Alton Fire Department getting third ambulance, will run two trucks daily

ALTON — Nearly a year after the Alton Fire Department began offering ambulance service, its chief is adding to the fleet.

“Now that we have enough staff, we will be able to put two ambulances in service,” said Chief Bernie Sebold of the Alton Fire Department.

Sebold’s original plan in 2016 was to begin the service by operating two ambulances, with a third on standby, so as to raise money for the city. Paramedics already were going to medical calls but not transporting patients, which brought in no revenue. He later modified his plan by one truck, purchasing two ambulances late last year.

He plans to obtain the third truck next month.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, aldermen voted 6-1 to allow Sebold to buy a new, 2017 Dodge Ram demonstrator model from Osage Ambulances of Linn, Missouri, for $200,148. Alderwoman Stephanie Elliott, 6th Ward, voted “no.”

Sebold will use funds to make the purchase from APD’s line of credit with Liberty Bank, which has a $400,000 limit from which to draw. He used $160,000 from that source to buy the two first ambulances.

Sebold said the new ambulance could be in Alton within 45 days, and be in service by the end of the year, pending local installation of radio equipment that will be retrieved from an old truck in reserve. It also must pass an Illinois Department of Public Health inspection.

The forthcoming, 192-inch-long truck is a 2017 Dodge Ram 4500 with 4-wheel drive and 2,400 miles, he said.

The seller describes the ambulance as having a “custom super warrior conversion,” including graphics and Stryker power patient load system, stretcher and hydraulic lift system to prevent rescuers’ injuries in loading and unloading patients, among other equipment.

“It has $40,000 worth of equipment,” Sebold said, with Osage building the ambulance “box” that holds the patient and medical equipment.

Sebold said he plans to use the new ambulance as one of two frontline units and move one of the current trucks into reserve. He bought both of the first round of ambulances used. At that time, the 2012 model had 86,800 miles, and the 2009 ambulance had 28,000 miles logged on its odometer.

In event any of the ambulances’ cabs or chassis wear out, they have removable “boxes” than can be installed on a replacement truck.

Making department history, AFD initiated its first ambulance service on Jan. 17.

After the first 5.5 months of service, AFD paramedics had transported 1,130 patients and he said this…

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