Oroville looking to lease ambulance while wrecked unit out of service

OROVILLE – The City of Oroville is trying to find a second ambulance to lease while it’s determined whether repairs can be made to the main unit, which was damaged when struck by another vehicle.

The Emergency Medical Services District’s ambulance, Unit 263 has been out of commission since the accident occurred and the older ambulance, Unit 264, has been doing duty in its place. However, the backup unit has been having problems of its own, according to Debra Donahue, the ambulance coordinator.

“Ambulance (263) is to be put on the framing machine at Damskov to determine the extent of the damage. That’s to take place some time in the next three weeks,” said City Clerk Kathy Jones, in her report to the city council at their Tuesday, July 5 meeting.

Jones added that the city’s insurers have agreed to pay rental on a replacement, but will not pay mileage.

“Do we have anything available for rental?” asked Mayor Chuck Spieth.

Donohue said that Braun Northwest in Chehalis, Wash. had a unit they would lease the city for $2800 a month and 25 cents a mile. She also said that the Colville Confederated Tribe might have a unit they could rent to the city, but the person who she had contacted in Nespelem was on vacation at the moment. By having to pay Braun 25 cents a mile the city would lose half the mileage they currently charge for transporting patients.

“It’s imperative we do get an ambulance,” Donahue said, explaining that although Unit 264 was a backup it has its own reoccurring problems.

“We haven’t had two calls yet at the same time she,” she added. “However, Tonasket is down to one ambulance as well which is a concern.”

Donahue said until the city gets a leased ambulance the plan is to have EMTs go to the scene with equipment in private vehicles if a second call comes in while Unit 264 is out. If transport is involved the EMTs will have have to wait for Unit 264 becomes available or until the Tonasket ambulance is available, Donahue explained.

She said that over the Fourth of July holiday the EMS had five calls to Chesaw in three days and that the ambulance received nine calls total over the weekend.

The Fourth of July Rodeo went “awesome” according to Donahue. Tonasket and Oroville teamed up to cover the event. Tonasket brought their ambulance with a driver and Oroville had three EMTs there.

Councilman Jon Neal suggested that if Donahue doesn’t hear back from Nespelem soon that she talk with Braun about upping the monthly rate and dropping the per mile charge.

“It’s very rare to find an ambulance to lease,” said Donahue, who added that Braun had its advantages because it was ready to lease to the city right away.

She also felt that the company might be willing to deal because the EMS District will most likely be in the market for a new ambulance in the near future. She said the ambulance from the Colville Confederated Tribe has the advantages of being located close to Oroville and would probably have radios compatible with what Oroville already has.

Councilwoman Neysa Roley made a motion to allow the two members of the ambulance committee, Councilmen Tony Koepke and Walt Hart III, to make the decision about the lease at the next EMS District meeting. Councilman Neal seconded the motion and it was approved.