Nebraska City’s Volunteer Fire and Rescue personnel have been busy answering calls of late.
In 2017, the organization’s call volume set a record with 1,314 runs, up 128 from the year before.
Up until now, the department had been answering calls with a fleet of three ambulances. The fourth ambulance in the fleet and first entirely new vehicle in at least a decade, if not longer, will help Nebraska City meet the needs of its citizens.
“The need is there. We are getting busier,” said Andrew Snodgrass, EMS manager for Nebraska City Fire and Rescue.
An increasing number of transfers added to the 911 call volume has made for the increase in calls, Snodgrass said.
In terms of economics, the addition of the ambulance is a no brainer in that it didn’t cost the city a penny to purchase. That’s because Nebraska City’s foundations have stepped forward once again.
The Paul, John, Anton and Doris Wirth Foundations donated $225K of the just over $236K of the new ambulance with other charitable donations making up the difference.
Snodgrass said donations made to the Nebraska City Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department have been significant and long standing.
“To my knowledge, the city has never had to pay for an ambulance,” Snodgrass said, noting that he has been with the organization for nine years.
This ambulance is unique in the fact that it’s new. Up until this purchase, Snodgrass said the city has done re-mounts of older ambulances as a cost savings and said that has served the department well.
The new vehicle purchase is exciting and Snodgrass said he hopes the ambulance will remain in the fleet for many years to come.
Getting into the nuts and bolts of the build, Nebraska City purchased the ambulance through a dealer, Danko Emergency Equipment in Snyder, Neb.
It was built in a period of 10 days in a factory in Canada and includes some unique features.
Snodgrass said the suspension system should allow for a smoother ride and that rescue personnel will ride safer too, thanks to harness restraints as opposed to lap belts.
The details are important.
This unit is fitted with the brightest light package and loudest siren sound available, which will lead to visibility of the unit and safety for the public.
Inside the ambulance, crews will be able to access the equipment they need a little bit easier and a communication system will allow for better driver to crew communication during any transport.
The hand grips on the ceiling are the same as other units, but are painted in blazing yellow, and are therefore easier to spot so that an EMT can get a grip on the bars.
None of this is meant to say that the other three vehicles in Nebraska City’s fleet are in any way deficient.
Snodgrass said the other units the city has are extremely serviceable and says he looks forward to having four vehicles in service when the new ambulance rolls out on its first calls in the coming week.