Call volumes are up...way up at Ballard Ambulance in Wenatchee.

Co-owner Shawn Ballard says the increase in demand for emergency service at the company skyrocketed in 2022.

"We had almost right at a thousand more calls than we did in 2021. We had about 8,000 calls in 2021 and were at just over 9,000 calls last year. That's a huge increase for us. I don't ever remember us having a jump of that many calls in a single year."

Ballard says there are several reasons for the marked increase in calls to the ambulance company for help.

"There are a number of things which have contributed to the increase. For one thing, the population of the Wenatchee Valley is growing and that just adds more people into the mix. But we're also receiving so many more calls for mental health assistance, as well as drug-related calls - especially for fentanyl overdoses. And those things along with what I'd call the 'fallout' from COVID with all of the respiratory illnesses we've had, is all combining to add up to a greater volume of calls."

With many hospitals at or near full capacity, Ballard adds that his business has also seen a big spike in patient transports, as well as out-of-area assistance calls.

Ballard says he's had few issues with staffing and even added two full crews - one for day shift and one for nightshift - over the past two years.

A sharp uptick in the cost of maintenance and supplies has also hit the company hard over the last several years and Ballard says the waiting list to purchase a new ambulance is now over two years.

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