With previous stations at St. Vincent Clay Hospital in Brazil and a private residence in Clay City, Terre Haute-based TransCare conducted ribbon cuttings at new locations Tuesday.
"We've had several people step up to the plate and assist us in finding stable locations to house our operations," TransCare President Russell Ferrell told The Brazil Times.
Ferrell was especially pleased to have a station of its own in Clay City, located at 102 Poplar St., rather than housing operations at a private residence.
"Even though the run volume is minimal in Clay City, it is great to have the ability to run out of a professional station," he said. "The garage is especially beneficial because we are able to provide better protection and maintenance on the vehicles."
The new Clay City station has also allowed for the inclusion of additional amenities TransCare did not previously have.
"We have installed cameras in and around the building," Ferrell said. "It's not so much to keep a constant eye on the employees, but if we have a situation where we can't establish contact, we can check and see what is happening."
For the Brazil station, located at 103 W. Jackson St., Ste. B, the new building was a matter of necessity.
"The hospital had other needs for the area we were previously housed," Ferrell said. "We were given a little extra time to move our Brazil operations at the start of the year because contract negotiations took a little longer to complete."
TransCare received help in finding a stable Brazil location through the help of Clay City resident Daryl Andrews, who co-owns the Clay City property with Heidi Reagan and purchased the former Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1127, which was modified for the new station. The building housing the Brazil station is also being shared with Sunshine Realty Group, LLC.
While construction was still commencing, TransCare began formal operations out of the Brazil station on March 23, and in Clay City April 3.
"It has been much easier to operate out of stable stations because it makes contact better and the crews feel better as well," TransCare Chief of Operations Faril Ward told The Brazil Times. "Staffing has been easy and a lot of the people are happy to work here."
Currently, the Brazil and Clay City stations house one ambulance apiece, but there are plans to house a second one overnight in Brazil.
"There is still a little bit of work to be done on the second bay at the Brazil station," Ward said.
According to Ward, the "floater" ambulance does more than just play back up.
"It also does convalescence runs in Vigo and Clay counties, like transports to and from nursing homes and dialysis appointments," he said. "Where it is during a time when there are no runs varies, so it doesn't just sit."
"There is a light on the front of the building that flashes when the door is open so those in the immediate area will know that we are either heading our or coming back from a run," Ward told The Brazil Times. "With the proximity to homes, we don't plan on using sirens as we come out of the station."
While glad to have stable locations for TransCare's operations in Clay County, Ferrell was most proud of the support given to them.
"It has been a cohesive effort between us, the Clay County Commissioners and members of the community to make this happen," Ferrell said. "Hopefully, we will be able to provide even better service to the community that has helped us."