History

"We are going to save more lives at tremendous cost.  Less speed and more expertise at the scene of the accident is the trend."
-- Dr. Richard Seimens, June 1974 when Porter & Sillin gave up the ambulance business

1960s Ambulance service is provided by the local Funeral Homes, with Rice County being no exception.  Ambulance vehicles were usually station wagons or funeral hearses and training was virtually non-existent beyond American Red Cross First Aid.

The Untied States Department of Transportation developed and implemented a standard curriculum that becomes the basis for all EMT programs, nation wide.  They also set minimum standards that must be met before a vehicle may be called an ambulance.  Due to these new restrictions, funeral home operators all across the county gave notice that they would no longer provide ambulance service.

6/17/1974 Virgil Sillin gave notice that effective December 31, 1974 his funeral home would no longer provide ambulance services, citing too small a call volume to sustain a private service and the lack of sufficiently trained help.  Raymond Alber of Williamson Funeral Home in Little River said he would continue to operate an ambulance for the City of Little River.  This lasted only a short time as he was also forced to close, due to increasing regulations.

Mr. Sillin recommended to the Board of County Commissioners that two ambulances be purchased and staffed with four full time EMT's.  They would be placed at each of the hospitals in the county, with one being in Sterling and one in Lyons.  Rice County and the Sterling Community Hospital did reach an agreement to operate an ambulance service for all of Rice County, with the County providing a subsidy not to exceed $20,000 for the budget year 1975.  Rice County Ambulance is born and the Sterling Community Hospital purchases an ambulance with private donations and Federal Grants.

8/26/1975 EMS personnel present the second quarter report to the commissioners that state they have ran 51 calls in the Sterling area generating $2,910.00 and 63 calls in the Lyons area generating $3,727.00 in revenue.
11/1975 A second ambulance was purchased by the Sterling Hospital.
01/1976 Hospital District #1 Board of Directors meet with the County Commissioners to request one the county ambulance units be moved to Lyons.  This would increase the county subsidy from $20,000 to $68,000.  No action is taken at this time.
07/1976 The Sterling Community Hospital closes and the City of Sterling agrees to continue to operate the ambulance with the same county subsidy.  Frank Cain served as the Director of the Service in addition to his duties as the City of Sterling Police Chief.
09/1976 Claflin Ambulance approaches the County Commissioners requesting a subsidy for calls made into Rice County, primarily the Bushton area.  The Commissioners agree to $25.00 per response.  (It is only $50.00 per response today)
8/23/1977 A new ambulance is purchased for $19,859.55 and it is the first time that county money is used to make the purchase, making it truly the first county owned unit.
7/17/1978 The Lyons Chamber of Commerce presents a resolution to the Board of County Commissioners to place an ambulance in Lyons.  Plans are made to move one ambulance from Sterling to Lyons and be housed behind the Lyons Police Station.  Due to the lack of personnel, is estimated the move will not occur before October of 1979.  Also involved is obtaining a financial commitment from the City of Lyons not unlike the City of Sterling has done since the beginning of Rice County EMS.
5/01/1979 An ambulance is moved permanently from Sterling to Lyons with a financial commitment from Lyons to purchase pagers for the volunteer staff and to provide a $9,000.00 the first year. 
Early 1980s The Sterling ambulance is moved from the city shop to an abandoned filling station located on South Broadway.  This was a joint effort between Rice County and the City of Sterling and is maintained today as a non-manned facility with an ambulance and a first responder vehicle.  Roger Sunley was appointed Director of EMS to replace Frank Cain who accepted a position with the Kansas Board of EMS.
11/1989 The Lyons station was moved to the District Hospital  #1, with the purchase of a mobile home to be used as an office.
03/1995 Terry L. David is appointed Director of EMS and given the orders to upgrade the service to Advanced Life Support capability and improve the billing and collection procedures.
08/1995 Cardiac Monitors, advanced airway equipment and medications are placed on ambulances, with the first out of hospital cardiac arrest field save being performed in October.

The work schedule is changed to meet the demands of call location and personnel availability.  Rather than have two personnel in each Lyons & Sterling, one crew is assigned to rotate between the Sterling and Lyons station and be supplemented by First Responders.  This allows coverage during the night and weekend hours, as volunteers continue to decline.

09/1995 Rice County EMS sponsors an EMT-Intermediate class for any local EMT who desires the training.  The program is taught by Hutchinson Community College and held at the Sterling Station.
01/1997 The communities of Chase, Sterling & Little River are well underway on fundraising activities to purchase cardiac defibrillators. 
02/1997 A third ambulance is purchased to help with the increasing call volume and the rising number of transfers to hospitals outside of Rice County.

This ambulance is a new unit purchased from Wheeled Coach for a cost of $79,954.00.  Money is substantially saved as one additional unit is "remounted" by placing a currently owned ambulance box on a new chassis.  The Board of County Commissioners also gives the go-ahead to proceed forward with building a new EMS station in Lyons.

08/1997 The Board of County Commissioners approve the application of a grant to assist with the construction of a new facility for the Health Department and EMS.
12/1997 Volunteers continue to decline nationwide, as well as locally, and two part-time personnel are hired to help, Chy Miller and Amanda Gustus.   Personnel are now manning the Lyons station on a part time basis and when not in Lyons, they are at the Sterling station and assigned 24 hour duty, however are going home at 1100 PM and responding from home due to lack of appropriate facilities. 
01/1999 Paramedic Aubrey Miller (Herman) Miller and Amanda Gustus EMT-I, (who was working as a part-time employee) are hired to form a third full-time crew.  This allows Rice County EMS the option of providing care without depending so heavily on volunteer help.
02/2000 Construction is started on the new building to house the Rice County Health Department and EMS.  The cost of the building is $785,000.00 with a Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing providing $380,000.00
02/2001 Rice County EMS moves into its new facility and begins having a crew at the station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond.