Antioch purchases used ambulance for $20,000
By Diana Kuyper For Sun-Times Media September 17, 2013 7:20PM
Antioch Fire Chief John Nixon. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 17, 2013 3:21AM
ANTIOCH — The purchase of a used ambulance may allow the village to save significant funds as village officials consider renewing a contract to provide emergency medical services with Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Services.
Village officials contracted with the private ambulance service company when they terminated a contract with Antioch Rescue Squad on May 31. The contract expires Nov. 30.
Superior’s contract with the village is for a turn-key operation, providing two fully-equipped ambulances, each staffed by two state-certified paramedics 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the two village fire stations.
As the village considers how it will provide future EMS service, the $20,000 purchase of a 2000 International Ambulance with 22,000 miles on the odometer is an excellent buy, said Fire Chief John Nixon, who oversees the village’s fire and rescue services. “This puts us closer to the goal of moving away from leasing ambulances and will save us a lot of money as we look toward renewing a contract for EMS services.”
He said the current lease costs the village $53,000 annually per each equipped ambulance. Equipping the used ambulance from the Town of Paris in Wisconsin would bring the total up to about $35,000, but it would be a one-time cost that could result in big savings over the next few years, Nixon said. The village already has one used ambulance and would like to own a total of three to allow for one back-up vehicle in the fleet. “I already know of another used ambulance that may soon become available, and by the time we would need to replace any of the used equipment, we would know our cash flow and be prepared to look at purchasing new equipment.”
The village already has one ambulance donated in June by the state Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board, purchased from the village of Winnetka with 55,000 miles. By law, the funds paid by out-of-state fire insurance companies that sell fire insurance in Illinois must be used to benefit Illinois fire departments.
“Both of the ambulances are in excellent shape and will allow us to deliver service for several years. We are looking to acquire a third ambulance in early 2014,” said Nixon, explaining as other fire departments acquire new equipment, they often sell their used equipment to departments just starting up. “We jump on these deals when they become available.”
The department also acquired two donated portable Lifepak monitors/defibrillators donated by the local Antioch Firefighters Association to be used in the ambulances.
Nixon said a new fully-equipped ambulance costs about $220,000. Funds to purchase and equip the used ambulance will come from the village’s capital funds earmarked for the fire department. “There is a very limited market for used equipment. I think this is an excellent buy and puts us in a good position to eventually eliminate the need to lease equipment.”
Nixon said the goal is to eliminate the lease for one ambulance for the next contract year with Superior and the following year eliminate the lease for a second ambulance. Before the ambulances are put into service they have to pass an inspection by the Illinois Department of Public Health. “I am trying to move the contract from labor and equipment to labor only,” said Nixon. “We are not yet ready to go into hiring full-blown firefighter/paramedics for our department that could allow us to eliminate an outside contractor entirely.”
Right now Superior responds to emergency medical calls only within the village because ARS has a one-year contract with the First Fire District to serve unincorporated Antioch Township. While the fire department is overseen and funded jointly by the village and first fire district which represents the township, each entity is responsible for contracting for ambulance services for their respective geographic areas. The final decision on how the fire department and paramedic services are integrated may not be decided until the First Fire District, serving the township, and the village resolve a proposed consolidation.