Jefferson County board purchases two ambulances

JEFFERSON COUNTY – The Jefferson County Ambulance Board has purchased two ambulances, one new and one used, which will arrive in mid- to late-August.

The cost of the ambulances and their equipment comes to about $260,000. That expense will be split evenly among the three entities that comprise the ambulance board: the city of Fairfield, Jefferson County and Jefferson County Health Center.

Ambulance board member Lee Dimmitt, who represents the county, said the board owning its own ambulances is a departure from the prior practice of having the ambulance provider own them.

Before he joined the board, it sold its ambulances to Midwest Ambulance. But the current board membership wanted more control over its capital assets. It didn’t want to be in the position of changing ambulance providers and then being left with no ambulances of its own to fall back on.

Earlier this year, the ambulance board voted to change its service from Midwest Ambulance to CARE Ambulance out of Iowa City. CARE will assume ambulance responsibilities on Oct. 1. Dimmitt said the contract between the board and CARE allows CARE to use the board’s ambulances without having to lease them.

“CARE will use them, but we’ll own them,” Dimmitt said. “If in the future, the board decides to go another direction, we’ll have assets to fall back on instead of having to start from scratch.”

CARE will supply one or two of its own ambulances for use in Jefferson County.

Dimmitt said he’s pleased with the price tag on the ambulances since it came in at about half of what the board expected. Bob Keller from Bob’s Automotive inspected the used ambulance, going through it with a “fine-tooth comb,” Dimmitt said.

“Bob was impressed with it,” Dimmitt remarked. “The used rig will be used primarily during the winter time since it’s a heavier rig. They’ll run it a couple of times per month to keep it limber.”