February 26, 2014 - Three new ambulances have been ordered for Independence Township. The township board approved their purchase at the Feb. 4 meeting for $550,000.
Paramedic Shaun Fitzpatrick makes sure everything is in order inside an ambulance at the Independence Township Fire Department. Photos By Andrea M. Beaudoin (click for larger version)
The new ambulances will arrive in about six months. Independence Township Deputy Fire Chief Mitch Petterson said the ambulances will contain the same equipment, which is important because the 53 part-time and full-time personnel often work at different locations during their shifts.
"Our personnel are sometimes assigned to different stations," said Petterson.
Business Manager Renee Poole said she prepared the request for the ambulances before it was brought to the board, and they were put out to bid and purchased from the lowest bidder.
Petterson said the state of Michigan dictates what goes in ambulances. Amongst the thousands of items in the ambulances will be new state-of-the-art cardiac monitors.
"All equipment in an advanced life support ambulance is dictated by the state," Petterson said.
Each of the township's three fire stations has a primary ambulance and an ambulance on reserve. The three bigger ambulances will be rolled down to reserve, and the current reserve ambulances will be sold.
Poole said the purchase, part of long-term capital improvement planning, has been planned for the past three years. Although the ambulances were estimated to have cost about $445,000 when first planned, the lowest bid ended up being $550,000.
Petterson said it is important to replace the ambulances because they get a lot of use, which adds up to a lot of miles. Present ambulances have also been experiencing maintenance issues.
Petterson said the miles really add up from transporting patients to various hospitals.
"Ambulances have to be in good shape there is no room for breakdowns," said Petterson."There is absolutely no room for failure."
He added that 100,000 miles are a lot of miles on an ambulance.
Right now, the department has two 2003 models and three 2007 models, but the new ambulances basically look the same.
"Although they are basically the same the new ambulances will look more heavy duty," he said.
Sales of the old ambulances will offset costs of the new ambulances.
– Andrea Beaudoin