SCAD Board approves purchase of GPS tracking –The Daily Statesman

The Stoddard County Ambulance District (SCAD) Board voted 3-0 with Board Member Al Banken abstaining to install a GPS tracking system in nine of the district ambulances at their regular meeting Wednesday night. The equipment and service is being purchased from Networkfleet. The cost of the equipment and installation is $5,846 and there will be a monthly service fee of $269.55 for the 12-month contract.

A 15-minute webinar was presented by Nick Tsaloufis on the service provided by Networkfleet. SCAD Technician Kevin Francis coordinated the webinar.

The system offered by Networkfleet provides vehicle tracking which is updated every two minutes. It also provides fuel efficiency updates,mechanical diagnostics and maintenance alerts. Tsaloufis said the system is in use on 100,000 vehicles nationwide and used by a wide variety of companies. He said the system is designed to improve driver safety,reduce emissions,provide better customer service and reduce vehicle “down time”.

The dashboard feature of the system provides virtual tracking of the vehicle. This includes the last five stops made by the vehicle,the speed it is traveling,whether it is running with emergency lights and also provides information about fuel miles per gallon use. The tracking system also keeps up with the amount of time the vehicle engine is idling.

Other features of the system include providing mechanical diagnostics,maintenance alerts and roadside assistance of up to four claims per vehicle each year.

“The system will improve productivity,control variable costs,extend the life of the vehicle and improve safety,”Tsaloufis told board members.

Following completion of the webinar,Banken stated,“I would be for putting it on one vehicle for six months to see how it works.”

Cooper responded that the system in already in use in New Madrid County and they have been very pleased with it. Later,a representative of that district was contacted and he said the system had “saved us quite of bit of money”. He went on to say that the diagnostics had been “almost 100 percent accurate”.

Banken said he questioned whether the system could accurately diagnose mechanical problems.

“I don’t believe that,”Banken said.

Banken went on to say that the Ambulance District could hire their own mechanic if that was the case and save a lot of money.

Board Member Sue Welborn said she thought the system would provide a safeguard against lawsuits. She said a lawsuit against SCAD in the past might have been prevented if this system had been in place.

Cooper stated,“I think it is a win/win situation for us.”

Francis told the board that one of the benefits of the system would be to document speeds at which the ambulance was running. He said calls reporting that an ambulance was running at 90 miles per hour at a certain location could be verified or proved false. The system provides mile markers every two minutes and shows the speed at which the vehicle is running.

“If it would just reduce our idle time by 30 percent it would be a savings,”said Board Chairman Sam Huey.

Welborn said the system would provide an outside verification for any allegations made against the Ambulance District.

Board Member Chad Maddox said he agreed and that he thought the system was “a good idea”.

Cooper asked Banken why he was now opposed to the purchase after it had been talked about at previous meetings.

Banken said he wasn’t presented enough information at past meetings.

“I’m not sold on it saving that much money,”Banken stated. “It can pass without my vote.”

Welborn made a motion to approve the purchase and installation and it was seconded by Maddox. Welborn,Maddox and Huey voted in favor of the motion while Banken abstained. Not present were Board Members Anthony Sifford and Stubbee May.

In other business,Cooper said an Open House was planned for June 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the SCAD building in Dexter. The purpose of the Open House is to provide the public a look at the new SCAD building.

The board also approved the SCAD by-laws. Cooper said there were no changes,but it was required to be passed annually.

Assistant Manager Chuck Kasting reported that the new ambulance was being built and should be ready for final delivery by the second or third week in July. The board previously approved the purchase at a cost of $177,699. The new ambulance is a 2009 Chevrolet C-4500 diesel that will be customized to conform with county specifications.

Cooper reported that the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) had been “very functional”during the flooding disaster in the county. The EOC was housed in the board room. Cooper said everything went “smoothly”including housing members of the National Guard and a Swift Water Team from St. Louis. He said a visiting National Guard officer had been “very impressed”with the County EOC.

“I would like to pat Kent (County Emergency Management Agency Director Kent Polsgrove) on the back,”said Cooper. “He really did a good job of organizing.”

The board approved the financial report which included accounts payable of $87,686.93 in April and collected income of $139,172.85. Cooper said collected income was down in April compared to last year,but he attributed that to an increase in tax revenue at the beginning of the year while it came in later in 2010. Cooper said overall,district revenue was up from the same period in 2010.

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