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A brand-new ambulance has arrived in Hay River.

The vehicle, which cost the town about $156,000, arrived on April 20 and was put in service the next day.

Fire Chief Ross Potter said he is most definitely happy to have a new ambulance for the fire department.

“It replaced a 1995 unit. The old unit was done,” he said. “Over 26 years, there’s an awful lot of wear and tear that happens to a rig, and we were having lots of engine problems with it and that type of thing.”

Potter said the main difference between the newer and older vehicles is reliability.

“So less chance of it breaking down in the middle of a call or anything like that,” he said.

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In fact, that actually happened with the old ambulance, he said. “We had batteries go dead in the old one while being on call. That’s not a good thing.”

The new ambulance was built in Nova Scotia on the chassis of a Ford E-350 van. It was trucked across Canada to Hay River.

It is the first new ambulance for Hay River since 2014.

Potter said a new vehicle like this arrives basically empty of medical equipment.

“Our gadgets are pretty much portable, so we just moved everything from one ambulance to the other,” he said, noting the inside of a new ambulance only comes with cabinetry and meters for oxygen.

The fire department operates two ambulances, and Potter believes they should be good for many years.

“In my opinion, the ambulances should be changed about every 20 years,” he said.

Potter was asked whether two ambulances are enough for the town.

“At this point it is,” he said. “We’ve had lots of occasions this year where we’ve had both ambulances out at the same time.”

The old ambulance will now be put up for public auction.

It is now out of service and sitting in the town’s public works yard.

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