The Des Plaines Fire Department will purchase a new ambulance for the first time in five years.
The emergency vehicle comes at a price tag of $220,591, an expenditure fire officials said was long overdue.
“Our ambulance fleet is bleeding and we need to bandage it up and start cleaning it up,” Des Plaines Fire Chief Alan Wax told the City council, which unanimously approved the purchase.
Although there was no budget in 2013 to buy a new ambulance, there are plans to purchase two vehicles in the pending 2014 budget, according to officials.
City staff members confirmed there are now adequate funds in the $4 million equipment replacement fund to cover the purchase, which Wax said will replace a faltering 2002 ambulance with 110,000 miles on it.
The department currently rotates five ambulances, with many of the vehicles regularly out for mechanical problems, Wax said.
Repair costs just a couple of weeks ago, Wax said, were in excess of $13,000.
The department had originally hoped to replace ambulances every two years, but has not maintained that schedule, he said.
“All five of our ambulances have over 65,000 miles” on them, Wax said. “We know our call volume has increased by 9 percent and our three full-time, front line ambulances have been busier.”
Ambulances are expected to perform front-line service for eight years and as the vehicles age, they go on reserve back-up duty, officials said.
Wax said the department’s current fleet includes a 2002 ambulance with 110,000 miles on it; a 2005 with 75,000 miles; a 2006 with 82,000 miles; a 2007 with 65,000 miles and a 2007 with 79,000 miles.
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