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Great Falls Emergency Services welcomes refurbished ambulance

Posted at 3:47 PM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-24 11:43:26-05

GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Emergency Services has welcomed home one of their ambulances after some much-needed work.

Last September, one of their seven vehicles was taken out of service due to various issues impacting the vehicle's ability to fully function.

GFES manager Justin Grohs said they try to put a new vehicle into the fleet approximately every year.

Grohs explained, "We like to keep a fleet of ambulances that is very high quality so we can service the communities correctly. We don't want any trucks that have excessively high mileage, and excessively worn out ... What we've had success with the last several years is a re-chassis refurb in which the box itself is significantly refurbished and placed on a brand-new chassis."

The refurbished ambulance runs on a 2023 Ford gas engine chassis with only a couple hundred miles.

While GFES was short one vehicle for the last few months, Grohs said that didn't seem to pose any challenges.

"We generally have one or two more trucks than we need in our fleet for that reason," Grohs said. "Sometimes trucks need to go in for preventative maintenance, so having a seventh truck in our fleet allows us the flexibility to pull that truck out of service for a while and not suffer any major effects."

GFES has worked with various companies to get the vehicles refurbished. For the past several years, they have worked with Arrow Manufacturing of Iowa. Grohs explained why he is pleased with the work they have done.

"I have been real pleased with Arrowhead Manufacturing," he said. "They are a relatively small operation. They've refurbed several trucks for us at this point."

He added, "One of the things I really like is the craftsmanship, which is really excellent. They're a relatively small operation, so it's clear that a lot of care and expertise and hard work is put into each unit that they provide. We've also found them to be a great source of parts when we need specialized ambulance parts. An ambulance is a very unique vehicle, unlike anything else. It is essentially an emergency room. So it’s on a truck or a van chassis with an interface of HVAC, electrical, and a number of other things that have to be meshed together in order to form a good ambulance.”