Mehlville Fire tries to get ahead of supply chain issues with truck, ambulance purchase


By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Mehlville Fire Protection District is working through supply chain issues which have delayed the procurement of administrative vehicles and ambulances. 

At a March 2 meeting, Bob Zeit of Emergency Services Supply explained to the Board of Directors that it should begin ordering ambulances as far ahead as it can to avoid supply chain problems.

“All across the industry inflation is running crazy,” Zeit said. “If you’ve got any plans of purchasing trucks or remounts over the next several years, you need to start planning now.”

Zeit said if the board ordered an ambulance now, the earliest it could obtain it is 2024. In an attempt to counteract the problem, the board approved two vehicle purchases April 13.

A purchase for a 2023 Chevy Tahoe was approved for $42,244, but the price could change. Chief Brian Hendricks chose the price based on the 2022 model, and would bring any change back before the board.

“Because of the supply chain issues … the 2022 Chevy Tahoe that this board approved over a year ago is scheduled to be built next week,” Hendricks said. “That’s how long it takes to get a car. If we don’t reserve our place in line … they’re going to close the window to reserve our space in line.”

The second purchase, for a 2024 ambulance, was approved for $260,300 for the building of the ambulance. Hendricks said they still have to purchase the chassis, but the chassis and price don’t exist yet.

“We will not pay this $260,300, but I have to have a signed quote that says we’re going to when we take delivery of the truck in May 2024,” Hendricks said. “It’s backwards, we’ve never done it this way.”

Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond said it might be prudent to take the unassigned 2023 purchase funds and apply them to a second ambulance in 2024.

“I think it’s wise to do that,” Director Bonnie Stegman said in agreement.