By Joe Whalen
Havre is purchasing two new ambulances to replace it aging fleet.
After researching bids from three companies, Havre Fire Chief David Sheppard recommended purchase of ambulances from Pacific Emergency Vehicles Inc., a manufacturer based in Vancouver, Wash. The Finance Committee and the City Council both approved the recommendation with unanimous votes.
The pair of Med Tec Type III vehicles cost $182,232 a price that includes a $5,200 rebate from the Ford Motor Co., which manufactures the ambulance chassis. Furthermore, a rebate of $2,400 will be provided by Pacific Emergency Vehicles if the ambulances are picked up at the company's factory in Goshen, Ind. The accepted bid was the lowest of the three considered by the Finance Committee.
"The Fire Department has had a model over here, so they've had an opportunity to look at the product," Finance Committee chair Helen Hill said, adding, "We're obligated to take the lowest bid if it meets (specifications), or what the department requests when it lets the bids."
Sheppard recommended the purchase after consulting with the Idaho Falls, Idaho, Fire Department, which has owned seven Med Tec Type III ambulances for the past five years, each of which has accrued about 150,000 miles, and has experienced no major problems with the vehicles. Havre's new pair will replace the city's two older Type III ambulances, which have accrued roughly 100,000 miles each in 10 years of service.
"The Idaho Falls Fire Department runs their EMS there just like we do, so I thought it would be a good comparison," Sheppard said. "They basically said that they're happy with the vehicles. They haven't had any problems, and they're pleased with the product."
The order placed with Pacific Emergency Vehicles will take 120 days to fill. Two fire department representatives will fly to Indiana next spring, pick up the ambulances and drive them to Havre.
In a related motion, the City Council unanimously approved a request to move Havre's antique fire truck, a 1919 American-LaFrance, from its current location in a bay at the fire house to the railroad museum, where it will be displayed along the north wall for visitors to admire. The move is required for the Fire Department to create space for the two new ambulances.
One of the old ambulances will be retired and remain at the Fire Department, where the antique fire truck now sits. The other will be used as a police evidence-gathering vehicle.