Fire district to get two new ambulances

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Members of the Hanneman family stand behind the ambulance dedicated to their family in 2018. Pictured are Marlin, Jr., Ember, Bronson, Shawn, Kris, Kristie and Loni Hanneman. The ambulance was damaged when it was hit by a car during a call last winter, and is being replaced by one of two new ambulances the District will be getting before the end of the year. (Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter)

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

Thanks in part to the City of Fernley, the North Lyon County Fire Protection District will have two new ambulances by the end of the year.

The fire district has purchased one new ambulance to replace its ambulance that was damaged last winter when it was hit by a car during a call.

A second new ambulance has been purchased by the City of Fernley, using funding from the CARES Act.

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“Massive shout out to the City of Fernley,” Fire Chief Jason Nicholl said at the July 16 meeting of the Fire District’s Board of Directors meeting.

In a separate interview July 28, Nicholl said the District had originally planned to purchase two new ambulances, but only had money in the budget to buy one.

Nicholl said ambulances are typically replaced every five to seven years, either by buying a replacement, ore more frequently in the case of districts like North Lyon, by remodeling the old box and remounting it on a new chassis.

However, North Lyon Fire has instead chosen to schedule ambulance replacements based on their mileage, instead of age. A typical ambulance can usually run for about 200,000, so Nicholl said the District’s policy is to start planning for a replacement when a unit reaches 175,000, in order to receive the replacement by the time it reaches 200,000.

Most of the mileage on District ambulances comes from transport to Reno hospitals. Nicholl said the District averages six transports a day over the course of a year.

“We can sometimes go a day or two without one, then other days we have 12 to 15,” Nicholl said.

He said it’s not unusual to put 600 miles on an ambulance in a busy day.

The District has four ambulances, and all four need to be replaced, Nicholl said.

An ambulance can typically be remounted on a new chassis once or twice before it is obsolete. The District’s oldest ambulance has about 280,000 miles and is on its third chassis, and that will be the one replaced by the ambulance being paid for by the City, at a cost of about $278,000. Under terms of the CARES Act, that ambulance must be delivered to the District by Dec. 30.

The first one to be replaced is the one that was damaged when it was rear-ended and sideswiped by a car during a snowstorm while responding to a crash on Interstate 80 last winter. That ambulance was the one that was dedicated to the Hanneman family in 2018. The replacement should be delivered by mid-September.

The District originally repaired the ambulance to keep it in service, until it could be replaced.

The Board of Directors had authorized $213,000 to replace that ambulance. Nicholl told the Board of Directors he received an invoice for $213,164, and when he informed the company that the Board had approved the purchase not to exceed $213,000, they immediately sent a new invoice for that amount.

Both new ambulances will be outfitted with special features to be compliant with the needs to transport patients with COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, including air filtration systems and the ability to disinfect and decontaminate every surface in the box.

Once those two new ambulances are received, the next in line to be replace is the District’s second-oldest ambulance, which has more than 220,000 miles. Nicholl said the District hopes to order a replacement for that one in January, if it has enough money in the budget.

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