Program Area:Health - General & Rehabilitative Services / Emergency Medical Services
Grants Received: 2001: $1,125,000
During times of need in most urban communities, the emergency medical service (EMS) team arrives in a matter of minutes; however the scenario in rural areas can be quite different. With limited accessibility and few roads, the dedicated volunteer EMS teams serving rural Alaska communities are dependent upon a reliable vehicle to quickly get to the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, many communities struggled to meet expanding EMS needs in vehicles that were approaching twenty years old and requiring increasing amounts of maintenance following years of hard use in extreme weather conditions
Recognizing common needs within over 140 rural communities, the Code Blue Project was initiated by the six regional EMS agencies and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The collaborative effort raised $6.4 million in new federal, state, and local funds; including $1.125 million from the Rasmuson Foundation. The funds provided 25 ambulances and 29 emergency response and transport vehicles to small, mostly rural communities throughout Alaska. The initiative also modernized emergency communication equipment used by EMS personnel to improve the delivery of emergency radio communication.
"Alaska is a dangerous place to live and visit and good EMS services can easily mean the difference between life and death," said Karen Perdue, the commissioner of Health and Social Service at the time. "It feels really good to help local, mostly volunteer, emergency medical people get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs."