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Rural ambulance services in Iowa are straining under spiking gas prices

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DENVER, Iowa (KWWL) -- Ambulance services across Iowa, especially those in small rural communities, are feeling the strain from increased fuel prices.

In Denver, Iowa the ambulance service bases their budget on prices they've paid in the previous fiscal year. With the price of fuel and other medical items hitting historic highs, that budget is getting eaten up way faster than expected.

The Denver ambulance service covers 160 square miles, with just two diesel powered ambulances for the area. Amber Heller is the director of the Denver's ambulance service. She says on average their vehicles are going at least 50 miles per call, and often travel much farther. 

She worries if prices stay high they'll have to cut corners to keep responding when needed.

"It takes out of another line item, which may be patient supplies or equipment that needs to be updated, Heller said. "And maybe you don't get to do those updates as soon as you would like to or of if things are failing you may have go without. Just so that you can at least provide an ambulance down the road. "

The current fiscal year ends in June. Heller says for her this means they might need to cut corners, liking pushing off repairing or replacing broken equipment. However she says if prices get too high to manage they'll work with Denver officials so they can continue serving the community to the best extent.