PORTLAND — The Fire Department started up a new ambulance last week, a planned replacement for a vehicle that made nearly 13,000 emergency runs over the past four years as Medcu 6.
The new Medcu unit, a 2013 Braun Chief XL ambulance, is housed at Central Fire Station near City Hall. The unit provides emergency medical and transport services for the West End and downtown, and supplements emergency services off the peninsula.
The retired vehicle will be used as a reserve ambulance, filling in for Medcu units that are under repair or supplementing them during major emergencies.
The PFD currently has four Medcu units in active service, and replaces one each year.
“As the vehicle gets older, it becomes more expensive to maintain,” Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria said in a press release. “We use this replacement strategy as an efficient way to decrease maintenance costs and reduce out-of-service time for vehicles.”
The city budgeted $225,000 in capital funds for replacing the former Medcu 6, which was purchased in 2008.
While a recent audit by consultant Public Safety Solutions criticized Fire Department staffing levels, the replacement of department vehicles seems to be in line with accepted standards.
“This replacement schedule is commensurate with industry-wide practices, especially when considering response vehicle workload assignments and the practice of moving certain ‘first line’ units ‘back’ to provide a ‘reserve’ fleet,” the consultant’s report said.