Oak Creek uses grant for new ambulance
Oak Creek — Because of its financial situation, the Oak Creek Fire Protection District was able to get a new $185,000 ambulance for $18,500.
Each year, the state of Colorado has about $6.7 million in funding available for improving and expanding Colorado’s emergency medical and trauma services system.
Oak Creek Fire Chief Chuck Wisecup and EMS supervisor Angela Bracegirdle applied for a grant for the new ambulance.
Organizations are typically required to contribute 50 percent of the cost, but Oak Creek took advantage of a waiver process for organizations that cannot contribute 50 percent.
“We had the highest-rated grant application ever,” Bracegirdle said.
Since 2008, the assessed property values in the Oak Creek Fire Protection District have dropped 50 percent, which means the fire district’s revenues also decreased by that much.
As a result, the district had to put off big capital purchases like ambulances. For several years, the department eliminated a full-time position, and the district had to dip a little bit into reserves in 2015 to cover operating expenses.
Property values have started to rise again, but big purchases would not be possible without grants.
The new ambulance came equipped with several features that will make it safer for firefighters and EMTs to operate.
A large 100-plus-pound oxygen tank can be removed from the ambulance with a lift.
“Anybody can load and unload it,” Bracegirdle said. “It’ll save backs.”
That is also the case with a hydraulic patient-loading system.
On the road, a night vision system will help ambulance drivers spot wildlife.
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