Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue gets massive ambulance upgrades - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue gets massive ambulance upgrades

(Source: WMBF News) (Source: WMBF News)
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Fire Department is getting a massive upgrade to its fleet of ambulances, while being resourceful to save tax money in the process.

An ambulance is a lifeline in an emergency, and keeping them in tip-top shape is a top priority. That's why Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue is completely upgrading its entire fleet, with two undergoing refurbishment and an all new ambulance joining the fleet.

The ambulances take a lot of wear and tear - one responds to every emergency call in Myrtle Beach.

So when there was a chunk of money left over from the $1.5 million the city got to replace its communication systems in the switch from analog to digital, fire rescue officials figured out how to put that money to the best use for the community.

They decided $425,000 - that leftover chunk- would go to refurbish two ambulances and buy another. One of the ambulances just got its makeover, and when the new ambulance arrives, the second will go to the shop.

“This is our first endeavor into refurbishing,” MBFR Chief Alvin Payne said. “But we were able to refurbish two units for the same price that we would be able to get one. So in turn, we saved the city and our residents a considerable amount of money. And they’ll get two basically new ambulances. And we think that’s a big deal for our community."

MBFR has three ambulances, one of which will become a spare when the new one arrives.

Chief Payne said it’s a perfect time for the upgrade, because the 2008-model ambulances are pretty much constantly in the shop.

"There's nothing worse than being broke down on the side of the road, especially if you have a patient in the compartment,” Chief Payne said. “We're very fortunate most of our stuff is found beforehand. But we have had trucks and ambulances break down on the road, and if it's a life-threatening situation, you don't want those things to happen, so for the outcome of our patients we think that having reliable equipment is paramount to anything."

On Tuesday's city council meeting, members will have the first reading of the ordinance to pass a lease purchase agreement of a max amount of $1.5 million, which will cover all of the new communication systems and upgrading the ambulances.

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