- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A new ambulance station in southeast Bismarck will allow paramedics to respond to an emergency in Lincoln in as little as five minutes.

Construction of the Metro Area Ambulance Services facility began this spring and recently was completed, with the company moving in to the 4,565-square-foot garage at the end of October. The facility is large enough to hold two two-member crews, each with their own ambulance, and puts them about 2 1/2 miles closer to neighboring communities.

“This side of the city has just grown significantly,” Dan Schaefer, Metro’s operations director, told the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1MKaL4L ). “We’ve just been watching and decided this was the right decision to make.”

The company also has stations covering the north and southwest parts of Bismarck and all of Mandan. Schaefer said stations are “strategically located” to keep response times under nine minutes, which he said happens roughly 95 percent of the time.

Schaefer said Metro made the move to the new station because response times were slipping to 10 and 11 minutes in that area.

“That’s a long time when you start thinking about a person in a critical situation,” Schaefer said. He added that rhe company will be able to judge the effect of the new station on response times in January.

The new location’s proximity to Interstate 94 will allow Metro to respond faster to rural communities, including Moffit and Sterling. Being close to railroad tracks will make them easier to cross, and ambulances will be able to get on Bismarck Expressway from Main Avenue when the road is blocked.

The building was also built to support Metro’s disaster response vehicles, Schaefer said. The company was paying to store a bus-sized ambulance unit, disaster trailers and a command center bus.

“This building will actually be quite full most of the time; there’s going to be a lot of stuff in here,” Schaefer said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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