CHEROKEE VILLAGE (KAIT) - The Spring River Paramedic and ambulance service, based out of Cherokee Village has seven units to cover nearly 700 square miles.
The price of gas is hitting them hard and they have had to take several steps to try and stay ahead.
It used to involve shifting ambulances around to cover other areas if one was sent on a call.
All this idling and shifting was costing in time and fuel, lots and lots of fuel. So instead of shifting ambulances to other locations. Additional crews were added on to provide coverage when the ambulances were dispatched.
All of the ambulances are diesel powered so many times they are paying the highest price at the pumps. Spring River doesn't buy fuel in bulk but gets it at stations like the rest of us. In May of 2007 they were paying on average about two fifty a gallon.
General Manager Grace Richeson, "Now we are paying over $3.60 a gallon and it's higher than when I did the average."
By adding on crews they have saved around four thousand miles but even so the expenditure for fuel has gone up over 5300 dollars. A cost that so far has not had to be paid by the customer.
An option that so far has not been done but Richeson says it's not out of the question for the future.
Another economy move is to not have the larger Module type ambulances be the primary response unit but use the more fuel - efficient van styles. In the future also the box type ambulance will probably be phased out of the company.