On Friday, Aug. 28, the American Red Cross Southwest Colorado Chapter unveiled a new Emergency Response Vehicle that will help the Red Cross respond to local disasters ranging from house fires to multi-day events.
The new vehicle was made possible through the generosity of numerous community partners who worked together to convert a used, 1996 Chevrolet ambulance into a disaster response vehicle capable of delivering services during the Durango area’s varied weather conditions.
“We are so grateful to everyone who came together to help fill a need so that we can be there for local residents when disaster strikes,” said Cindi Shank, Executive Director of the Red Cross. Southwest Colorado Chapter.
It all started when Los Pinos Fire Department donated the former ambulance to the local Red Cross chapter. The ambulance was in good shape, but needed a new battery, windshield and tires. It also needed to be retrofitted on the inside to serve Red Cross disaster-response purposes, such as hauling hot meals, water, cots and blankets.
The Red Cross turned to the La Plata Electric Roundup Foundation and numerous local donors for the grants and donations needed to pay for the repairs, upgrades and retrofitting.
Now, the vehicle is ready to roll. It will be used to respond on local house fires as well as extended emergency responses.
“We will be able to interview clients and give them a safe, quiet and warm (or cool) place to go,” Shank said. “We will also be providing food and water to our local emergency responders from the vehicle.”
The vehicle will primarily serve needs in Southwest Colorado, but may also be called out to help residents affected by larger disasters in Colorado, such as the Black Forest Fire.