By Chief Reggie Cooper, EFO
Published with permission (from Chief Cooper’s Linked-In)
In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a change in the appearance, size and style of the ambulance we use. This addition to our fleet is a 2016 Frazer ambulance built on a Ram chassis. The Marshall Fire Department operates three frontline ambulances with three reserve units that serve the citizens of Marshall and portions of Harrison County.
Prior to 2015, there were not many other fire departments doing what we were doing or how we were doing it. Our EMS call volume was getting higher every year and the number of out-of-town ambulance transfers were a burden on our personnel, operations, fuel costs, maintenance, and overall operational costs. We were faced with significant technical and adaptive challenges and had to come up with consequent solutions.
Using the Marshall Fire Department’s Strategic Plan as our operational guide, we are constantly working to develop new and more efficient ways to deliver outstanding emergency services and use your tax dollars wisely. In 2014 we eliminated all non-emergency, out-of-town ambulance transfers and reduced our hospital to hospital transfers to emergency type only. In 2015, we began the first step in replacing our large modular ambulances with smaller Type I style ambulances.
These all-aluminum and ultra strong ambulances, constructed on a truck chassis, have already helped our city save a significant amount of money and will continue to do so for many years. They are less expensive to buy, easier to maintain and repair, and more affordable to replace and/or refurbish. Maintenance and repair can be performed locally, keeping tax dollars in town. Instead of replacing ambulance as they wear out, we will begin to remount refurbished boxes on new chassis, saving tens of thousands of dollars per vehicle. Once the entire fleet has been replaced and is in service, the city could see millions of dollars in savings in the long term.
These solutions have helped improve employee morale, which is essential to job satisfaction, productivity and retention. We cannot always compete with larger cities that offer more money with less work. Our department is very unique to other departments so we have to come up with outside the box, unique ideas.