GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Emergency Services is on their way to getting a new look for one of their seven ambulances. Ambulance 621 will get ready to be shipped to Arrow Manufacturing in Iowa, where they have a 2022 Ford Chassis ready to install.
As part of the process, Arrowhead will take the box out of the original ambulance and place it on to the new chassis, refurbishing the inside of the box.
Great Falls Emergency Services manager Justin Grohs said, "We try to put a new vehicle into the fleet approximately every year, and one of the approaches we found to be successful is a process, where this ambulance, which is 2014 will soon be sent to Iowa where the box will be removed from the old 2014 Chassis and placed onto a new 2022 Ford Chassis. The box is connected to the chassis, all of the wiring, all of the HVAC components, the box is refurbed on the inside as far as the cabinets, it's re-painted, it comes back looking like an all-new truck. We've had a great deal of success of keeping our fleet current with low mileage."
Grohs added that while this occurs about once a year, it's done with various companies. EMS has been working with Arrow Manufacturing for the past several years, and said they are pleased with the work they have done.
GFES is soon to be short one truck, but Grohs said it's not too much of a concern given that they have four main vehicles with the other three used as backup for more severe situations.
Grohs said, "We like having a full fleet of seven. Call volume wise, we can get by with six trucks. The seventh is a little bit of a luxury so we can exist quite fine without the seventh, but we are anxious to get it back, especially because it's a brand-new truck, so everyone wants to work out of that truck when it gets back into town."
EMT/Fleet Manager Elijah Collins said that while it's nice to get that seventh truck operational, the lack of one truck hasn't negatively impacted EMS' job.
Collins said, "Older trucks come with more issues. You get issues with parts failing, that's just an issue with older cars, and older trucks."
GFES said the process to get their ambulance refurbished takes a couple of months. They hope to get their "new" before the end of the year.
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