Columbiana EMS to get new wheels

COLUMBIANA – Columbiana first responders will be riding in a new ambulance in the next few months, now that City Council has approved buying a 2013 van.

EMS Director Tom Farley approached council last week requesting approval for the purchase of the van. Although council balked at approving the request last-minute they went forward after learning it would save about $2,200.

The request was not on the meeting agenda and Farley did not notify council the Friday before the meeting as is typical.

He explained the reason the request was last-minute was he had only earlier in the day been notified the 2013 ambulance would no longer be available if they waited.

The ambulance is on a state bid contract and Farley said he needed to put the order in the next day, which was Wednesday.

If council did not approve, the EMS department would have to purchase a 2014 model, which Farley said is more expensive, and the department also had rebates for the 2013 ambulance.

The department only purchases van ambulances as opposed to box ambulances since the roof of the garage is nine feet high, he added.

The ambulance itself costs about $77,800 and with the necessary equipment included, the cost is $102,000, he said.

The additional equipment is not on a state bid and will be purchased over the next few months, he added.

He said the department began discussing the need for a new ambulance earlier this year and budgeted up to $130,000 in preparation. As a result, the ambulance will be purchased out right as opposed to being financed.

The ambulance is being purchased through Myers Equipment of Canfield and should arrive within 60 to 75 days, Farley said.

The department currently has a 1999 van ambulance and 2009 van ambulance. The 2013 ambulance will replace the 1999 model, which will only be used for third-out calls, he said.

“It will be in rare cases we have three calls. We’ll try to use the 1999 to use a third crew, but having that many people available at one time is too hard. It will mainly be used for backup,” he said.

According to the department’s monthly activity report for July there was one instance in which an ambulance was out of service due to mechanical problems.

So far this year there have been two instances in which a third crew and vehicle were unavailable. The reason was not listed in the report.

The department conducted 42 transports in July and 360 so far this year, according to the report.