Philly renting ambulances to get through summer crunch

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The city of Philadelphia is a little short on ambulances so officials are doing what any family would do in the summer … renting a few.

The city is buying 15 new ambulances, but a fully equipped fire department ambulance cannot be purchased off a car lot, said Peter Crespo, executive chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

“The radios have to be installed, the decals, the painting, possible training depending if there is any new equipment on the medic unit,” he said. While the city has appropriated the funds to buy the new ambulances, Crespo said they will have to be built.

The new medic units are expected over the next two months. In the meantime, Crespo said, some white rental ambulances instead of the traditional red units will be put into service.

“We’ve coordinated with the company we purchased them from and rented five medic units from them,” he said. “They are only used during special events, but what this helps do is to free up additional medic units so the citizens of Philadelphia can have the proper coverage.”

Five new units will be delivered in July and 10 in September. They will replace about a third of the city’s 50-medic unit fleet.

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