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High diesel prices affect Heartland medical response teams

The high price of diesel fuel is putting a financial strain on first responders in the Heartland.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 4:59 PM CDT
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SCOTT COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - The high price of diesel fuel, at almost $5 per gallon, could be affecting your area emergency response teams and their services by putting a strain on their budget.

With six ambulances in his fleet, and two of them diesel, South Scott County Ambulance Director Ken Dicus said it’s eating up his budget.

“This time last year, we had used in the first two months about $4,600 is what we paid. So far this year, about $6,300 for fuel,” he said.

Therefore, in the name of the budget, he said some things have to give.

“We are trying to ask our people that, when they don’t absolutely have to run the ambulances, don’t; to help on fuel milage. And for the most part, we’re just going to have to cut back in other places,” he explained. “We just can’t say ‘no.’”

North Scott County Ambulance Administrator Larry Chasteen is also feeling the effects of the rising cost of diesel fuel.

“Most of our ambulances are primarily diesel and we are paying around $5 a gallon,” Chasteen said. “And with the amount of miles, we put on this thing, it’s a significant increase to our budget.”

Which also has him reevaluating the company’s budget.

“We may have to drop an equipment purchase or something like that, that may be able to put off if we can’t afford to do it at this point,” he continued.

Dicus had some advice for anyone in need of ambulance services.

“If you have minor issues, go see your family physician, your family nurse practitioner and try to get those issues treated before they become an emergency,” he said. “That would help the community, that would help us, and that would also help the hospitals.”

According to AAA, the current average cost of regular fuel in the state of Missouri is $3.18, while the average cost of diesel is $4.73.

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