The city fire department in Bristol Virginia will begin providing ambulance services to the downtown area in July. The used ambulance cost the city about $17,000 to purchase. Fire Chief Mike Armstrong says the move stands to save tax payers nearly a $100,000.
“We haven’t had to go out and ask for more money we are living within our means with existing monies, now we have had to make a lot of cuts through different programs within the fire department to make this happen but we are able to do that ,” Chief Mike Armstrong said.
The truck will not only will it be used for ambulance calls but it will also be used in the event of a fire emergency.
“We’ve got the capabilities and skill-set within the fire department, this is going to enable us to further expand and deliver that service to the tax payer,” Chief Armstrong said.
The new ambulance is also expected to reduce response times in the downtown area.
“Once we staff the ambulance we get to running calls that is less time the citizens have to wait for a transport unit to begin care and transport to the hospital to a physician,” Captain Jay Gouge said.
The Bristol Life Saving crew will still maintain their normal calls while the fire department’s unit will run in addition. The new truck still has to be outfitted with equipment.
“Band-Aids to IV supplies, defibrillators and oxygen tanks,” Armstrong said.
Firefighters will also go through extensive training and the truck must pass a state inspection before being put to use. While more resources will be used the fire chief says its worth it especially if lives can be saved.
“Forget the dollars and cents, we are looking to save lives,” Armstrong said.
The chief says they are working to have the system up and running by July 1st. Plans are also in the works to secure another ambulance unit in the fall of this year.