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Pettis County’s ambulance fleet on display

September 20, 2013

in Local

By Randy Kirby
Managing editor

The Pettis County Ambulance District unveiled its four new ambulances and one administrator truck Friday at the Missouri State Fair Fire Station.

The site will also house a ton of supplies to outfit each ambulance. The service is expected to go live and accept calls starting at 12 a.m. Oct. 1, according to Mike Gardner administrator.

Two of the ambulances were manufactured by Mercedes Benz and two were made by Ford. The pickup truck is a Chevy.

“The Mercedes (with diesel engines) will primarily be for transfers, but they will also be stocked for emergency calls, so there won’t be any difference in the equipment inside,” Gardner noted.

The Fords (with V-10 gasoline engines) have larger interiors. There is about a $10,000 difference between the Fords and the Mercedes, he added. The Fords cost $123,000, while the Mercedes cost $133,000 each.

“They’re all paid for,” Gardner stressed. “We haven’t borrowed any money yet, so everything that we’ve done so far, we’ve been able to pay off; we’re not in debt at all.”

The ambulance district administrator noted that he and his board have been working on the project since he was hired in January.

“A lot of the paperwork and things were done, which I really commend the board for that, because they had a lot of the tax set, getting all the Dept. of Revenue stuff done,” he said.

“When I walked in (in January) it was just a room with carpet, and that’s where we started from,” Gardner recalled. “ I asked ‘OK do I have a table or desk or chair?’”

“So the landlord came up with a folding table and a chair for me, so that’s where we started,” he laughed. “But it’s awesome, we’ve come a long way since then.”

Osage Industries (Linn, Mo.,) detailed the ambulances from plain white trucks to outstanding emergency vehicles emblazoned with Pettis County Ambulance District’s logo and color scheme of deep blue and gold.

“These are all hand-built, it’s absolutely amazing,” Gardner said of Osage Industries’ handiwork. As for the design, Gardner came up with that, and offered the board well over a half-dozen options on the color scheme.

The State Fair Fire Station location will be home for the fleet for the next 120 days. Plans call for the Pettis County Ambulance District to inhabit the old Butternut building in downtown Sedalia, across from the Elks Lodge.

“That’s probably a three-year project,” Gardner said of the proposed new location. In the meantime, we’ll be planning our new facilities.”

Gardner said he loves his job and is excited about the future with the district. “It’s really been an experience. I did a lot of work in Warsaw, and to start with an empty office, to where we are now is exciting.”

Currently, the ambulance district has 24 full-time employees, (four full-time office staff, including Gardner) plus six part-time employees. “So we’re ready to go,” he stated, adding that the final orientation classes will be held Sept. 25-26.

“All the radio systems are being installed now; all of our infrastructure is already in, and we’ve got our repeaters,” he said. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.

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