City leaders gave the Hebron Fire Department the go ahead to purchase a new ambulance during the regular January council meeting. The meeting was held Jan. 9, due to the New Years holiday.
HVFD Chief BJ Linton said the department decided to buy a new unit to fill in a void left to the volunteer service after Thayer County Ambulance was discontinued. The Hebron department used the county ambulance as a back up unit. Since the discontinuance, the Hebron department has turned to the Deshler department which has two units, to fill the need. There are a total of seven ambulances in Thayer County.
Linton stressed to the council that the new unit will cost the city nothing as funds for an ambulance are already in an HVFD account. “The ambulance is self-sufficient,” Linton said. “It didn’t cost the city anything to buy the first unit, and it won’t cost anything to buy the second.” What the HVFD chief was doing at the meeting Monday night was more or less asking the council for its blessing, as well as keeping the members informed about what the emergency volunteers were doing.
Concern that the Hebron department’s coverage area is consistently expanding was also discussed. Often the Hebron unit is used well outside of the City’s district as the department answers emergency calls to other communities for mutual aid.
Linton said a new unit will cost about $158,000. “We checked into used units and most had well over 100,000 miles on them,” he said. “We think we’re throwing money away going after a used unit.” The ambulance account, which annually collects about $35,000 a year, currently has a balance of $182,000.
“But we didn’t really want to spend all of the money either – we’d like to have some in reserve,” Linton added, “so we opted to look at a lease over the next seven years.”
Linton added that if the workers shuffle the existing fire equipment around, there will be room to store the new unit.