Firth acquires used ambulance from Pennsylvania, prepares to put it in service in 2023

An update on Firth's used ambulance purchase.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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PANAMA, Neb. (KOLN) - Significant progress has been made for Firth Rural Fire when it comes to the process of establishing an ambulance service.

The southern Lancaster County volunteer department recently was able to purchase a used ambulance from another volunteer department in Pennsylvania. Fire Chief Doug Doeschot says the original plan was to obtain Crete Volunteer Fire & Rescue’s used ambulance after they received their new ambulance. However, because of supply chain issues, Crete told Firth their new ambulance wouldn’t arrive until sometime late next summer.”

“That meant we couldn’t do that, and so we had to go online and start looking [for a used ambulance],” Doeschot said.

That led to the discovery of a used ambulance that was for sale in Hughestown, Pennsylvania. Doeschot says the medic unit has just been completely redone and was being sold, after Hughestown was able to purchase a new ambulance through a grant program.

$24,000 later, Firth now has Hughestown’s used ambulance, which Doeschot says is in great shape.

Volunteers and residents gather inside Firth Rural Fire's station in Panama to get an update on...
Volunteers and residents gather inside Firth Rural Fire's station in Panama to get an update on the process of starting an ambulance service for their district.(Ryan Swanigan (KOLN))

Now, the real work begins for Firth, as they try to fully stock the ambulance with all the necessary medical supplies. Doing that, however, is easier said than done.

“We weren’t really planning on purchasing an ambulance this year,” Doeschot said. “It’s going to cost about $120,000 to stock it. That’s including the cot that goes inside, the defibrillator, the monitors, and all the basic supplies, so that’s obviously more than the used ambulance by quite a bit.”

Firth is hoping to fund everything through grants and donations. The department has already applied for two different ARPA Grants. The recipients of those will be announced in December.

“Obviously I’m a taxpayer, too,” Doeschot said. “So, I don’t want to raise taxes any more than the next guy, so we’re hoping we can get people to donate in lieu of us raising taxes.”

Doeschot says once all the equipment, it’ll be time to get trained on operating the ambulance and utilizing the medical supplies.

“{Hickman} volunteered to bring {their ambulance} over and help us with the process of taking care of a patient and transporting them to the hospital,” Doeschot said.

Firth adds that, if all goes well and everything is ready, the ambulance will be in service in late February or March at the earliest. Doeschot says that’s well ahead of when their automatic response contract with Lincoln Fire & Rescue ends (end of August, 2023). He adds that the department is still looking for volunteers and donations. The best way to contact them about that is by messaging them on their Facebook page.