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New Rig Purchase Commision

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Hey all. Hope everything is well with everyone.

Well we had our first business meeting of the year, first one as well with me being 1st LT. Well it was decided and voted on that we need to purchase a new rig. Our tired old one is at that point where putting money into it is no longer viable due to age and number of issues. Well being 1st LT I am responsible for all the rigs and supplies so naturally I was appointed to the commision along with several others.

I was wondering if anyone here has ever been part of the process of purchasing a new rig andf what it entails. Also I would like suggestions, what do you like on your rigs what dont you like. There are a few things that are predetermined for our new rig so thats the easy part. Everything else is up in the air.

The predetermined is it will be a Ford F450 chassis, 4 wheel drive (replacing the old 4 wheel drive unit), and will use a standard box size in the back (to fit in our bays).

Now everything else is up in the air LOL.

Any info would be a great help. I have a few ideas but would like to hear others as well.

Thanks folks

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There are many steps in the process:

But first a little background info on your service:

Do you need to follow municipal purchasing policy?

If not what are your departments purchasing requirements for capitol items?

Do you have a preferred vendor or sales rep?

What type of set up do you need, ALS or BLS?

How soon do you need the new truck in service?

After we get these answers then we can go on to the next steps.

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Background is:

We are a fully Volunteer Agency that owns our own equipment and building. We are in talks with our local municipality (sp) to differ some of the cost if possible.

Our departments capitol purchase program is basically we gets bids submit them to the corps members and a vote is taken. The commision is set up to do the leg work so final submital to the membership will be smooth.

Right now we do not have a favorite or prefered vendor. Our last rig purchase was in 1995 and we are shopping. As stated in the OP the only requirements that must stand are the chassis (F450) be a four wheel drive and have a standard box to fit inside our bays.

We are a fully BLS squad that has ALS support in chase trucks.

The rig doesn't need to be in service extremly quickly (we know it takes time) but we need a new rig so we are starting the process. Hopefully by end of year or early next year we would take delivery, sooner if possible but not necessary. We can keep our current unit in service for as long as possible, but would rather not spend capitol on big ticket items to repair it if possible. FYI we were inspected by the state commision in December 2010 and fully certified as to operation, saftey and compliance with our current rig. We are not going to jepordize patients or ourselves just to save a buck. She's just a tired old gal that has seen alot, time for retierment.

Feel free to ask away. I was looking at Horton Bodies just a little while ago seem nice. Definatly want LEDs instead of incadecent. LOL why do we look at the pretty lights first LOL

Edited by UGLyEMT
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I would suggest, if there are any associations of either commercial and/or volunteer EMS departments, to use them to find out where and when there's a trade show, with "demonstrator" ambulances, either in your state, or a nearby state.. The vendor you've previously done business with might be able to advise on this, too. That way, you might get a better idea what is available.

Don't refer to a "standard size" box on your type 1, 2, or 3 ambulance. The so called "standard size" may have changed from when you purchased the one being replaced, either direction of larger or smaller, taller or wider. Everything, to a degree, is customized for the customer.

On that last, think about what supplies and equipment you are using, and if you want to be able to access them from only outside, only inside, or both. Cabinet and compartment sizes can be needing custom sizing. I know a few departments measured off by a quarter inch, and couldn't close the doors on the compartment they were going to put the Hurst Tool "Jaws" into.

Get input from other agencies that have also made similar purchases recently. Sometimes their error will prevent you from repeating it.

Look into used. Many departments give up decent stuff, because they want the newest of the new, with all the fancy bells, buzzers and whistles. A few are looking more for display pieces, not actual work-a-day pieces, but it could still work to your benefit, price wise.

Think of the geographics of your service district. Are you in spread out countryside, mountain top, densely populated city? Are you prone to flooding, or heavy snows? You already mentioned 4x4 drive as a requirement, so you already know that is going to up the price significantly.

Just a few things to consider.

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Thanks for the info points Richard. I am in Rural Highlands NJ so we basically know the lovely weather we see.

As I was researching some designs I did see the Type 1 2 3 sizing. I have to go dig out the old schematics and see what Type our old rig is and of course take measurements. The other squad in our area forgot this and the rig was 2 inches too wide and 1 inch too tall to fit in there bay LOL. I will keep exterior specs in mind and on a handy reference card when we go vendor shoping.

Good point about the trade shows, time to look around. I know AC's is in october so thats one to keep in mind. Have to check Javit's website for a schedule.

As far as the equipment compartments we are hoping (as was suggested during the meeting) to see if we can keep our current configurantion of cabnits and doors. They are the same on both our rigs and everyone knows where to find everything almost by memory. We carry alot of equipment but nothing of the heavy rescue kind (unless you call a halogen bar heavy rescue). One set of cabnits are inside/ outside accesable so we will be looking to keep them that way also want (more would like) to keep the seat on the driverside of the stretcher in place, comes in handy when ALS is onboard.

I do ride with the other Squad from time to time doing mutaul aid and like their new rigs. Some things I do some things I dont so I have been taking notes. A problem we do have up our way is alot of Squads are using older equipment so not alot of new to check out.

Yes the 4 wheel drive is uping the price but a necessity in our area. Big snowfalls, narrow winding roads, some dirt roads (yes folks my town still has unpaved roads) so it is really important. Also you never know when NYC will need us again (wink wink :whistle: )

Thanks for the questions folks. It is helping me think of what I need to ask vendors and suppliers and keeping the details in mind. Its always the small stuff that sometimes gets lost in this kind of process that can lead to disasters down the road.

Keep them coming.


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Hey Ugly.

I don't know if you've considered a demo or remount, but they can save you a considerable amount of money. The service I am employed by just bought a demo ambulance with 10,000 miles on it, fully loaded, for just over $100,000. Just food for thought.

Here is one that fits your criteria.


Good luck with your venture!

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firstly congratulations on your appointment

potentially with the relatively wide open spec you've got you could innovate depending on the willingness of the organisation and the flexibility of the suppliers

livery ( i.e. passive high visibility), moving and handling , crashworthiness ...

Edited by zippyRN
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Since you are in new jersey, take a road trip over to the shore , to visit PL Custom. They are located in Manasquan.


I've been in EMS since the early 70's and have worked in trucks from just about every manufacturer in the U.S. and a couple from Canada.

They are a family owned business and build in my opinion the nicest ambulance with the strongest body available. There warrantees are without question the best in the industry.

We bought a new Medallion 170 type III last year. I went down to the factory to do the final inspection and acceptance, and was greeted personally by every employee from the owner

Jean Smock on down to the janitor with a handshake and thanks for allowing them to build our new ambulance. Many of the employees have been there for 25 + years.

Very impressive manufacturing facility from the welding & fabrication dept, the Paint shop to building their own electrical control systems all in house. I think the only thing they sub out is the upholstery cushions which are done by a local business.

When we wrote our RFP and went out to bid , they were actually lower than several lesser quality trucks. They can build a truck to meet your exact needs and have a Ford QVM factory

authorized warrantee service facility onsite.'

edited to add PL website link

Edited by island emt
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I'm going to get back to you with information on a trade show at the Nassau Coliseum, in Uniondale, Nassau County Long Island, in late February, with vendors showing off Engine, Ladder, Rescue, Airport Crash Rescue, and ambulance vehicles, and just about everything to equip them, or dress the crews with. I've always been provided with free event tickets, so I have no idea the cost, plus, parking is NEVER free. It's a 2 day event, over a weekend. I was not able to locate the information on the Nassau Coliseum's website, but you might be able to get dates from the New Jersey First Aid Squad's association (probably messed up their name).

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