By Jacob Mathias
A new ambulance was added to the Wisconsin Rapids Emergency Medical Services this week, a replacement they get every three years.
The fire department has four ambulances in its fleet and a new ambulance is purchased every three years. Each ambulance serves about 12 years before being retired according to Wisconsin Rapids Fire Chief David Kerman, Jr. The patient holding area of the ambulance was built by Columbus, Ohio based Horton Emergency Vehicles and the chassis is a GM 4500 that was purchased from Wheelers Chevrolet in Wisconsin Rapids.
“They’re a very reputable company. I think we’ll be very happy with this ambulance” said Kerkman.
Kerkman said a new ambulance costs about $195,000.
All the EMS ambulances are similar in design but Fire Department Lieutenant Todd Forcier said the new model does have extra chevron reflective panels and improved LED lighting.
The newest ambulance is housed at Fire Station #1 and the second newest will be moved to Fire Station #2. The remaining two ambulances are also housed at Fire Station #1 with the third oldest used for use in transporting patients between hospitals.
“That’s where the miles really rack up,” said Forcier.
The oldest ambulance is used as a reserve for concurrent emergency calls. Kerkman said that instances of having two or three ambulances on calls at one time has increased in past years.
“Yesterday was a prime example. Throughout the whole day we had three ambulances out,” said Forcier.
The retired ambulance was purchased 12 years ago and put to heavy use with more than 200,000 miles. Kerkman said the old ambulances are sold off and usually purchased by tradesman who use them to transport tools and materials to job sites.
“It’s life as an ambulance will probably be over,” he said.