RIPLEY - It's been about a year of waiting but the arrival of a new ambulance was well worth the wait for Jackson County EMS.
According to EMS Director Steve McClure, the bus is a McCoy-Miller on a 1 1/2-ton chassis, Dodge 4500.
"Its kind of a unique vehicle because we have been working to make a more durable ambulance. What we were looking at was a first. The ambulances we have now are conventional cab and chassis with a 12- foot box on the back. The thing about them is the air conditioning, heating and electrical come from the cab and chassis wiring. Your asking a pickup truck that was basically designed to cool and heat a cab to take care of a 12-foot room."
McClure stated that the way they worked around the problem.
Said the director; "We have a generator that is mounted on a box that works off of the existing fuel system of the truck. The generator powers everything in the box. If anything happens to the generator we have a backup that goes to a 12-volt system. This should take a load off of the cab and chassis. Its kind of a new style design."
The director stated he had spent a day with the company to figure out what they wanted and how to do it.
"Craig Blackhurst and Brian Horne helped me", said McClure, "And we talked to all the folks (EMS employees) and got suggestions on cabinetry placement and stream lining so it would be more user friendly."
McClure stated that there was a few issues that made the arrival of the bus take longer than expected.
The availability of the chassis was one of the issues as McClure stated they (EMS) had opted for a Dodge chassis instead of a Ford, but at the time the company was in the middle of changing out cab and chassis production.
Another problem was because of the unique set up there were, "More entities designing it out and building it and getting it done".
The third problem, according to McClure, cropped up midway through production when McCoy was bought out by another conglomerate that intended to move the production to Florida."
Said McClure, "We were finally able to take delivery of it. It's totally a custom design and there is not another one exactly like it anywhere. So far we're really, really happy with it."