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Columbus News

Posted on: December 12, 2023

WATCH & READ: Fire Department gets Council's blessing to purchase new ambulance


The Columbus Fire Department is diligently planning for the future, getting the OK from the City Council to replace a 22-year-old ambulance that will arrive in 2025.

The Columbus City Council during its Dec. 4 meeting approved a $457,614.63 purchase quote from Feld Fire, Danko Emergency Equipment and Stryker for a new ambulance with equipment for CFD. Fire Chief Ryan Gray explained during the meeting the purchase will replace a more-than-two-decade-old ambulance and provide the quickest delivery time. It also enables the City to use a $75,000 Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services grant if the transaction is completed by the end of the year.

“The expected delivery date is August 2025, but they expect this to improve as chassis’ demand is reduced and filled,” Columbus Assistant Fire Chief Nathan Jones later said. “Many manufacturers were three years until delivery.”

The chassis is the load-bearing framework of an object that structurally supports it in its construction and function, such as a vehicle frame. In the case of the 22-year-old ambulance, Jones said it is starting to deteriorate.

“(It’s) not in terrible shape, but is starting to show its age as parts and equipment are starting to have issues with reliability,” Jones said. “With the advances in standards and technology, keeping up with the curve is essential for any fire department.”

The current apparatus is not configured for suppression-based EMS (Emergency Medical Services) with no external gear storage to keep contaminants out of the patient compartment, the assistant fire chief noted.


(ABOUT THE PHOTO: The 22-year-old Columbus Fire Department ambulance that will be replaced.)

Beyond that, Jones said the current ambulance being replaced is not 4x4 capable. Not having that ability can present serious challenges, especially in the colder months of the year.

“It is not always possible to have snow removal equipment escort us to calls so this added capability aids in winter driving,” he said. “Having all these vital components readily available and secured aids in quick deployment and secures the equipment in the apparatus. One of the major goals was to ensure utmost safety with restraint systems for personnel and restraint systems for equipment.”

Jones spearheaded researching all viable options for purchasing a new truck alongside Gray, noting the importance of why Feld Fire, out of Iowa, was selected and why CFD is acting now with the budgeted purchase.

“Their brand had the shortest lead time to get us the apparatus quicker plus they were able to lock in the pricing with no chassis increases many of the other dealers could not do,” he said.

The purchase also included a LUCAS chest compressions system, a portable device that provides mechanical chest compressions for cardiac arrest patients, as well as a FERNO motorized chair.

“The LUCAS aids in continuous CPR, which is clinically shown to improve survival rates when uninterrupted CPR is administered,” Jones said. “The FERNO motorized stair chair aids in reducing injuries to personnel and the safety of the patient as the device does most of the lifting.”

The quotes for the purchase were accepted with a motion by City Councilman Charlie Bahr and a second by Council Councilwoman Katherine Lopez. Bahr, Lopez, Council President Rich Jablonski and fellow council members Troy Hiemer, J. Prent Roth and Ron Schilling all voted in favor; City Councilwoman Hope Freshour was absent and a First Ward City Council seat is currently vacant.

Jones said the new ambulance will be a huge benefit to CFD and the community it serves.

“The new standards focus heavily on occupant and provider safety. Ambulances are a quirky maintenance issue as not many places can work on them depending on the issue,” Jones said.

“When an issue arises, it may take the apparatus out for some time. A newer apparatus will help keep our fleet up to four ambulances with fewer maintenance issues and improved reliability.”

Meanwhile, the City of Columbus is working on plans to staff the Charlie Louis Fire Station that were previously announced. Read the story on that by clicking here.

You can watch the Dec. 4 City Council meeting by clicking here or the quick Council Minute recap with Mayor Jim Bulkley by clicking here.

Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus

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