The city of Elma hopes to start treating medical needs using an ambulance discarded by the city of Montesano.
Last month, the Montesano City Council surplussed its ambulance to Elma for just $500. Montesano Fire Chief Corey Rux said that the ambulance was just no longer needed, since the city had purchased a new one.
The city’s old ambulance was about 13 years old and had 207,000 miles on it. The chief estimated it would need about $5,000 in repairs to it.
Montesano Councilman Pat Herrington questioned why the city didn’t just pay the money to fix the ambulance rather than buy a new one for $182,000. Herrington wondered why the ambulance was good enough for Elma, but not Montesano. He was the sole councilman to vote against the transfer to Elma. Rux noted that Montesano transports to hospitals, while Elma would not do that service. Frankly, Rux said, the ambulance was not reliable and could put patients at a risk when transporting up to Seattle. It had just broken down by the time the new ambulance showed up.
Elma Fire Chief Dave Spalding says it was a good deal for his city. Elma has an all-volunteer fire service and no ambulance. The city is currently having the ambulance checked out, but he’s hoping the repair bill is far less than the $5,000 estimated by Rux.
Spalding said that the city is working with Fire District 5 to develop a potential emergency medical license that would allow Elma to transport patients in the face of a disaster.
“It’s a preparedness measure for us,” Spalding said.
Elma City Councilman Tom Boling thanked city officials in Montesano for arranging the deal. Boling notes that if nothing works out, the scrap value of the ambulance was worth far more than the $500 paid by Elma, anyway.