New London firefighters welcome new ambulance

New London firefighters get a first look at the department's newest piece of equipment, a 2017 ambulance from Eastford Fire & Rescue, inside headquarters Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.  (Lindsay Boyle/The Day)
New London firefighters get a first look at the department's newest piece of equipment, a 2017 ambulance from Eastford Fire & Rescue, inside headquarters Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (Lindsay Boyle/The Day)

New London — City firefighters on Monday welcomed to headquarters a shiny new ambulance, the first for the department since 2010.

It’s a vehicle that “couldn’t have gotten here soon enough,” Mayor Michael Passero said. The city, he explained, was having a hard time keeping the ambulance that it's replacing on the road. An increasing number of calls for service was making matters worse.

According to Fire Marshal Vernon Skau, firefighters have responded to 200 more calls this year than last.

Made possible by a capital plan approved in March 2016, the $229,000 vehicle from Eastford Fire & Rescue is the first of two vehicles the department is slated to receive. The second is going to be a $500,000 pumper truck.

“This is something we’ve been waiting for a long time,” Fire Chief Henry Kydd said, explaining that it’s typical to replace ambulances every three to four years. “We’re pretty excited.”

Kydd got a committee together in May to hash out some of the details of what the ambulance, a 2017 model, should include. Then the city went into the bid process.

On the outside, residents may notice the blue in the medical emblems on the ambulance is darker than is traditional.

Inside, a $25,000 power loader lines the floor, prepared to lift and lower stretchers into and out of the ambulance. It’s an asset expected to save time and prevent back injuries.

Passero pointed out that the budget approved for fiscal year 2018 does not include a new capital plan. The city, he said, is not planning to borrow this fiscal year.

“We don’t buy anything in this city unless we’ve gotten to a point where we can’t get by without it,” he said.

l.boyle@theday.com

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