Grand County EMS: Early winter busiest time of year for emergency service |

Grand County EMS: Early winter busiest time of year for emergency service

Grand County, Colorado

This time of year is one of the busiest for Grand County Emergency Medical Services.

And things are about to get more hectic.

Pretty soon the wind will start blowing, causing blizzard conditions, according to EMS Chief Ray Jennings. More car accidents occur during ski season, and EMS sends will be ready.

“Our local ambulance service is capable of taking just about anything ” people who are very ill, critically ill, from here to Denver, without having to rely on whether or not flights can come,” Jennings said. “Flight for Life is a tool to get people from one place to another faster than we can typically drive.”

However, it only makes it into Grand County between 10 percent and 12 percent of the time, he said. It also costs about $2,300 for an EMS ambulance ride from Granby to Denver, compared to $23,000 for a helicopter ride. Flight For Life cannot respond when it snows, is overcast, or if winds are 80 to 100 mph, he said.

“We actually are the ones that respond to the calls and transport people and get them to the clinic,” Jennings added.

The ambulance service has grown throughout the years, and the EMS staff has received more training and education, he said.

“We impact more than 1,400 lives a year,” Jennings said.

EMS receives an average of about 2,000 calls a year. It offers ground ambulance services, including emergency response, point of care treatment, and medical care. It is the sole ground ambulance provider for all of Grand County.

“It keeps growing,” Jennings said. “We have been improving the level of care and availability of care to the community.”

The clinic the ambulance transfers patients to depends on their need.

“We try to go to the local facility first and let them do some stabilization,” Jennings said. “Then we will transfer them to another facility if they need to go there.”

About 50 percent of calls are out of county transfers.

“The number one user of the EMS are county residents,” Jennings said.

Grand County EMS has a staff of 39 full-time employees. It has four stations: Station 1 is the Central station in Granby; Station two is in Fraser; Station three is in Grand Lake (this is a combined station with the Grand Lake Fire Department); and Station four is in Kremmling.

“It’s not just a ride to the hospital anymore,” Jennings said. “Our staff does a very unique and wonderful job. The training and education that we have, and the tools that we use are very dynamic. Most of what you’ll find in the back of our ambulance is the same stuff you’d find in an emergency room. So, basically we are a moving, mobile emergency room on wheels.”

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or

Grand County EMS facts

– Grand County EMS provides services from EMT Basic Life Support to Paramedic Critical Care/ Advanced Life Support

– It has provided the community with 38 years of service. It began service in January 1970 as Grand County Ambulance in the Sheriff’s Office. In 1974, Grand County Ambulance became a separate department of Grand County Government.

– The coverage area includes Rocky Mountain National Park and areas adjacent to Grand County. The EMS Department services an area of more than 2,200-square-miles. It cares for a population of more than 13,000 residents, as well as more than 4 million visitors.

– EMS also does more than 30 community standbys a year at football games, community events, rodeos, snow mobile races and police activities. Many of the standbys are in Kremmling.

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