It’s still the traditional blue, white and red colors associated with Cox Health Systems, but the newest ambulance purchased by the Ava Area Ambulance District is labeled a “green” vehicle because of its economy values. The Mercedes-Benz “Sprinter” vehicle is smaller than the ambulance boxes installed on a truck chassis, and the ambulance service expects to see a significant savings in maintenance costs. Even before the unit was actually placed in service, it was used to transport a patient to Columbia last week and reported around 17 miles per gallon on fuel. The traditional truck units get from 6 to 10 mpg on routine service. The Mercedes is also designed for safety of the attending paramedic who can actually treat a patient in the back of the unit while belted in his seat. Pictured above with the new ambulance are, from left, board secretary-treasurer Cindy Heath, and board members Keith Moore, Jim Brown, Daryel Armour and Jim Stafford. Board members Dee Cutbirth and Lynn Murray were not present for the picture. Cox Health which operates the ambulance service here, has also recently added Sprinter vehicles in Springfield and Webster County. This ambulance was purchased by the Ava Area Ambulance District for around $92,000 as opposed to a cost of around $160,000 for the truck-type box unit.
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