Fire/EMS propose purchase of new ambulance

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Winfield Courier – May 4, 2015

A committee of Winfield Fire/EMS employees presented proposals for an ambulance purchase at the Thursday city commission work session.

The group, led by Lt. Vince Warren, presented bids from two companies, Braun Industries of Van Wert, Ohio, and Osage Ambulances of Linn, Mo.

Fire/EMS is looking to replace its Medic 74 unit, which is outdated and has engine issues, Warren said.

Braun’s quote is for $198,665, including a $2,500 trade-in on the current vehicle. Osage’s quote is $179,983 with a trade-in value of $8,300. Presenters said they had some concerns about Osage’s quote, however, because Osage has a disclaimer that the engine must be functional in order to get the trade-in.

Capt. Chad Mayberry said they asked to have the quote adjusted but have not received an updated quote from Osage representatives. The committee is concerned that if they went with Osage, the company would say Winfield is short money when it’s time to sign the papers because the city can’t get the full trade-in value.

Warren estimated that once the department added the options it needs, the Osage unit would end up being over $191,000.

Both ambulances being considered could have the box portion remounted on another chassis in the future, which would save the city money. This allows the units to last longer and saves money. Morgan David, supervising mechanic for the city’s fleet services department, said an original chassis could go for 200,000 miles, and a box could last through at least two new chassis.

The Braun box is all steel, while the Osage box has plywood elements in the interior. The committee indicated they prefer the all-steel construction. The Braun ambulances also come under a new warranty every time there is a remount. The committee liked the Braun ambulance’s sliding door on the curb side of the box, which makes the door safer to open on highways, and more standard features than the Osage models.

The department also wants to move from a van chassis, which the unit they want to replace is on, to a truck chassis, Warren said. The truck chassis makes the vehicle easier to work on and gives mechanics easier access to the engine.

“The committee has a strong feeling that Braun would be the best ambulance for our community and our service,” Warren said.

When asked by commissioners why they were not considering a remount of the current ambulance, Mayberry said it is from a company that is out of business, and by the time safety improvements are made, it would cost almost the same as buying a new ambulance.

“We could potentially remount it, but by the time we made those changes, we would drive that cost up close to the cost of building it from scratch,” Mayberry said.

If the commission approves the purchase of a new ambulance, it will be paid for by reappropriating funds from the 2015 budget, including $40,000 that had been budgeted for a lean-to and $100,000 in potential financing for a new grass rig. Defibrillators the department had intended to purchase this year have been donated by the Snyder Foundation, freeing up another $40,000.

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