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July 27, 2016
SC rescue team receives $1.5M loan to purchase ambulances, radios
By Chloe Johnson
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue will buy new radio equipment and a new ambulance and refurbish two other ambulances with a $1.5 million loan approved on an initial vote by city council Tuesday.
The loan is necessary, city chief financial officer Mike Shelton said, because paying out the entire cost of the upgrade at one time would force the city to make cuts in other departments. He also said the loan payments have already been figured into budget projections, because they will replace payments the city is making on older vehicles.
“We don’t keep money lying around for large capital purchases,” Shelton said.
Lt. Jonathan Evans of Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue said the purchase will allow the department to retire an older ambulance and ensure that it has an extra ambulance, which allows for flexibility in special situations.
“It’s a way for us to have a spare ambulance in case one of those goes down,” Evans said. “And we can also use it for special events like the [Carolina Country Music Festival] or things like that–we have an ambulance on site.”
The mounting of the other two ambulances will take the ambulance “boxes”—the part a patient rides in—and place them on new chassis. The cost of doing this for two ambulances will be less than buying just one additional new ambulance, he said.
The radios, Evans said, will be upgraded from an analogue system to a digital system, and ensure that communication is seamless with Horry County Fire Rescue.