SHFAD buying new (used) ambulance

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District has ordered a used ambulance to bolster its aging fleet.

The ambulance will cost the district $58,000, said Fire Chief Dave Barringer. The 2011 Chevrolet Duramax has 41,000 miles.

The district has four ambulances, with two ambulances servicing most calls. One is undergoing repairs, while the fourth is a four-wheel drive unit, with a small ambulance box, used primarily in calls in the mountains. The first two units have 141,000 and 171,000 miles on them. The 1996 four-wheel drive Chevrolet has 49,000 miles.

The new ambulance comes from an American Legion group that replaces the oldest of its four ambulances annually, Barringer said.

“The board wanted me to look into getting it transported out here,” Barringer said, but plans to bring the ambulance to Oregon aren’t settled yet. “It’s just a matter of how do we get it here.”

He had hoped to obtain another four-wheel drive ambulance with a full-sized box, Barringer said, but “we couldn’t find one. It was limiting us.”

When the new ambulance arrives, he hopes by the third week of December, Barringer’s favorite option is to take Medic 2, with 141,000 miles and spend $12,000 to repair the suspension in hopes of getting another 100,000 miles out of it.

Medic 2 would become the first-out ambulance, Barringer said, and move Medic 1, with its 171,000 miles, out to support status, replacing a 1989 unit that carries dive equipment. At this point, he would prefer to run a single ambulance as much as possible rather than spreading out the mileage across the fleet, replacing the unit when it is finally worn out.

Barringer said that Brush 21, a 2001 Dodge pickup with a 250-gallon tank needs to be replaced too. It has 100,000 miles. When battalion chiefs use it, it isn’t large enough inside for the gear they need carry.

It’s also wearing out, Barringer said. “The miles on that vehicle are hard miles.”

While the department is trying to figure out how to replace vehicles within tight budgets, it’s also working on new training facilities, and Paramedic Zach Lincoln is looking for up to three cargo containers that can be used as burn boxes. They may also be used for training in search and rescue, ladders, ventilation and confined spaces.

For more information contact the department at (541) 367-5882.