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Burnet council OKs new ambulance chassis, resuscitators for fire department

Burnet Fire Chief Mark Ingram

Burnet Fire Chief Mark Ingram talks to the City Council about his department's need for more emergency vehicles and lifesaving medical equipment. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Burnet City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of two ambulances and five resuscitation systems for the Burnet Fire Department-EMS.

Burnet Fire Chief Mark Ingram spoke before the council during its regular meeting June 28, requesting approval of two international chassis for Frazer Type 1 ambulances. Ingram said supply chain issues have postponed deliveries of the Ford ambulance chassis the department usually purchases.

“I spoke to a manufacturer, and he said that they have orders (for the Ford chassis) all the way into 2024 and 2025,” Ingram said. “Of course, that’s a big problem for us because we buy them one year at a time. We have several of these that are coming up on quite a bit of mileage on them.”

Realizing his department needed another option, Ingram looked into international chassis, which are much larger than standard American-made chassis from Chevrolet or Ford. 

Concerned they might be too large, Ingram visited a Houston-area department that operates an international chassis ambulance.

“They have one international chassis and two Ford (chassis),” Ingram said. “They want to run out the international one all the time because it is a considerable ride in the back.”

The price of the first ambulance chassis was more than $200,000 and funded through the 2021-22 budget. The second unit is projected to cost about $250,000 and will be funded through the 2022-23 budget. The department has the components to further outfit the new units.

Even though these chassis run about $30,000 more than Ford’s, Ingram told councilors the department can’t wait until 2024 and 2025 for new ones.

The first chassis should arrive in about four months.

“We’ll change the ambulance we have currently to the international chassis,” Ingram said. “Then, if you’ll allow me, we’ll order that second one. It won’t come in until next year, but this way, I can go ahead and get on the list now so that we can have it at a reasonable time.”

Ingram was also able to convince the council to approve the purchase of five Zoll AutoPulse Resuscitation Systems at an estimated cost of roughly $75,000. Ingram noted the purchase was actually City Manager David Vaughn’s idea.

“He was at a meeting with the hospital, and they were going to buy one of these,” Vaughn said. “He called me and asked me about them.”

The resuscitation systems had been on Ingram’s emergency services wishlist for some time.

“I’ve been wanting one for a long time,” he said. “I never thought I’d ever get him to say yes.”

With the purchase of the five resuscitation systems, the Burnet Fire Department will now have resuscitators on each of its four ambulances and one fire engine. Ingram believes the system is more adept at lifesaving CPR than paramedics cramped in the back of an ambulance.

“It is able to compress all four chambers of the heart at the same time,” he said. “There is no comparison between what we are able to do manually and what (a resuscitation system) can do.”

The new systems also can save valuable time during emergencies, increasing a patient’s survival chances and decreasing first responders’ fatigue while in the field, he said.

“It’s just (the EMT) and the paramedic in the back most of the time,” Ingram said. “The paramedic can’t do the compressions because that person has too many other things to do. This device will free the EMT up to help the paramedic do all the things they need to do.”


The council:

  • approved the purchase of forensic equipment for the Burnet Police Department;
  • approved a new deferred compensation plan;
  • reappointed Paula Bundrant and Fran Taylor to the Burnet Housing Authority;
  • reappointed Glen Gates and Calib Williams to the Burnet Planning and Zoning Commission;
  • reappointed Herve Derek Fortin and Tommy J. Gaut and appointed Linda Frietag to the Zoning Board of Adjustors;
  • reappointed JoDean Perry, Charles Deitrich, and Robert Vossman to the Burnet Municipal Airport Advisory Board;
  • and reappointed Renee Riddel to the Burnet Historic and Preservation Board.

The next regular meeting of the Burnet City Council is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at 2402 S. Water St. (U.S. 281).