After years of raising money, a local fire department has replaced a 2001 emergency vehicle with a brand-new one that is far less expensive than a fire engine and easier to maneuver on narrow roads.
The Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department has taken delivery of an up-fitted 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe that has been designated as Life Support 7. It is a medical support response unit that can provide additional personnel and equipment on calls for emergency medical and fire and rescue services, and is capable of upgrading basic life support ambulances in Carroll County and York County, Pennsylvania, according to a news release from the fire company.
EMS Captain Matthew Burgan said the vehicle will benefit the whole community.
“The advantage to having a Tahoe over a full-sized fire engine is that the requirements to drive it are a lot less than it is to drive a full-sized car," said Burgan. "It’s cheaper to operate and it’s easier to get into some of the more narrow driveways. So, having that flexibility allows us to get the unit on the street faster with more qualified personnel and reach the scene in a more timely manner.”
The company donated its 2001 Tahoe to the Blackberry Volunteer Fire Department in Ransom, Kentucky.
The fire company was able to purchase the new vehicle with all the accessories and have it ready for service for just under $55,000, whereas a new “front line” fire engine would cost about $650,000, according to Burgan.
It took Lineboro about five years worth of fundraising to be able to purchase the new unit.
“We were just waiting for the right time to replace it,” Burgan said. “We had been setting money aside each year [through] various fundraising activities.”
The vehicle was purchased from Milford, Delaware and came from Chevrolet with the manufacturer’s Special Service package with features and upgrades that include four-wheel drive, a high output alternator and a premium suspension system, according to the release.
Once the vehicle was received from the dealership, it needed to have graphics applied, an emergency vehicle warning package and interior upgrade equipment installed, according to the press release.
To drive a fire engine for for Lineboro, drivers must have a Class B commercial driver’s license even though the state only requires a Class B driver’s license, Burgan said.
Burgan said Monday he is hoping to have the new Life Support 7 in use soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday tomorrow. He said the Kentucky-bound previous medical support response unit went out on calls about 20 times per month.