CEDAR CITY – With only $180,000 to spend, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office had to find a way to get a little creative when they recently bought a new ambulance truck for its division of emergency medical services.
Normally, new ambulance vehicles cost $215,000 to $240,000, but the EMS team found a way to purchase the equipment at $105,000, having enough left to buy two additional Chevrolet Tahoes for first responders.
In order to save money, the EMS division decided to take the old box from the ambulance the division was retiring and had it overhauled to use with the new ambulance.
“We saved the county more than $100,000 by doing it the way we did,” said Operations Sgt. Ty March.
A state-of-the-art truck, the new ambulance is equipped with all of the same emergency supplies and has the ability to be lowered 6 inches in the backend, which will go a long way in saving the backs of the EMS crew, officials said.
“That’s my number one priority. All of these guys have bad backs because of the work they do, so it’s my job to help them anyway I can,” said Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Jody Edwards, who is the EMS administrator. “By the truck being lowered like this, it saves the paramedics and EMTs from having to lift the gurney onto the truck like they do with the old ones.”
The new ambulance replaces one with more than 300,000 miles, which is about the time it needs to be retired, said Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower.
“We have to have vehicles that are reliable,” Gower said. “We are responsible for life-or-death situations, and we can’t have ambulances that are broken down or so old that we worry if we’re even going to make it to the next call. They’ve got to be in top working condition.”
The last time the EMS division bought a new vehicle was in 2012.
That money didn’t come from county coffers but from a Community Block Grant – specifically for the purchase of an ambulance for the Beryl station to cover the west end of the county.
This ambulance will remain at the Cedar City station, which provides 24-hour paramedic coverage and covers all of the unincorporated areas of central Iron County surrounding the Cedar City area, officials said.
It also handles all calls for service in Cedar City, Enoch, and on Interstate 15 from mile post 71 to mile post 50.
Officials said Iron County EMS units respond to approximately 2,000 medical calls each year – most frequently for cardiac arrest, respiratory problems, slip and fall accidents and injuries resulting from vehicle accidents.
“We can have times where we have seven calls within just a few hours while there are other times where we don’t have any calls all day,” March said. “It just depends, but when we do, we have to be ready to go. And we would be jeopardizing patient care if we didn’t have reliable vehicles to make sure we can get to our calls.”
All EMTs and paramedics in the EMS division have been certified by the Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.
In addition to EMS training, the division also has employees trained in swift water rescue and ropes.Share