New ambulance van for Mammoth Spring Fire Department

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Mammoth Spring Fire Department has made a much needed department upgrade -- obtaining an ambulance van, which will serve as a service and rescue vehicle. On Thursday, Feb. 7, Fire Department Chief Scott Wilcox and other firefighters drove to Wheaton, Miss. to pick up the van.

Mayor Jean Pace told The South Missourian News that the fire department had been needing another service vehicle for quite some time. "We have known that we needed a heavier duty van than what we had. Our rescue van is too light weight for everything, like the jaws of life, we had on it," Mayor Pace said.

The Mayor is confident that the new vehicle will be exactly what the department needed. "The van is in excellent condition, and it will service us for a long time. It was something if we found a good deal on, something we were looking to purchase. It will benefit our fire department greatly."

The city was able to finance the vehicle, which will allow the fire department to make payments over a three year period. A special City Council meeting was held to allow the council to approve the financing plan, which was determined to be more beneficial than paying off the van with existing city funds. "The council approved the purchase in our last month's meeting," Pace explained, "but the bank required a resolution, which had to be passed by the council, for the city to borrow the money."

Fire Chief Wilcox, said the main reason for the purchase is, the department is required to have a second service vehicle. The recently purchased ambulance van provides more storage, which will help responders be more prepared on calls.

"At a lot of the wrecks and calls we have to respond to, the weather is inclement. We need the bigger rig to put people in until an ambulance arrives. We do a lot of first responder runs, especially in the summer time," Wilcox said. Since Spring River is a very popular tourist attraction, the department has had as many as 10 or 12 calls during big weekends.

"We are really proud to get it, and I think it is going to benefit us a lot to carry our extra equipment for fire rescues, as well as wrecks," Wilcox said.

The second use of the van will be as a service vehicle. It will hold extra oxygen, tools and different things needed on fire scenes. "It is a dual purpose, it will also be helpful to the guys fighting fires to go in there and rehabilitate because it's air conditioned and heated. It serves a lot of purposes," Wilcox said.

In the one week the department has had the van, it has equipped and made it ready to use. One of the final steps in making the van complete for the department, is having it re-lettered to identify the Mammoth Spring Fire Deparmtent.

Wilcox has been chief for two years and said the department averages approximately 70 calls per quarter. The calls include fires, wrecks and all calls that ambulances are called out to, because firefighters also serve as first responders.

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