Emergency response vehicle needed to help save West Kootenay lives

Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association is fundraising for a dedicated response vehicle.

The Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association hopes to purchase a response vehicle outfitted like this one.

The Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association hopes to purchase a response vehicle outfitted like this one.

The doctor who responds to emergency medical calls in the West Kootenay needs a better vehicle to get there.

Dr. Nick Sparrow and the Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association (KERPA) are raising money for a dedicated emergency response vehicle to enhance pre-hospital emergency care.

But they need your help.

KERPA was founded with a simple purpose – to help critically ill and injured patients. They are trying to support the emergency services available — not trying to replace them.

As KERPA’s front-line physician Sparrow has been on almost 300 emergency calls in the last four years as a volunteer. He gets dispatched to the most severe 911 calls in the West Kootenay — the automobile crashes, the overdoses, the heart attacks.

West Kootenay doctor brings innovative approach to emergency response

Sparrow has been making those calls in his personal vehicle, which isn’t ideal for several reasons. The vehicle is not extremely visible when parked at a road-side accident scene, Sparrow carries the personal liability when using it, and supplies are not easily stored in it.

A dedicated response vehicle would solve those problems.

KERPA has non-profit status so the organization can apply for grants and funding, take on insurance liabilities and eventually apply for a lights and sirens permit for the vehicle. They operate in a very similar fashion to search and rescue organizations.

“The bottom line is that we need a large amount of money in order to do this,” said Sparrow. “But if you don’t dream big and you don’t ask, you are unlikely to get.

“We really need public support and company sponsorships in order to really take this the next step.”

Kerpa says with the right amount of support, they can bring more care to assist emergency services.

“We have to keep dreaming big for the Kootenays,” concluded Sparrow.

Sparrow’s dream includes getting the vehicle here in time for Canada Day — but that would require the funding coming in during the next few weeks.

The total costs for the vehicle are $37,500. KERPA is hoping to get about half of that from grants. About $1,000 has already come in for the project leaving a little over $15,000 to be raised locally.

Donations can be made through kerpa.org, the KERPA Response Car campaign at gofundme.com or by cheque.

KERPA is also looking for corporate sponsors for their vehicle. If you are interested, contact KERPA at admin@kerpa.org for a sponsorship package.

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