The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published January 30, 2019

Blown engine forces ambulance purchase


CAMDEN COUNTY - A blown engine has forced the Camden County Ambulance district (CCAD) to replace an ambulance sooner than they had planned.

The district replaces ambulances at approximately 200,000 miles and ambulance number 6223 (a 2010 Ford F-350 diesel) was the next one in line to be replaced. As of the end of December, the vehicle had 175,767 miles on it.

The district has to plan ahead to purchase a new ambulance because once the vehicle is ordered it takes roughly 210 days for the ambulance to arrive. They planned on ordering the new ambulance to replace 6223 later this year.

The diesel engine went out in the ambulance and according to the CCAD, it would cost $17,685 and take two to three weeks to repair. That would solve the engine problem but the ambulance would still have high miles and need replacing.

That left the district with four choices.

One, spend the $17,685 to fix the engine and keep the high mileage vehicle or remount it with option two.

That option would take the existing box off of the F-350 diesel and mount it on a Ford F-350 gas chassis. The chassis would cost $30,000 plus approximately $60,000 to remount the box for a cost around $90,000.

There would be about a four-month wait before the ambulance could be back in service.

The district is moving away from the diesel engines, since they have had bad luck with them and have been more expensive to run and maintain and going with Ford 450 gas vehicles.

Option three, according to the CCAD, would be the best choice.

Foster Coach Sales, in Sterling Illinois, is the provider of the ambulances and the district found out that Foster has a 2018 Ford 450 in stock which the district could have immediately (in two to three weeks).

The total cost of that would be $126,266, according to the Foster Coach quotation. That price would include:

• 2018 Ford E450 with a 2004 Medtec conversion
• Removal and reinstall existing power load system (from the current 6223 vehicle)
• Purchase and installation of the Vanner 1050 CUL Inverter
• Removal and reinstallation of emergency radios

The price does include trading in the blown engine ambulance.

The fourth option would be to purchase the new ambulance, which would cost anywhere from $175,000 - $180,000 and would take seven months before the vehicle could be put into use.

Currently Mercy EMS, who has a contract with the CCAD to provide personnel and dispatching for the district, has brought a loaner to the district to use.

The board voted for the third option, since it would save the district about $54,000 and there would be only a week or two wait until it was in service.

A motion was also made to transfer $126,000 from savings to the current year’s budget to pay for the ambulance.

The district has $1,069,563 in savings and is awaiting their large tax check (funneled through Camden County) so the unforeseen expense will be able to be easily covered.

The district has a total of seven ambulances. The new one should be in service by the middle of February.

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