First Norilsk ambulance was horse-drawn

First Norilsk ambulance was horse-drawn

October 11, 2021

In the mid-1950s, the Norilsk ambulance served seven thousand calls a year.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. An ambulance station in Norilsk appeared on February 1, 1939. It was organized at an outpatient clinic for civilians. There were only five people on the staff: a doctor, two paramedics, a nurse and a ‘technical staff’ – a driver who was in charge of medical transport, that is, a horse with a cart.

In 1942, the ambulance had a permanent telephone number – 7-1. And the telephone exchange had to connect any call to the switchboard immediately.

First ambulance converted from an American truck. 1940

In 1944, the ambulance received an adapted car – the American Mack – to help the horse. When Norilsk became a city in 1953, the ambulance fleet already numbered four vehicles.

Despite this, it was not easy for doctors to reach their patients, especially if the call came from a remote village. Because of the snowdrifts, the car had to be stopped far from the residential barracks. And the sick were delivered almost by hand to the car. It was common for ambulance doctors to deliver a baby at home. In the mid-1950s, the Norilsk ambulance already served seven thousand calls a year.

The famous Norilsk doctor Rodionov is operating in the Norillag’s hospital. 1945

The most difficult situation was in remote villages. For example, in Kayerkan in the 1950s, only one paramedic on horseback went to help residents in emergencies. And although there was a polyclinic in the village, patients had to be sent to Norilsk by rail for qualified medical services.

In the last issue of the History Spot photo project, we talked about the 69 Parallel restaurant, which was the most creatively decorated one in Norilsk.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

October 11, 2021

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