MARLOW — It’s just one ambulance.
But getting it back on the road is a promising development as the region tries to address an emergency medical response system that many in the field say is reaching a breaking point.
In March, Marlow Ambulance became the third agency of its kind in the region to fold within the past 10 years.
The small, volunteer-run service covered Marlow for decades, and at one time also responded to medical calls in Gilsum and Lempster.
Its closure came after Capt. Loretta E. Loring, who ran the service for 35 years, and other longtime members of the agency retired.
Without an ambulance service to cover the town of about 740 residents, town officials have turned to a private ambulance company about 15 miles away in Keene for help.
This has not only increased ambulance response times for emergency medical calls in Marlow — which, based on town reports for the past five years, average about 40 calls annually — but it has also put further strain on an EMS system in the region that’s already stretched thin.
Coupled with funding challenges, the strain has come from a decrease in volunteers and personnel paid per call to run ambulances, and an increase in call volumes.
That in mind, Marlow selectmen hoped to restart the town’s ambulance service and have it be part of the solution, Selectmen Chairman Robert Allen said the day after the service shut down.
Under the care of the Marlow Fire Department, efforts are underway to restore the ambulance, and hopefully have it rolling with a crew in the next few months.
The department is still seeking emergency medical technicians who are already licensed — and waiting for some of its members to finish up an EMT class — to have enough people to answer calls, Marlow Fire Chief Sean Brewer said.
The fire department has also been renamed to Marlow Fire & EMS to…