Great Bend Fire Department has purchased a new fire truck and ambulance in recent weeks, Chief Mike Napolitano said.
Both vehicle purchases were budgeted to replace older vehicles, which were used as trade-ins. Three-person committees researched specifications for both vehicles.
“They were very methodical,” Napolitano said, noting committee members spent two years researching specifications, even traveling to manufacturing plants to look at vehicles. “We feel like we got the best of everything.”
The Toyne-brand fire truck, built in Breda, Iowa, replaces a truck that was about 16 years old. “It’s got a bigger pump that can pump 1,500 gallons per minute,” Napolitano said.
With these purchases, GBFD moved its extrication equipment – commonly known at the Jaws of Life – from the two main ambulances to two fire trucks.
The fire department has two “first-out” ambulances and two backups. “We took one off the front line and put it on the back line,” Napolitano said. An 8-year-old back-line ambulance was used as a trade-in.
The new ambulance has more room in the patient compartment, making it easier for two paramedics to work on a patient at the same time.
Tony Leeds, who served on the ambulance committee, said the chassis is a 2012 Dodge pickup – they also looked at Chevys and Fords – and the “box” was built by Osage Ambulance, based in Linn, Mo. “This one has an air ride system,” which means it stands taller and provides a smoother ride than the older ambulances, he said. It also has a feature that allows paramedics to lower the box when loading a patient.
Along with these new vehicles, Great Bend has an all-terrain vehicle that was purchased last summer with a donation from Sheryl Cheely, in memory of her late husband Ray, for use by the Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services. Napolitano said the ATV has a pump for small grass fires and is especially useful when a vehicle is needed on the river.