COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As temperatures have soared to mid-nineties and hundreds throughout the summer, first responders with Columbus Fire and EMS say it creates a challenge for them to stay cool both outside and inside their vehicles.
“Air conditioning is the number one issue we deal with in the summer and we have long summers in Columbus, Georgia,” says Logistics Captain John Shull.
It is state law for EMS vehicles to have working air conditioning for patients and medical equipment, but not for fire trucks. Shull says maintenance could take days before a vehicle is back in service.
“That creates a challenge for us because those services are going down a bit. We have a limited amount of reserve trucks to replace the vehicles while they’re being worked on," said Capt. Shull.
There are reserves that the department uses while vehicles are being serviced, but Shull says high call volumes in Columbus create issues for reserves causing them to have to undergo maintenance as well.
“We try to keep them as available and ready to go. We have issues with our reserve trucks as well and they need maintenance. It’s a battle," said Capt. Shull.
While News Leader 9 toured the Uptown station, we were told all of the reserves were undergoing maintenance. When resources are not available, Captain Shull says it calls for more proactive means of helping to potentially save a life.
“We do work with private ambulance services in town as well. Currently, we have three ambulance services that are augmenting the EMS service we provide across the city," said Capt. Shull.
Shull says in the past decade emission requirements by the environmental protection agency has added to the frequency of maintenance conducted. He says the department is dedicated to serving the Columbus community with the resources they have.