By Greg Bird
The latest refurbished ambulance has officially joined service with McCreary County EMS this week, bringing the fifth such unit to the fleet of six vehicles.
The refurbishment takes the original chassis and body of the existing ambulance and places a new engine, transmission and other vital parts, as well as a cosmetic makeover of the entire unit – making them practically brand new at a fraction of the price of purchasing a new unit.
Ambulance Service Director Jimmy Barnett stated he hoped to send EMS’ last original unit, which has logged nearly 400,000 miles, for a complete overhaul and makeover this winter – effectively restoring all six units in the fleet and giving them a new life.
A few years ago Barnett started the refurbishing project using mainly grant funding, but also gained approval from the Fiscal Court to set aside money every month in to a special fund to help complete the upgrades. With a cost of about $80,000 to complete each unit, compared to purchasing a new ambulance with a cost of more than $160,000, the refurbishing project has saved the Ambulance Service an estimated $400,000 over the past few years.
Once all units are through the refurbishment process, Barnett said he plans to start the cycle anew; as the first ambulance to undergo the process has already put more than 200,000 miles on the odometer.