City of Johnstown buys first ambulance

New ‘advance life support first response service’ venture not to replace JAVAC

Johnstown 3rd Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin, center, reads a Common Council resolution to purchase an ambulance for the city Monday night at City Hall. To her right in 2nd Ward Councilwoman Kathi Iannotti. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — City officials are happy with the purchase of the new city ambulance service’s first ambulance.

The Common Council on Monday night at City Hall approved a $35,000 bid for a used, 2009 ambulance from Specialty Vehicles Inc. Mayor Vern Jackson was authorized to execute a contract with that firm.

City officials are attempting to create a limited, city-run ambulance service run out of the city Fire Department station on North Perry Street.

In paperwork approved earlier this year by the city, the new venture is being termed an “advance life support first response service.”

Officials have said city government is not trying to replace the Johnstown Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps on North Perry Street, which has struggled financially in recent years. The city hopes to have at least one ambulance staffed for city use, 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The council voted Monday night to purchase a used ambulance for the new service, acting on sealed bids that were opened Sept. 13. In addition to Specialty Vehicles’ bid, the other higher bid was from A.K.A. Auto/Bus & Truck Inc. for $45,000.

“It’s a clean vehicle,” Jackson said of the ambulance purchased.

Fire Chief Bruce Heberer said the ambulance purchased has 32,000 miles.

“We actually went down to Suffolk County and took a look at it,” he said. “It’s in great shape.”

Heberer said the new city ambulance already has some “A list” equipment in it that the city can use right away.

He said the new ambulance is currently being completely serviced in a shop, but otherwise is “ready to go” to serve the emergency needs of Johnstown.

The fire department has staff that are already trained and still undergoing training to staff the new ambulance service. The council previously passed a resolution to apply for a Municipal Certificate of Need (Muni-CON), from the New York State Emergency Medical Services Council to establish and operate the unit in the city.

Under provisions of state Public Heath Law, a municipality has the authority to adopt a resolution to establish and operate advanced life support first responder transport services within its municipality and surrounding areas.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at