The Board of Commissioners approved a resolution of necessity for the purchase of a motor vehicle for the Delaware County Emergency Medical Services (DCEMS) fleet of ambulances in their Monday session.
Chief Michael Schuiling, DCEMS director, promised the board that the purchase was a first in the history of the department.
“I’m happy to report to you that this is a budgeted item and we’re coming in considerably less than any other ambulance purchased, probably in the history of the department,” he said. “Rather than purchase a vehicle outright, this is a remount of a current ambulance that we have.”
Schuiling said the patient compartment on the back of the ambulance will be removed from its current chassis and placed onto a new chassis with a new engine.
“In that process, the vehicle is completely repainted, the interior is reupholstered, the cabinets are replaced and the electrical wiring is replaced as well,” he said. “Essentially what we are doing is using the superstructure of our current ambulance and mounting it on a chassis.”
Schuiling said the ambulance will be mounted to a new 2019 Econoline Ford E450 chassis.
“It rolls off the line and they set it aside for our county,” he said. “Everything is essentially brand new. The only thing original would be the superstructure patient care module that sits on the back of the ambulance.”
Schuiling said the patient module, which the department calls “the box,” will be sandblasted and repainted.
“We’re really excited for this one,” he added.
Commissioner Jeff Benton said the county had purchased one or two new ambulances every year in the past and asked what had changed to now make refurbishing the ambulances particle.
“We’re finally now to the point within our fleet where we have these ambulances that were purchased 10- to 15-years-ago. They are a different structure than some of the other ambulances we’d purchased,” Schuiling told the commissioner. “Bottom line they are just built better.”
Schuiling said the ambulances are built stronger and safer than ambulances 20-years-ago. He said if an ambulance was involved in a vehicle crash “the patient module would just come apart.”
“The Horton (Emergency Vehicles) ambulances and the Braun Ambulances have had different testing studies done on them so they are built much better so we can get longevity out of them,” he said. “I’m told that some of the Horton ambulances can go up to three chassis before they do not meet the specifications for safety.”
Schuiling said each remount differs in cost depending on what can be repurposed and what is needed to bring the ambulance up to the current safety standards.
“Our ambulance fleet is where we can start doing that,” he said. “We’re confident that we can start doing more of this.”
Benton complimented Schuiling for looking at alternatives that “significantly lower cost.”
Commissioner Gary Merrell and Benton approved the resolution for the purchase. Commissioner Barb Lewis was absent from Monday’s session.
The Board of Commissioners next session will be Monday, April 1, at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners’ meeting room located at 101 North Sandusky Street, Delaware.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.