PLANT CITY, Fla. -- A successful state grant application will help provide Plant City Fire Rescue with another ambulance.
The $102,750 grant was provided by the Florida Department of Health to expand emergency medical service transport capability.
Fire Chief George Shiley said the grant, prepared by EMS Chief Jim Wilson, was one of 70 provided by the state, and the only one that was awarded the state's full allocation of 75 percent for an emergency vehicle. The city provided an additional $34,250 for the new ambulance, priced at $137,000.
"We saw the need for a new emergency transport vehicle in January," Wilson told the city commission June 27. "The acceptance of this grant will allow us to place the new ambulance on the road. That will make us less dependant on mutual aid response agencies, providing the city with the means to take care of our own citizens and visitors during emergency medical calls."
The new ambulance will be ordered in July and is expected to be in service October 1.
Commissioner Bill Dodson asked if the operation of the new ambulance would incur additional costs to the city.
"We will continue to operate with the same number of personnel," Wilson said. "The new ambulance will replace a basic life support unit that is a 2002 model. That unit will be used as a spare when the new ambulance arrives."
The city presently operates two advanced life support ambulances, manned with two paramedics and all the medical apparatus and medications needed. Those vehicles were purchased in 2006 and 2008.
A third ambulance, purchased in 2002, is licensed as a basic life support vehicle and is used primarily to transport patients with non-life threatening injuries.
Under the present operation protocol, when a medical emergency call is received by a Plant City dispatcher, the fire station involved will ideally respond with an ambulance only. The former practice of sending a fire truck and ambulance to a purely medical call no longer exists, Wilson said.