The Edge of the Wilderness area in northern Minnesota may be remote, but the emergency services are designed to reach even snowmobilers on a winter trail in the woods or a party fishing on an isolated forest lake. Bigfork Valley maintains a level IV Trauma designation through the Minnesota Department of Health.
The Bigfork Ambulance Service Association (BASA) is dispatched by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department 911 service. It covers Bigfork and the surrounding rural area with two ambulances and specialized equipment such as a covered rescue stretcher that can be towed by an ATV or snowmobile. Two trained emergency medical technician (EMT) members are always within 5 minutes of the ambulance building. BASA is augmented with equipment from the Bigfork Volunteer Fire Department.
Should transfer to another facility for more extensive care be necessary, appropriate transport is available via Bigfork Ambulance Service, Advanced Life Support ground service from nearby communities or via helicopter or fixed wing air ambulance, depending on the patient’s health care needs.
Bigfork Valley’s onsite helipad provides a convenient landing access for the air ambulance while fixed wing ambulance can land at the Bigfork Municipal Airport just north of town.
Emergency services are provided by a physician in a well-equipped Emergency Department with 2 trauma rooms, 2 treatment rooms, one of which is a negative airflow room. The department is adjacent to the main hospital and centrally located to the lab, imaging and surgical departments. There is physician coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Bigfork Valley also has a permanent decontamination room for incidents where a person is exposed to a hazardous external chemical. The decontamination room allows for a series of contained water washes and is accessible through a separate entrance next to the main the emergency room entrance.