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The City Journals

City council says yes to three new ambulances

Nov 03, 2017 12:58PM ● By Jana Klopsch
By Holly Vasic | [email protected]

It is time for an important part of the South Salt Lake City Fire Department team to retire—the ambulances. After some 15,533 runs, these emergency vehicles are ready to rest. 

Lucikly, the city council approved the purchase of three new ambulances for the City of South Salt Lake. 

Battalion Chief Jason Nicholl is thrilled about the acquisition though he is grateful for the service the current ones have provided. The new emergency vehicles will be delivered in 40 days after the official purchase from North Carolina. 

“Fleet did a great job keeping the vehicles on the road and safe and that sort of thing, but the longer you push things the more things fall into disrepair. Not because they’re being abused, not because they’re bad, things just get old and break. And that’s what happened,” Nicholl explained. 

Originally the medical division was hoping to update the current emergency vehicles but once they investigated the project further they realized updating was not the best option nor was it cost effective. 

Fortunately, three ambulances had been built for another owner, but the sale never went through. During a meeting with the ambulance dealer, it was discovered these vehicles were available. The company was eager to get them off their lot and gave the city a great deal. Thus the cost of the discounted new ambulances became more financially reasonable then refurbishing the old ones. 

“They’re 2015 units, they’re brand new. The way commercial vehicle work is they are considered new until they go into service,” Nicholl said. Once the city receives the vehicles and the Utah Department of Transportation certifies them for service then the warranty begins which will also save money on maintenance. 

The fleet director and Nicholl did an onsite inspection to make sure the new ambulances will be what the city needs. “We were able to identify some things that needed to be altered for them to be effective for us,” Nicholl said. The adjustments were minor and Nicholl can’t wait for the new vehicles to arrive. 

Currently, two emergency vehicles are in use and one is kept as backup. They are rotated so each gets a turn being backup giving all of them similar depreciation. Nicholl said that having three ambulances is OK for now. 

“Today we don’t need four, today we need three. But with the homeless resource center moving into South Salt Lake and many of the other changes the call volume is going through the roof,” he said.

Nicholl assumed that in the next six months to a year another ambulance purchase will be necessary, which means going back to the city council to request it.