By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
County considers ambulance purchasing plan
Placeholder Image

Warren County EMS needs two new ambulances and consideration is being given to putting the department on a purchasing cycle of one new ambulance a year to replace older ones. 
EMS director Brian Jennings informed county Safety Committee members Monday night he has the money in his budget to purchase two new ambulances and he requested guidance on what to do with two of the county's older ambulances.
“I have two questions tonight,” said Jennings. “Do we want to trade two older ambulances in, or do we want to buy straight out?”
“We are not in the ambulance collection business,” said Commissioner Ronnie Lee. “If we are getting two new ones, we need to be relieving the department of two. It depends on which two you want to relieve. I suggest we ask for trade-in value on one or both. That way we can get a price and decide.”
State regulations encourage the replacement of ambulances when they reach 250,000 miles. Inspections become more frequent as the vehicle ages. Each inspection costs the county $500. The two ambulances under consideration for replacement have approximately 100,000 miles each, both have new engines, and both have been slightly problematic with maintenance issues.
The county currently has five full-time ambulances and each gets an average of 50,000 miles a year. Lee says the math requires the county to begin purchasing one new ambulance a year.
“If you do the math, we need to buy one ambulance a year and we haven’t been doing that,” said Lee. “Something needs to be done and we need to get on it right now. I spoke with our new State Department of Health consultant and investigator today and he let me know right quick that we need to get two new ambulances in Warren County. We are behind. We have been needing them for the last two years.”
Jennings says he would like to look into two new features, one being a sliding chair that allows EMS workers to stay seated in the back of the ambulance in a chair that’s mounted on a track as they work on patients.
“There is a company called Demers,” said Jennings. “They offer several features. One of the things they do differently with the back of their ambulances is they have multi-track chairs. It allows everyone working on a patient to stay seated and move about the box without getting up and moving around. It’s a sliding chair system. I really do want a demo on this.”
Demers also offers a feature that decreases an ambulance’s idle time by 50 percent, says Jennings.
“This company also offers a feature that ties into the ambulances electrical system,” said Jennings. “What it does is it decreases your idle time by 50 percent. When you are on the scene, you have to have electrical power for your lights and all the stuff that’s in the ambulance. When the battery is at full charge and you are idling, it shuts the truck off. When the battery gets low, it starts the truck back up. This will also save us in diesel. It will save us in maintenance costs, as well.”
When asked by Commissioner Les Trotman how long the idle-reducing feature has been in use, Jennings added, “The system has been used for about five years in other countries and it is just now hitting the U.S. market.”
Safety Committee members voted unanimously to go out for bids on two ambulances. At the meeting were Commissioners Teddy Boyd, Sally Brock, Charles Morgan, Trotman and Lee.
A follow-up meeting to review the bids has been scheduled for this Monday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Warren County Administrative Building’s Conference Room.