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Lanett aims to purchase new ambulance

LANETT — Lanett Fire & EMS has recently had a tough time in keeping three ambulances on the road. One is currently in the shop undergoing some engine work. West Point Fire & EMS is loaning Lanett their back-up ambulance until the city gets back to normal.

Chief Johnny Allen discussed this situation at the Monday meeting of the Lanett City Council.

“We have had bad luck with all three ambulances,” he said. “We have had to put a transmission in one of them and a new motor in another one. The one that’s down now is our newest one. It’s still covered by the warranty and shouldn’t cost us. We are hoping to have it back soon. We appreciate West Point lending us one of their ambulances to keep us with the three vehicles we need.”

Lanett EMS covers a very large area, including the city, the police jurisdiction and the northeast quadrant of Chambers County all the way to the Randolph County line. It’s an area of more than 140 square miles.

“We won’t put an ambulance on the road unless we know it’s safe for our guys and the patient we may have on board,” Allen said. “The two ambulances we have in service have some age on them and have had some mechanical issues in the past. We keep them running and are in pretty good shape right now. Anyone who knows me knows that ‘pretty good’ isn’t acceptable to me. For the people of Lanett and the surrounding area, our vehicles and equipment have to be in great shape all the time. That’s our goal, and it’s not just for Lanett, it’s also for the communities we serve back-up roles. They include West Point, Valley and LaFayette.”

Mayor Kyle McCoy told The Valley Times-News that having a new ambulance is a priority for the city. A new one costs in the range of $225,000.

One is planned for in the 2021-22 budget. It’s on the normal schedule for replacement, but McCoy is hopeful to speed up the process.

“If we want until we adopt the new budget in October, it could take four or five months to get a new ambulance,” he said. “I’ve asked our city attorney (Stanley Gray) to see if we can use the Cares Act funds we have received to purchase a new ambulance. If we can, we can approve a resolution to do it at the next council meeting. We can then put in an order for it, and get it much quicker that way. Getting an ambulance is not like going to a car lot and buying a car. They are made to order. An order has to be placed for it, and it will take some time for it to be built to your specifications.”