At the turn of the 19th century, Bloomfield’s first ambulance looked like a white hearse pulled by two horses and had a clanging bell. This hearse was operated by the Kalar Hospital, opperated by Dr. Sarah Kalar and her husband.
Before the Department of Health stepped in, it was also common for ambulances to be run by funeral homes.
Norma Ober was the Bloomfield EMS secretary for 30 plus years and took extensive notes. According to those notes, in the late 60’s, the Department of Health required ambulance personnel to have some first aid training in order to be a private ambulance service. They also required the ambulance be manned 24 hours a day.
In 1969, the City of Bloomfield bought a Ford van and volunteers started manning it, which was the beginning of the official Bloomfield EMS as the public knows it. Not long after, Art Anderson of Bloomfield trained six volunteers with a basic 18 hour Red Cross course.
At the time, people in need of an ambulance would call Good Samaritan Society. The nursing home would then call 373-3333 which would ring in all the EMT’s residences to notify them of the need.
In the early 70’s, the state started requiring volunteers to take an 81-hour EMT training course, which Art Anderson trained many of these volunteers.
Lyle DeFord later trained the EMT 81-hour course and First Responder 40-hour course across a wide area of northeast Nebraska.
In 1976, the Ruritan group helped the Lindy community build a new fire and ambulance hall. Lindy’s first ambulance was an old white Buick.
Four Lindy residents drove to Niobrara to take the 81-hour EMT course by Lyle DeFord.
In the late 70’s, Bloomfield was instrumental in organizing the five area towns to form KARA (Knox Area Rescue Association), and it was decided to have a mutual aid agreement. This allows Knox County towns to help each other on calls if needed.
The Bloomfield/Lindy EMS has come a long way in 50 years of service to the communities.
According to EMT Bryan Young, modern day training has increased to 160 hours for new EMTs and a two-year program for paramedics. And many hours of continuing education each year to keep state licenses current.
The 373-3333 hotline Good Sam would call had been replaced by pagers and Knox County Sheriff dispatch. Pagers were eventually replaced by radios and now, EMS is notified through their cell phones with a responsive app.
The ambulances themselves have also gone through some great changes. Bloomfield’s Ford van and Lindy’s Buick were replaced by modern ambulances which are full of equipment that can help patients in almost any scenario.
“The back of our ambulances, along with our paramedics, are basically a miniature emergency room,” Young said.
Bloomfield/Lindy has a great EMS crew made up of 19 members with many years of experience. They currently have one Emergency Medical Responder, Bryan Ruhr; 14 Emergency Medical Technicians, Brandon Barger, Jeff Barger, Ken Gill, Michaela Jessen, Kelly Kumm, Ben Lauck, Norma Ober, Redina Redwing, Katie Reicks, Lindsay Skroch, Dallas Suhr, Gail Suhr, Bernard Wagner and Bryan Young; one nurse/EMT, Minnie Sauser; and three paramedics, Jeff Holtz, Jon Sahagun and Michael Schainost.
Bloomfield/Lindy ambulances are currently equipped and licensed as Advanced Life Support Service. At least one paramedic is needed to be licensed this way.
“Not a lot of volunteer-type ambulances are Advanced Life Support Service,” Young said.
The crew also has several air medical helicopters they can call if needed.
“Overall, that terminology means we can do so much for people than just a crew of EMTs,” he explained.
In 2015, Bloomfield was the first volunteer community in Nebraska to hire a full-time paramedic due to the short availability of help during the day. Now, the crew has three.
Bloomfield/Lindy covers approximately 110-140 responses a year, transporting to many of the local hospitals.
“I have a list from Norma of names upon names that served as volunteers over the years,” Young said.
According to him, there has been roughly 150 volunteers in the last 50 years. There isn’t a shortage of members with 19 currently on the EMS crew, but more help is always sought after.
With such high credentials and so many years of experience, the Bloomfield/Lindy EMS is a great crew to join and learn from.
If anyone yearns to become a beneficial member of the community by joining the EMS crew, Bryan Young would love a chance to explain how Bloomfield/Lindy EMS can help new members get the training they need. There is also a nurse-to-EMT bridge class for nurses who would like to also become an EMT. If interested, Young can be reached at 402-640-2348.