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City of Lanett to purchase new ambulance

LANETT — The City of Lanett had planned to purchase a new ambulance in next year’s budget but will be speeding up the process due to a string of bad luck with the three ambulances Lanett Fire & EMS currently have available.

On Monday, the city council approved a resolution to use $245,000 in American Rescue Plan funds it has received to purchase a Ford F-450 ambulance from Frazer Ambulance Company of Houston, Texas.

At a previous council meeting, Lanett Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen talked with the council about the continuing problems his department had had with keeping ambulances on the road. All three of them had been sidelined at one time or another undergoing repairs. To keep a full fleet on the road, Lanett was having to borrow a spare ambulance from West Point.

The city’s newest ambulance is currently undergoing repair work in Auburn. Since it’s under warranty, the cost of that job should be covered.

At the previous meeting, there was some question whether the American Rescue Plan funds the city received from the federal government could be used to purchase a new ambulance. Mayor Kyle McCoy then asked City Attorney Stanley Gray to determine if funds could be used in that manner. Gray determined that it could be. That cleared the way for the council to go ahead with the purchase.

Council Member Angelia Thomas asked Allen how long it would be before the new ambulance would arrive.

“I think we could have it here by November,” he said. “I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy. I don’t think we will need a lot of special features on it. We have a good working relationship with the company that will be building it, and I think they could have it to us in that time.”

Purchasing an ambulance is not like purchasing a new car. The order has to be placed and the ambulance built according to specifications. It will take a couple of months to get it done, but by going ahead and placing the order now rather than waiting for a new budget to be adopted, the city won’t have to wait until the calendar year 2022 for a new ambulance to arrive.

Allen said the problems his department has been having with ambulances was with the chassis area and not the patient area on the back. “We haven’t had a problem with the ambulance manufacturers,” he said. ‘What we will be getting won’t be a large ambulance. It will be a smaller one, but it will get the job done. If we were to build a larger-size ambulance from the ground up, we might have to pay $450,000.