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Car dealership donates ambulance to Ind. fire department

The 1987 van-style ambulance will be used for BLS; the Ford dealership owner stepped up after hearing about the fire department's budget woes

By Mitchell Kirk

LOGANSPORT, Ind. — The Logansport Fire Department’s long-sought initiative to supplement ambulance services to the city recently met with unexpected success through a donation from a local car dealership.

The fire department received the 1987 van-style ambulance from Cass County Ford earlier this week.

Logansport Fire Chief Mark Strong said it will provide basic life support, or BLS, transportation within city limits. The vehicle will next have to be certified with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. The IDHS’s website provides checklists for the equipment mandated to be carried on BLS ambulances and applications for agency approval. Strong said he expects the certification to be complete within the next month.

Once it’s certified, the fire department will use the ambulance when the county’s current ambulance provider’s are on other runs.

“If there’s no ambulance available, we’ll roll out of here and transport them,” Strong said.

The Logansport Fire Department increased its efforts to get its own ambulance during last year’s budget talks following complaints from firefighters and public officials regarding lengthy response times from Rural/Metro, the company contracted to provide ambulance services to Cass County.

Logansport City Council responded to the complaints by budgeting $100,000 to the fire department for an ambulance and a new command vehicle. While the command vehicle was purchased, the department held off on a purchase for an ambulance after Rural/Metro proposed to lease one of its backups to the department for $1 a year. The money left over for the ambulance was left in the fund to serve as savings for a new fire truck in the future.

However, in March it was announced the $1/year lease wouldn’t be possible because of the federal guidelines Rural/Metro has to follow for accepting Medicaid and Medicare payments, one of which requires the company to do business at market value.

The fire department was back to square one on the ambulance initiative until Cass County Ford offered to donate the one the company used to promote its “Credit Doctor” service.

Jim Hayden, owner of Cass County Ford, said Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin approached him about the city fire department’s need for an ambulance.

“I really respect what this administration is getting done in this town,” Hayden said. “I said, ‘Sure, I’ll help out.’ If somebody’s life can be saved, that’s what businesses should do.”


©2014 the Pharos-Tribune (Logansport, Ind.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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