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Towns across Nebraska and Iowa are ordering ambulances years in advance amid supply chain issues

Posted at 6:38 PM, Sep 21, 2023

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — In Council Bluffs, a new ambulance that was supposed to arrive in December instead only arrived at the end of June. Another set to be refurbished by April won't be done until at least August next year.

Council Bluffs Fire and Rescue EMS Operations Officer Rick Benson says now the manufacturers have advised that orders should be placed two years in advance.

"We just have to try to plan ahead and prepare," he said. "It will be a challenging issue when you're forecasting something from a different budget year then you're actually ordering it."

In Fremont, they've already started ordering two years in advance, said Fire Chief Todd Bernt.

"Having a functional, well-designed ambulance plays a very important part in patient care," he said.

Last year, Fremont put in an order for and ambulance that they don't expect until fiscal year 2025.

"When you plan that far out, things can change in a vehicle," he said. That means they may be limiting themselves by missing out on two years of updates, he said.

3 News Now's partner Scripps News released an investigation on Thursday on the shortage.

Learn more from Scripps News Investigates: The deadly toll of a US ambulance shortage

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