Sumter County exploring purchase of different medical response vehicle to remedy ambulance break-downs

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 9/18/18

Sumter County Council approved a possible solution to an unanticipated ambulance shortage and discussed giving more authority to code enforcement officers to deal with dishonest residential contractors during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. …

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Sumter County exploring purchase of different medical response vehicle to remedy ambulance break-downs

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Sumter County Council is exploring an option to purchase a different type of medical response vehicle as it approved a resolution during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Reading: Resolution, only one reading required

Agenda item: A resolution to approve the purchase of three new ambulances for a total of about $417,000.

Background: The county purchased six new ambulances during the last few years and operates seven on a daily basis, Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon said. Four other ambulances are used as backups, he said.

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a rash of break downs, he said, even with the new vehicles.

As of Tuesday, when the purchase proposal was added to council's agenda, Mixon said there were five ambulances and two quick-response vehicles operating on a daily basis. With quick-response vehicles, EMS personnel can provide medical services but cannot provide transport, he said.

"We haven't had a situation yet, but we certainly don't want to find ourselves in one," Mixon said.

He said the EMS department researched options and found another style of medical service vehicle that has been successful in Lee and Florence counties.

These medical response vehicles have gasoline engines, Mixon said, and require significantly less maintenance costs compared to the custom ambulances Sumter County usually purchases. These vehicles also operate for well more than 200,000 miles, he said.

The person who sells them has a demo vehicle in stock that he said he can soon provide to the county, another demo vehicle being built and a loaner vehicle the county can use until a third one can get here, he said.

Mixon said the owner is willing to discuss a payment option that would allow the county to pay at another time.

Discussion: None

Vote: Unanimous approval