ND firefighters deliver PPE to hospitals after truck carrying supplies crashes

The firefighters brought the supplies back to the station where they sorted them and then completed the delivery


Ann Bailey
Grand Forks Herald

FINLEY, N.D. — Two rural North Dakota hospitals are grateful that the Finley (N.D.) Fire Department came to their rescue.

The fire department delivered medical supplies to the Northwood Deaconess Health Center and Sanford Mayville Medical Center after a truck containing personal protective equipment to help prepare them for the coronavirus pandemic overturned near Finley on Thursday, April 2.

Firefighters from the Finley Fire Department delivered PPE to hospitals after a the North Dakota Department of Transportation semitruck carrying the supplies crashed last week.
Firefighters from the Finley Fire Department delivered PPE to hospitals after a the North Dakota Department of Transportation semitruck carrying the supplies crashed last week. (Photo/Finley Volunteer Fire Department)

The semi was one of several North Dakota Department of Transportation vehicles that were delivering personal protective equipment to hospitals across North Dakota last week. The accident 7 miles east of Finley occurred on North Dakota 200 after a gust of wind hit the truck, sending it off the road and into the ditch.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum recognized the efforts of the Finley Volunteer Fire Department to get the supplies to their destination during his coronavirus press conference held Friday, April 3.

“This is a great example of North Dakotans stepping up during this time of emergency and doing whatever it takes,” Burgum said during the press conference, which was livestreamed on the North Dakota Department of Health Facebook page.

The driver of the truck was OK after the accident, but his truck was not, said Brandon Oxton, chief of the volunteer fire department in Finley.

“It was pretty beat up,” Oxton said.

He and the other nine firefighters who responded to the call loaded up the boxes of personal protective equipment, which included masks, rubber gloves and gowns, and put them in an old Finley ambulance. They then drove back to the fire department in Finley where they sorted out the boxes.

“They were mixed around,” he said.

The volunteer firefighters, with the help of the North Dakota Department of Transportation truck driver, used receipts to match the boxes of PPE equipment with the hospitals to which they belonged. A member of the fire department volunteered to deliver the supplies to the hospitals in Northwood and Mayville, N.D., a couple of hours after the semi accident.

“It was huge for them to bring it,” said Tom Engen, Northwood Deaconess Health Center's human resources director.

The supplies weren’t needed for immediate use, but were ordered for anticipated needs in coming weeks, should the coronavirus pandemic spread, he said.

If the Finley Fire Department hadn’t delivered the supplies, the Northwood health center would have had to re-order the supplies, which likely would have taken a week to receive, according to Engen, adding that having the supplies on hand gives staff at Northwood Deaconess Health Center peace of mind.

“This way, we know we are well supplied for weeks to come,” Engen said.

The Finley Fire Department’s delivery to Sanford Mayville Medical Center also was appreciated, said Jac McTaggart, medical center senior director. The supplies for Sanford Mayville Medical Center, like those for Northwood Deaconess Health Center, were ordered in case there is a surge in coronavirus cases at the hospital.

“Was this important? Absolutely,” McTaggart said. “It gave my staff peace of mind to have it before the expected surge.”

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©2020 the Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, N.D.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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