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History of the Association

Not many ambulance companies/fire departments with EMS divisions can say they have been the sole provider of EMS services to an entire valley and three communities for over 45 years, yet the North Fork Ambulance has been the sole EMS provider to Paonia, Hotchkiss, Crawford and outlying areas since 1969 and has done it all as a non-profit corporation with a staff of volunteers!

Back in 1969 when the Association was founded, the idea was and still is today, to provide the best emergency medical services to our residents possible, utilizing revenue from memberships - not tax levies.

Our initial equipment was pretty bleak compared to what it is today:

  • 1964 Oldsmobile Hearse
  • One Gurney Stretcher
  • Oxygen
  • Suction Equipment
  • First Aid equipment
  • Splints and a single backboard

In 1969, the Association only had one "ambulance" to respond to calls with. So, when a call came in for a patient in Hotchkiss or Crawford, someone would pick up the ambulance in Paonia and then go pickup someone in Hotchkiss to respond to the scene. Sometimes the procedure would be reversed and the ambulance would be kept in Hotchkiss.

Since those early days, the Association has grown and we now have a fleet of five (5) diesel ambulances centrally located in Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford to quickly respond to all corners of our service area.

A short history of the Association's equipment:

  • 1969 - Oldsmobile Hearse donated by the Rotary Club


  • 1971 - First Type 1 Ambulance purchased through a Region 10 Grant
  • 1972 - Chevrolet Vanguard Ambulance purchased
  • 1979 - A dedicated Ambulance was purchased for Paonia


  • 1980 - A dedicated Ambulance was purchased for Hotchkiss
  • 1983 - Crawford station established with a Ford Vanguard Ambulance
  • 1986 - Crawford Ambulance upgraded to a 1979 Vanguard Ambulance


  • 1990 - Paonia Ambulance upgraded
  • 1993 - Crawford Ambulance upgraded
  • 1995 - Hotchkiss Ambulance upgraded
  • 1996 - Paonia Ambulance upgraded

2000 on

  • 2003 - Hotchkiss and Paonia receive 2002 Ford Econoline Type II Ambulances with diesel engines
  • 2004 - Crawford Ambulance upgraded to current 2005 Model year Type II Powerstroke Diesel Ambulance
  • 2004 - Secondary Ambulance added to Hotchkiss Station
  • 2008 - Paonia Ambulance upgraded with a 2009 GMC Type II Duramax Diesel Ambulance
  • 2009 - Paonia Ambulance Station suffers catastrophic fire - both ambulances are lost and station is gutted
  • 2010
    • Paonia station receives two brand new 2010 Ford Econoline Type II PowerStroke ambulances to replace ones lost in 2009 fire.
    • LifePak 15 Heart Monitor/AEDs added to three ambulances - one each in Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford at cost of $19,350/each
  • 2011 - Stairchairs purchased with grant for all five ambulances at a cost of $12,946/each.
  • 2012 - LifePak 15 Monitors added to Secondary rigs in Hotchkiss and Paonia
  • 2013
    • Lucas II Automated CPR Machines purchased and installed in three rigs - one each in Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford - $11,814/each
    • Association Graphic Re-Branding - All new look for ambulances and new logo/look for Association
  • 2014
    • Association implements the use of Toolkit Group's "EMS Toolkit" for personnel Management, payroll and training.
    • Lucas II Automated CPR Machines purchased and added to secondary rigs in Hotchkiss and Paonia at cost of $11,814 each
    • Five Stryker PowerCots purchased on a State Grant to assist EMTs in moving patients. Cots purchased at cost of $16,293 each


PowerCot LifePak AED