Commission approves purchase of new ambulance

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Osceola County Emergency Medical Services will add another ambulance to its fleet come early summer, following a unanimous vote by the county's board of commissioners at a meeting on Jan. 21.

The total cost for the ambulance is about $167,300, which includes delivery from where it is located in Florida. About $30,000 will come from the EMS department's budget and approximately $135,000 will come from insurance funds stemming from a Dec. 11 accident involving an Osceola County EMS ambulance and passenger vehicle. Osceola County EMS Director Jeremy Beebe said the incident took place during a return transfer journey from Munson in Traverse City when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction lost control and caused a collision. There was no passenger inside the ambulance and no one involved in the accident was injured, he added.

The new ambulance, a 2014 General Motors G45006.0-litre V-8 gasoline powered chassis Road Rescue UltraMedic, is equipped with a three-point harness, touch screen controls, an IV pole and more. Additional safety features will be added to the ambulance and Beebe will perform a pre-delivery inspection on the vehicle to verify Osceola County paint, striping, lettering and other specifications are met.

In other business, commissioners approved a motion to award Landmark Design Group with the opportunity to provide construction consulting services for the northwest quadrant EMS station location. Five bids were received, but Beebe said he recommended Landmark because the company offered its services at a lower cost of $6,000, which includes reimbursements, and because time to complete the task was estimated to be faster than the others.

During discussion, Beebe brought up an additional possible location for the station in Tustin, and asked if the site could be included in Landmark's services. Commissioners approved his request with a maximum cost of an additional $2,000.

Beebe also addressed the board regarding a grant application he wants to submit to receive some funding toward some new security cameras for the EMS stations in Marion and Reed City. The cost to purchase and install the cameras, which would be located in ambulance bays and around the perimeter of the buildings, is about $3,400. Beebe said he is hoping for the grant to cover $1,700.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow him to apply for the grant.

In other business, Ryan Pranger, business owner of Big Rapids Fleet and Auto Repair, Inc., addressed the board and asked if he could have permission to use photos of Osceola County EMS ambulances on a future advertising brochure. The business performs a number of tasks on the vehicles, including safety features and specialty installation for entities including Charter Communications and the Lily Township Fire Department. The brochures will be used to attract additional fire departments and EMS facilities to Big Rapids Fleet and Auto Repair. Pranger said decisions regarding the other entities' photos are pending.

Board members asked Beebe his opinion on the matter, to which Beebe said he would have no problem with the business using photos because Pranger and his team do a great job servicing the vehicles and nail down each issue.

After a short discussion, the board approved a motion to allow Pranger to use the photos, unless the other entities decide against it. If such a situation occurs, the commissioners will inquire the reason behind the objection and proceed further.

Also, Osceola County Commission on Aging Executive Director Scott Schryer presented a survey he plans on making available online and by mail regarding what information residents know about the organization and what programs or offerings they would like to see in the future. Schryer said he hopes to collect all data by April in order to build a five- to 10-year long-range plan.