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EMS Classics is a feature column I write for Canadian Paramedicine.

It is my attempt at giving the younger generation who work in EMS today, a snapshot into the history of ambulance service.

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Photo courtesy of Terry Lange

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Malcolm Stanley and Ron Moffit with their 1953 Cadillac

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Column 45 February/March 2014

Malron Of Portage

In 1967 Malcolm Stanley was operating a Texaco service station in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, when he was asked to submit a bid to operate the ambulance service for the city, population 12,500. His bid was accepted and together with business partner Ron Moffit began Malron Ambulance Service (the Malron name was a combination of their given names). Their first ambulance was a 1953 Cadillac purchased from a military surplus dealer in Regina, Saskatchewan. They applied bold lettering to this car advertising "Malron Of Portage", as well as "Oxygen & 2-Way Radio Equipped".

One year later Stanley and Moffit quit the service station business in order to devote their energy towards providing Portagers with the best ambulance service possible. They set high standards for themselves and soon earned respect within Manitoba ambulance circles; Malron was frequently referred to as being best in the province. Malron staff took all available first aid training and Malcolm Stanley became a certified first aid instructor providing courses to his own crew, school bus drivers in the region as well as to first year psychiatric nursing students at the Manitoba School.

The Malron Ambulance fleet soon included 1960 and 1967 Pontiacs and in 1972, while many of Canada's smaller ambulance services were still using station wagons or ambulance/hearse combination cars, Malron purchased a brand new $15,000 professionally built Superior Pontiac four-stretcher ambulance equipped with front and rear air conditioning and a piped oxygen system. This ambulance was advertised as being the most modern in the Province. By 1977 Malron was operating three ambulances including a new $30,000 Wayne GM modular-type with all the latest equipment.

The owners of Malron Ambulance made two attempts at expanding their ambulance service. Ron Moffit relocated to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1969 in order to start Malron there; this service was sold two years later. In 1974 Malcolm Stanley took over the ambulance service of Gilbart's Funeral Home in Selkirk, Manitoba, but withdrew a few months later when his request for a city subsidy was denied.

In 1974 Stanley and his staff began manufacturing van ambulances during quiet time between calls. They built two ambulances for their own service and another five for other Manitoba communities.

Malron Ambulance was sold in 1980 to Robin Taylor. He changed the name to Portage Ambulance Service and provided EMS to Portage and district up to 2004 when the service was sold to the Central Manitoba Regional Health Authority.

Copyright 2014 Peter Adsten