Dakotas Region Red Cross Rolls Out New Emergency Response Vehicle

The vehicle can hold up to four volunteers when heading to an emergency

FARGO, N.D. — The Dakotas Region of the American Red Cross is freshening up its approach to emergencies by introducing a brand new emergency response vehicle.

Last year, Red Cross volunteers traveled thousands of miles in emergency response vehicles to assist in more than 400 emergencies across the country.

However, Red Cross leaders say their lineup of emergency response vehicles was falling prone to wear and tear.

“Our fleet was aging. It takes a lot more time and resources to be able to maintain the old fleet,” said Kirk Douglas, the Emergency Disaster Manager for the American Red Cross Dakotas Region.

Some local volunteers got to hop in newer ERV’s during nationwide responses, and wanted to have their own in Fargo.

“I’ve driven one, a little bit but not too much. They are nice and quiet and comfortable,” said Paul Henke, a Red Cross volunteer from Valley City.

The Next Generation ERV has rear–view cameras, more space for food and emergency supplies, and is more comfortable for those who come inside.

“This new vehicle allows our volunteers to provide better services to the client. There’s rear AC, so you’ve got cooling for both the volunteers and the clients,” Douglas said.

The new ERV can fit up to four volunteers when going to an emergency, and once they get there, they can hand out emergency supplies to those in need right at eye level.

“It’s kind of like you’re connecting more with the people, you’re not just staring down, you know, three feet at them,” Barb Henke, a volunteer from Valley City, said.

With five ERV’s located around the region, some are just glad that the Red Cross can bolster its reach and ability to help during emergencies.

“We’re just really pleased to be able to bring this vehicle into our fleet, so that we can enhance the service that we’re bringing out to the people, not only in our local communities, but throughout this region, and as needed for our national responses,” said Lynn Speral, CEO of the American Red Cross Dakotas Region.

The new ERV cost $125,000, and was funded through donations by the Otto Bremer Trust, Nodak Insurance, and Essentia Health.

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