Newton County Ambulance District approves purchase of ambulances
The Newton County Ambulance District (NCAD) met on Jun. 14, with the board discussing and approving the purchase of two new Ford F-450 4-wheel drive ambulances that are hoped to be on the roads in Newton County in 2022.
NCAD Chief Rusty Tinney told the board that they needed to get them ordered as soon as possible to get them on the road by next spring with Tinney also adding that they wouldn’t pay for them until delivery.
Tinney told the board he would look to order them within the next day or so to receive them like they normally do in February or March and get them on the road by April or May.
The NCAD tries to replace two trucks a year with six in service at any given time. By the time the new ambulances get on the road, the two they’re replacing will be about three years old with between 150 and 200 thousand miles on them each.
“If we stay on the rotation of two every year, were able to meet that (goal),” said Tinney. “That’s why it was important to get approval to order those today. So that we can stay on that rotation. Because of the backlog, everyone knows there’s a shortage of vehicles now. Production used to take only three months, now it’s been pushed back to eight months. We used to order them in October and take delivery on the first of year on them, that’s all changed since the last time with COVID and pushed production way back. That’s why we got together today”
“That’s why we needed to commit to the two chassis’ that are available now,” added Tinney. “We need to get our name on a couple chassis’ now. The difference (in cost) is that they went up a total of 7%, the two new (ambulances). They go up 3% (in cost) every year and these are two years newer than the last ones (we bought).”
The increase in cost also comes with the necessary adjustments needed to be made to ambulances.
“They’re 4-wheel drive so they sit up a bit higher,” said Tinney. “We had to add that step where you can actually build that into the box (of the ambulance) itself as they build it. They back up inside the box and put two steps in between the wheel and the front of the box and they drop it about six inches, so it’s not set so high. There’s a fee for that.”
“Then we found for the type one (ambulances), there’s an itty bitty hole you can see (in the back of the truck) but the problem is you’ve got a captains seat there so you can’t see through,” added Tinney. “So, we needed to add a backup camera and then some communication with the medic and driver is built into that. There’s a camera on the outside and there’s also one in the box so there’s some communication. We had to add that as well, (the builder) is going to add that after market to the two new trucks.”
The cost will be $356, 340 for the two ambulances, with the budgeted cost coming from the general fund, and also means the NCAD will be able to have one 4-wheel drive ambulance at each station in the county.