For all the reasons that living in a rural place like Tarkio, Missouri, can feel simple, all the space can make responding to emergencies complicated in the blink of an eye.
“Our transportation times can be up to two hours,” says Gene Bradley.
Bradley believes that the stress of being an ambulance chief is reaching everyone in a crisis. He leads the Ambulance District Atchison-Holt.
Bradley stated, “It’s more than the seconds that matter. But we have a long way to get to a hospitals.”
He is now worried about more than the large area of northwest Missouri that he is responsible for.
He said, “It never occurred in our minds that this would have a significant impact on our ability to complete our mission.”
In the past few months, he has not had one of his four ambulances. While he waits to get his truck back at the store, he has a loaner vehicle.
Bradley stated that the truck was stolen on April 1st and it is still missing. “He will be returning to us in October.”
The huge deceleration is caused by one of the most tiny parts in the large chassis, the frame behind cab.
Bradley explains that Bradley understands that the microchip, which is the brain of the computer that makes all things work, is what Bradley refers to. They can drive the entire truck but not have the chip.
The pandemic caused problems that forced some factories to close or reduce microchip production.
Ford, which produces about 70% of ambulance chassis, had to cease production earlier in the year.
“Right now I would say ambulance production is down 30-50% in the second half of this year,” said Mark Van Arnam of the American Ambulance Association.
The American Ambulance Association says districts across the country, both large and small, are feeling the impact of the shortage at a time when calls for help from the pandemic are not slowing down.
The group wants the federal government prioritize ambulances in order to get the parts that were not used in buses or RVs.