LFR saves $85K by fixing up old ambulance - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

LFR saves $85K by fixing up old ambulance

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By: Megan Palera

We all know budgets are tight right now. But Lincoln Fire and Rescue is working to get the most bang for your taxpayer buck. It's saving thousands of dollars on medic units by building it themselves.

On the outside and inside, Medic 3 looks brand new. But what you don't know is that its an old reserve unit with a major facelift.

"Our reserve medic units that we were having to lean on, simply were at the end of its life-cycle," Division Chief Kendall Warnock said.

It's called a remount - a very first for Lincoln Fire and Rescue. First the old unit is stripped down to just a frame. Then comes a new chassis and an upgrade to the patient care compartment. It took the 7-member LFR team five and half months to complete the remodel.

The best part is the savings - more than what LFR expected. The remount cost $79,000 and that includes labor - overtime for the workers - and parts. Compare that to a new unit priced at $164,000. That's an $85,000 difference.

"There's so much cost savings in doing this that we could potentially remount our new medic units twice," Warnock said.

That means triple the life cycle of each unit, adding on about 6 more years before the department must buy new.

"As the city grows and the ambulances become busier, we certainly need to look at some cost savings and this is certainly a huge cost savings for the city and the fire department," Warnock said.

More often that not, reserve units like Medic 3 are called out to emergencies. So having the best, at an even better price, makes LFR's first remount a huge success.

The next one will likely take place in the fall. Warnock says he hopes to put it all together for even less this next time around.

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