The Spring Valley Area Ambulance Service recently purchased a rehabilitation tent to help provide rehabilitation services — including warming or cooling, medical assessments and treatment — inside the portable structure at fires and other emergencies.
The Spring Valley Area Ambulance Service recently purchased a rehabilitation tent to help provide rehabilitation services — including warming or cooling, medical assessments and treatment — inside the portable structure at fires and other emergencies.
The Spring Valley Ambulance Service's new rehabilitation tent will help protect hearts.

"Heart attacks are a leading cause of death in the fire service. The National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) has identified rehabilitation for firefighters as essential in reducing work-related heart attacks and injuries due to fatigue. It has been a few years, but we have had to transport firefighters in the past for chest pain and other injuries," said Spring Valley Ambulance Service Coordinator Jim Cooper.

He is pleased to announce the Spring Valley Ambulance Service now has a rehabilitation tent, courtesy of the Spring Valley Area Ambulance Association, and will be able to properly provide rehabilitation services - including warming or cooling, medical assessments and treatment - inside the portable structure at fires and other emergencies.

Cooper noted, "It will provide a place where firefighters can take a rest, receive a medical evaluation and get fluids and nourishment. It will give them a chance to cool off or get warmed up before going back onto the fire ground."

He said the service decided to make a few changes after the fire at True Value last summer. The tent was ordered in September and was delivered in November.

The coordinator added, "We had an opportunity to obtain a grant from Southeast Minnesota Emergency Medical Services (SMEMS) for $2,000 and decided to take advantage of the grant opportunity. We dipped into some leftover donation money that we were planning to use for another project to pay for the tent. The entire rehab unit was donated back to the city in February."

Cooper added, "The tent, along with its related equipment, cost $4,825, delivered. We also have acquired a trailer, generator, heater, cooling chairs and other equipment that we need to become operational. The estimated cost of the entire project is about $14,000."

The Spring Valley Fire Department recently donated $2,500 to the association to help pay for equipment for the new rehab trailer.

Cooper expressed the department's need for funding to pay off the equipment, as the ambulance association requested donations from area residents in a recent fundraising campaign for just that purpose.

"We still need to raise some money to finish paying for the balance of the equipment. Along with the grant from SMEMS, we have received some donations, but we still need to raise about $6,000 to finish the project."

Cooper shared how helpful it will be having the rehab tent on the scene. "This rehab shelter will be a very useful tool in aiding both the ambulance service and the fire department in taking care of our firefighters by providing a place for them to rest, get evaluated and get a chance to get rehabilitated.

"The ambulance service does the required medical evaluations and helps to determine whether or not a firefighter can go back to the fire scene. We have done medical evaluations for several years, often in the back of the ambulance or just at a spot where we can get our firefighters to take a break."

Cooper said the tent, along with the needed equipment, is transported in a trailer and pulled either by a private vehicle or an ambulance. Once the scene the tent will "give us a place to work where we have lighting and a controlled environment."

Cooper concluded, "It will also provide an emergency shelter for mass casualty incidents and can serve as a first aid shelter at public events."