issues at all ages. Every unique medical call receives rapid and effective emergency medical care. In addition to defibrillation and emergency treatments, the behind-the-scenes assistance that First Responders provide is valuable to the outcome of the victims of medical emergencies. Their assistance includes preparing the patient for transport, lifting assistance, CPR, and assistance with transport. Sometimes, critical patients may need more attention than a lone Paramedic can give, and the Grand Forks Region First Responders assist with patient care while the ambulance travels to the hospital. This combined effort is essential in the effort of saving lives.
- Communities With First Responders
Several communities in the Grand Forks region base their service in fire departments or as a separate First Responder service. Each First Responder service responds to medical or traumatic emergencies in their vicinity. Most services have pagers that alert the First Responders of calls for service at the same time Altru's emergency medical services is notified. First Responder services in the Grand Forks region communities include:
- Grand Forks Fire Department
- Reynolds Fire Department
- East Grand Forks Fire Department
- Emerado Fire Department
- Grand Forks Police
- Grand Forks Airport Fire Department
- East Grand Forks Police
- Gilby First Responders
- Thompson Fire Department
- Oslo First Responders
- Manvel First Responders
Training for regional First Responder Services is supported by Altru's Ambulance Services and Regional EMS. First Responders have monthly meetings on a variety of medical procedures and advanced airway techniques. Altru's Regional EMS education department provides for the recertification courses necessary to have top notch first responders.
- Medical Control
Medical control is the supervision of local EMS services by a physician as required by the North Dakota century code. Each agency in the Grand Forks region is organized under uniform medical control. Steve Weiser, MD, serves as the medical director for the Grand Forks region First Responder Services. The medical director is responsible for the direct and indirect medical control of First Responder services. Direct medical control is the establishment of a designee to approve medical treatments during emergencies. Indirect medical control is the implementation of protocols. Protocols are standardized instructions on how to treat common emergencies. For emergencies that fall outside the protocols, First Responders refer to medical control designee for approval of treatments.
Mass Casualty Preparedness (MCI)
Altru's Ambulance Services is prepared for any situation. In the event of an incident resulting in a large number of injured persons, Altru possesses a capability to respond. Through our Mass Casualty Response system we have trained responders and equipment on scene quickly. Our MCI trailer can handle the medical needs for over 100 patients.
Altru's ambulance MCI capabilities are also available to all persons living in North Dakota's northeast region. At anytime, day or night, our MCI capabilities can respond to help manage, and provide treatment and transport for a large scale incident.
Four of Altru Health System's paramedics are certified in the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Basic Course and the Advanced SWAT Medic Course - both nationally recognized certifications. These paramedics now form the core of the Tactical Medic Program, a joint venture between Altru Health System and the Grand Forks Police Department.
In addition to the above mentioned national certifications, the Tactical Medics train a minimum of ten hours per month and are on call to respond with the Grand Forks Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) whenever needed. As team members, the paramedics are primarily responsible for the front line, "battlefield" care of citizens and team members injured during SWAT operations. They also represent a sizeable financial commitment on the part of Altru to provide the very best emergency medical services to the members of our community and region.
Knowing what to do when approached by emergency vehicles saves lives and property. As citizens, we have the right to the protective services provided by Altru Hospital and the city of Grand Forks. As drivers, we have an obligation to obey traffic safety regulations, including pulling over to the right-hand side of the road and coming to a complete stop when approached by emergency vehicles.
Clearing the driving path for Ambulances and other emergency vehicles saves precious seconds in a race where minutes count. The lives saved may be those of someone you know or love.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation "Rules of the Road" book contains the following information concerning motorists and emergency vehicles:
- Emergency vehicles always have the right-of-way.
- When an emergency vehicle is flashing its lights or using its siren, you must immediately come to a stop along the right-hand side of the road. You should remain stopped until the emergency vehicle(s) has passed. Do not stop in the middle of an intersection or road.
- When an emergency vehicle is parked at the scene of an accident with its emergency lights flashing, you must drive to the right-hand side of the roadway and stop. Once stopped, you may pass at your own risk if the roadway is clear. If there is a police officer directing traffic at the scene, you must obey his or her instructions.