|County had to borrow a rescue unit|
|The Press - News|
|Written by Joel Addington|
|Wednesday, 14 September 2011 15:36|
The county has ordered two new ambulances expected to arrive sometime in November, and that day can’t come soon enough for county officials and citizens.
Two weeks ago, for only the second time in at least 30 years, Emergency Medical Services [EMS] personnel were using an ambulance on loan from another county — the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.
After three of Baker County’s five rescue units were taken out of service on August 30 due to unrelated mechanical problems, the borrowed ambulance responded to 9-1-1 calls to the dismay and confusion of residents, who soon began calling County Manager C.J. Thompson for an explanation.Mr. Thompson said he was disappointed the callers couldn’t see past the red ambulance with the Jacksonville Fire Rescue emblem and recognize it was still local paramedics and EMTs in uniforms with the Baker County seal helping them.
Rescue 36, the primary ambulance stationed in Macclenny, its back-up unit, Rescue 32, and Rescue 33, the transport unit that shuttles patients from medical facilities here to those in Jacksonville, all broke down at the same time.
EMS director David Richardson said Rescue 36 busted a hose and Rescue 32 suffered from a malfunctioning air bag, both of which were repaired and back in service the following day.
Rescue 33, the transport unit with more than 200,000 miles on it, broke a crankshaft, making the engine worthless, he said.
The director made inquiries to the unit’s manufacturer, Chevrolet, about trading in the truck’s box, the rear section that carries patients, but had not received a response as of September 12.
“It could be stripped for replacement parts,” said Mr. Richardson. “We should get something out of it, but I can’t put a dollar amount on it yet.”
The figure he did have was the county’s bill for repairs and maintenance on the rescue fleet, some $30,000 this year.
Mr. Richardson said most of the work is completed by Miracle Automotive and Truck Service Center of Macclenny, but Gear & Wheel Mobile Repair on N. SR 121 and other mechanics in Jacksonville do the more specialized repairs on occasion.
“Yeah, [Miracle] runs into some problems from time to time, but not so much that we don’t want to use them,” he said, adding that the shop often does minor service or diagnostic work like battery checks at no charge. “They do several little things like that ... It’s just a good relationship. They work nights and weekends to get the units back to us. You don’t get that in town.”
The director also rejected any notion that the county is not properly maintaining its rescue units.
“We’ve never, ever neglected our vehicles,” said Mr. Richardson. “We try to save as much money for the county as we can, but not at the detriment of the public.”
The maximum life of a rescue unit is generally about 200,000 miles, he said.
The two new units scheduled for delivery in November are manufactured by Dodge. The purchase will cost the county $282,518, or $141,259 each.
|Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 07:40|