Replacing Old Ambulances Becoming Priority in Wakulla County

As one rural county is finding out, care starts with good mechanics.

Aging ambulances can be the difference between life or death. They're fast but not furious, sturdy but not unbreakable, and time is the enemy.

In a perfect world the typical life-span for an ambulance is calculated in mileage: at 100,000 miles it's time to kill the engine, but in Wakulla County, this beast is breaking records, clocking over 200,000 miles in the past 10 years.

It’s something Wakulla County officials are concerned about.

Parrish Barwick, Wakulla County Administrator, says, “It's an emergency situation if you have critical injury; you don't want to hope the ambulance gets there.”

Instead it's time to retire the old ambulance and order a new chassis. That's what Fran Councill says and she's taking her request to county commissioners.

“We care and commissioners care that we have an ambulance that's able to start and get going.”

She says the process is easy: order a new chassis and place the old box on top. It's the cost that's raising eyebrows. A rechassis is somewhere in the vicinity of $100, 000, a rather large price tag, but one county officials say they must fork over for the citizens.

Barwick says the county has no choice now but to find a way to fund two new ambulances this year.