The Parma Fire Department will be ordering three new ambulances to replace some of the city’s aging units.
Ward 4 Councilman Brian Day, who chairs council’s Finance Committee, said funds to purchase the ambulances are in this year’s budget. Each ambulance costs $235,000, but the price drops to $220,000 if three or more are purchased, Fire Department officials said.
Fire Capt. Mike Laskey said the city runs four ambulances 24/7 and normally replaces one unit every four years. However, because of budget and other issues, the replacement program has fallen behind.
“Our wish list included four ambulances and a fire truck, but we pulled back to three ambulances,” Laskey said, acknowledging the city’s tight finances.
One of Parma’s ambulances was severely damaged in an accident two years ago and still is not repaired. It is in Columbus while fire officials continue working with the insurance companies to get the issue resolved. Laskey said most likely the box would be removed and the ambulance would be rebuilt on the chassis.
There have been mechanical issues with the remaining ambulances. They have amassed about 120,000 to 130,000 miles of city driving, which is tough on the engines, and magnifies the need to replace the units regularly, said Ward 6 Councilman Lawrence Napoli.
Laskey said the high city mileage and mechanical issues, coupled with the volume of ambulance calls, means there are times the city does not have an ambulance available. When that happens, a nearby community responds to the call and that community receives the fees from the call. Each ambulance call is billed at $500.
It takes about 180-220 days to build an ambulance, since each is custom designed, Laskey said. That puts delivery at late this year or in early January, he added.
Safety Director Greg Baeppler said each ambulance brings in about $500,000 per year. Last year, the ambulances produced about $2.1 million in revenue for the city, an increase from the $1.9 million generated in 2013. Each unit brings in about $500,000 per year.
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