Friday, March 29, 2013

Remounted and refurbished

A pretty slick trick was unveiled to the public yesterday by Lincoln Fire & Rescue.  Logistics Chief Kendall Warnock and his staff took an old ambulance that had been relegated to backup status, and worked some real magic on it.  Our back up ambulances are the rolling stock we bring up when a front-line unit is temporarily out of commission, or when heavy workload requires standing up additional medic units.

The backups are awfully tired iron: they've already served on the front line for more than ten years, and are pushing 200,000 miles.  Those miles, however, are accumulated in emergency response, in a lot of stop and go urban driving, and with tons of idling.  You could probably double that mileage for a comparison with a vehicle operated in normal driving conditions.

The cost of replacing an ambulance with a comparable new unit would be in the neighborhood of $175,000. Instead, however, the staff remounted the box from the backup unit on an entirely-new Chevy drive train and chassis. Hoist up the box, drive the old truck out, the new one in, and bolt the box back on.  Well, not quite. It was really a quite extensive project.

Along with the new drive train, the ambulance got a new wrap and graphics (at half the cost of a paint job), new LED lighting inside and out, new flooring,  new upholstery in the back, and a host of other repairs and replacements.  The upfitting is really exceptional, and the net cost was about $85K to $100K less than new.

The unit is on the front line now, in order to put some miles on and get some experience before it returns to first-backup status.  We will probably do another remount later this year, and if this all proves as successful as it appears at first blush, I expect this will become the standard way we extend the life of our fleet without compromising performance and patient care.

Nice job by all involved!


Eric said...

Is this the one I saw recently going through Downtown with a regular siren instead of the electronic Q Siren??? I was wondering about that... for a while, I was afraid that LFR was replacing the Q siren on the new ambulances with regular ones, which would have been a shame! What a relief!!! I've only seen it from the back, though... hope LFR has a pic of it sometime!

Anonymous said...

As an old, former (I realized my own mortality and hung up my helmet) sport bike rider, I think the reborn unit will probably come in handy tonight, with all of the MCs that are sure to be buzzing around.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, LFR, as always.

Anonymous said...

As I recall from a past city council meeting wasn't this why the city purchased these trucks in the first place. If I remember correctly Councilman Camp questioned LFR (before you were the director)why they had to purchase brand new ambulances that year when they could have done exactly what you described. At the time the only answer LFR and the city could give to not doing this then was because they had already planned on buying new ones and were not prepared to do the conversions. One would think if the main purpose in purchasing these rigs was to convert them as you described, someone should have understood what that process would involve. I guess this just proves that you are doing exactly what the mayor created this position for. Im glad to see that they are doing what they should have been doing all along. I'm glad to see that your leadership has forced LFR to become fiscally responsible. Kudos to you.

darndog said...

Great idea. Would Journal Star be interested in doing an article?

Herb said...

This is a fantastic way to continue using the resources available.

I am only disappointed in the fact that it took LFR this long to start doing remounts.

Private ambulance companies have been doing this for years. I believe Midwest Medical has converted a half dozen units over the last year or so, and they put (literally) hundreds of thousands of hour and miles on a unit before new engines. They have two mechanics for a fleet four times as large as LFR. They do it without a hoist, in a shop 1/3rd the size of LFR. They certainly didn't "have to" spend over $10,000 on equipment to do their first unit.

What I find even more disheartening is that LFR did not even consider reaching out to the private community to obtain free knowledge or to educate their personnel.

It's a great start, Mr. Director, but it certainly isn't the much to brag on.

Anonymous said...

Your "unveiled" link appears to redirect to a dead address.