Readers Split About Safety After Ambulance Breaks Down
We asked Patch readers on Facebook if the recent breakdown of a South Shore ambulance has them concerned about their safety.
Are residents in Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant concerned about their safety after a South Shore ambulance broke down with a patient inside?
Reactions were mixed when we asked this question on Facebook.
Robin Kruk posted, "Yes, somebody could die if they don't get to a hospital asap!"
Teddy Klinkhammer agreed.
"Wouldn't you be?" he asked.
But Laurie Giese said her faith in the training and experience of the paramedics means patients would be in the best hands in the case of a break-down.
"No. Paramedics have the equipment and training to do what they have to until another unit can get to them and transport," she said. "The delay shouldn't be all that long."
Peter Wayne used a little sarcasm to make his point that this is more about wants than needs.
"Oh, my, 8 years old! I bet it's got minimal mileage, and plenty of life in it. But somebody WANTS a new one. So of course, the taxpayers will be hit up for it, one way or another. Scare tactics, that's one way," he wrote.
Both villages - between which there is a consolidation agreement that brought two fire departments together - have budgeted for a new ambulance for the last three years. In 2011, the Mount Pleasant Finance/Legal/License Committee very nearly gave the nod to a new ambulance, but Trustee Jerry Garski asked that SSFD explore a remount option.
A remount takes the existing box of an ambulance - the big back of the unit where patients are loaded - and put it on a new chassis with all new wiring and mechanicals. The cost difference depends, of course, but rough estimates put a new rescue unit at $185,000 and a remount at about $100,000.
According to SSFD Battalion Chief Jon Keiser, there is not a timeline set in stone for either option for when the department would get what they order. A new ambulance can take between six and nine months while a remount can perhaps take up to six months, requiring a loaner.
"The time frame depends a lot on what the needs are and how busy the vendor is," he said. "And a lot of companies will give you a loaner ambulance so the department isn't down a unit."
Last week, trustees on the FLL - including Garski - voted unanimously to allow South Shore leaders to put out requests for proposals for both a new ambulance and pricing for two remounts.