Photo by Curt Yeomans
The Morrow Fire Department is beginning to roll out a new color scheme, designed to make its vehicles standout from neighboring departments, with the arrival of its newest ambulance (left). The red-and-black color scheme replaces the red-and-white scheme on older ambulances.
Morrow Fire Chief Mark Herendeen was giddy with excitement, like a teenage boy who had just gotten a new hot rod, when he showed off his department’s newest ambulance to city employees before a recent Morrow City Council meeting.
The $120,000 Ford-made ambulance was not dramatically different on the inside from other ambulances owned by the city, but it is not the interior that has made Herendeen gleeful.
It’s the shiny paint job.
“From now on, we’re going with a red-and-black color scheme on all of our vehicles, instead of the red-and-white scheme that we have used in the past,” said Herendeen, during a Dec. 22, sit-down interview.
The new ambulance, which is expected to go into service at the start of 2012, is just the first step in the department’s planned phase out of its existing color scheme.
Herendeen said the department is planning to ask the City of Morrow to purchase two new fire trucks, both in the new scheme, as part of its fiscal year 2013 budget request.
Another new ambulance is expected in a couple of years, the chief added.
“It just spruces things up,” Herendeen said. He said the idea behind the new color scheme is to give the department’s vehicle a distinctive look. It is predominantly red, with a black hood, roof and highlights, instead of sporting the half-red, half-white look, of the city’s older ambulances.
“We just want to stand out on the Southside, from the other departments that are out there,” he said.
Herendeen said the new ambulance has, so far, been a “morale booster” for the fire department’s 28 paramedics. The emergency medical technicians, who have not had the chance to use the new ambulance, “oohed” and “ahhed” over the vehicle while getting their photograph taken with it.
“This is the closest I’ve been able to get to it!” one EMT exclaimed.
The city’s new ambulance, which was unveiled on Dec. 13, will be located at Morrow Fire Station No. 1, and that station’s current ambulance will be transferred to Morrow Fire Station No. 2.
The ambulance currently at station No. 2 will become the city’s new back-up ambulance, while the current back-up ambulance will be sold, according to the fire chief.
“We try to keep rotating them, so we have our newest vehicles at station No. 1, which receives the majority of our emergency calls,” Herendeen said.
The fire chief explained that the department puts approximately 20,000 miles on an ambulance in any given year, while responding to emergency calls in the Morrow city limits. “Usually, when it’s on the road, it’s got its lights and sirens going,” he said. Eighty-three percent of those trips are to respond to a medical emergency, he continued.
“Ambulances, typically, run for five years before they need to be replaced,” Herendeen added, while explaining that newer ambulances are more reliable for the department. “Older trucks get into higher maintenance costs, and schedules,” he said. “Every time we do routine maintenance, we have to have a reserve truck to use in its place.”