From the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate:

The Park Ridge Fire Department hopes to replace two ambulances with a reported history of mechanical problems.

Fire Chief Mike Zywanski presented a proposal to the City Council to purchase two ambulances, at a cost of $440,500. The city will not likely receive the ambulances until roughly one year after the purchase is approved, he said.

The two ambulances Zywanski is looking to replace have been used since 2005 and are “showing significant amounts of wear,” he told the council during a July 14 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Mike McGrath, fleet manager for the Public Works Department, told the council that the ambulances have been “a maintenance nightmare” due to their engines, which were eventually discontinued by the manufacturer. While maintenance is performed by Public Works Department mechanics, there have been outside labor costs associated with the vehicles as well, McGrath said.

The department has a third ambulance that it is not being replaced at this time.

The ambulances may be traded in at an amount of about $9,000 each, said Purchasing Agent Jim McGuire.

Part of the $440,500 cost covers the purchase of two cots, totaling about $19,800.

“The cots we’re looking at going with are cots that will be able to handle very significant-weight patients,” Zywanski said. He explained that this year alone, paramedics have had six patients weighing in excess of 600 pounds each.

The new cots will be able to hold these individuals and are raised up into the ambulance by a motor.

“We’re hoping it’s going to save some potential workers comp claims and potential injuries when we are dealing with these types of patients,” Zywanski said.