Polk to purchase new ambulance for $102k

Published 5:00 pm Sunday, March 23, 2014

by Leah Justice
The Polk County EMS will soon have a new ambulance as the Polk County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase last week.
Commissioners met March 17 and approved purchasing a 2013 Ford E-350 Braun Express ambulance demo for $102,110. The county is purchasing the ambulance from Southeastern Specialty Vehicles out of Youngsville, N.C.
The county had already budgeted for a new ambulance for this fiscal year to replace its 2005 Ford E-450, which has approximately 130,000 miles. Specialty quoted the county $7,000 for the 2005 trade-in, which is included in the $102,110 price.
The new ambulance is a demo model and will include custom graphics, paint and reflective vinyl mix, an inverter, LED dome lights and a back-up camera.
EMS director Michael Crater said the new ambulance is smaller than a typical ambulance and will fit under the awning at St. Luke’s Hospital. The county’s last ambulance it purchased is a 4wd, which makes it taller in size and does not fit under the awning.
Crater said the new ambulance is five inches shorter in length and height and four inches smaller in width.
Although the new ambulance is not 4wd, it comes with on spot auto tire chains, where in inclement weather the driver can engage or disengage the tire chains with a switch.
Crater sent commissioners detailed reasons for why the county should purchase Ford E-350 from Southeastern.
Crater said the ambulance uses gasoline, which costs less than diesel and is less maintenance costs for repairs. The ambulance having a smaller body will also help with fuel consumption and power while still accommodating all patient needs, Crater said. Crater also said purchasing a Ford will keep the service local and the motor has an excellent reputation. He also said a Braun has aluminum cabinets with no wood used in the construction. The floor is made of space age polymer that will not rot, mold, mildew, peel or separate like plywood, Crater said.
Other positive attributes are the electrical system being a Weldon Multiplex design, which is a pier to pier node system that is more reliable and easier to troubleshoot than the old printed circuit board electrical units, according to Crater. He said the nodes are more similar to computers in modern cars and can be programmed with different functions.
“The system can be plugged into a phone cable and Weldon can dial into them for remote work and repairs without your ambulance leaving the building,” Crater said.
Crater also said Braun has an excellent reputation for service and reliability and they guarantee at least three rounds of chassis remounting on the unit.
Commissioners approved the purchase unanimously.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox