The Idyllwild Fire Protection District is the proud owner of two new ambulances, which were purchased last Wednesday through a General Services Administration auction and picked up Friday.
Both were acquired for slightly less than $45,000 each.
Although Fire Chief Patrick Reitz and the district’s Finance Committee have discussed replacing the district’s two ambulances, an emergency action was necessary at Tuesday’s commission meeting to authorize their possible purchase with a limit to bid up to $50,000 for each ambulance.
“I was just notified Monday about one ambulance and I did the research and found two,” Reitz told the commission. “I see this as an opportunity and don’t know when we’ll get another chance.”
Based on the research of new ambulances, which he had already completed, Reitz said, “One brand new rig never driven would cost about $130,000 per unit.”
Both of these are very low-mileage units and conform to Riverside County’s Emergency Medical Service’s standards, Reitz added. One has less than 20,000 miles and the other less than 25,000 miles compared to the district’s ambulances which both have more than 100,000 miles, with one approaching 150,000 miles.
Another $10,000 investment per ambulance will be needed to get them ready for use, including equipment, he estimated.
The district has sufficient cash reserves for the purchase, according to President Jerry Buchanan, who said in an email announcing the successful acquisition, “We currently have sufficient cash flow to handle the purchase if we decide to use our own funds instead of a loan or lease.”
Reitz will investigate financing options over the next several weeks. If he identifies financing beneficial to the district, Buchanan said the commission will discuss it at the March meeting.
“If we choose to finance them, the chief will be coming back at the next meeting on financing terms and our best options. This way we do not need to rush the process as financing is tough to hurry,” he added.
When asked what will happen to the two existing ambulances, Reitz told the commission, “I’d like to keep at least one for reserve. The other can go down the road or equip for transport for the volunteers.”