HONOLULU (KHON2) — Fuel costs continue to mount for first responders in Hawaii.
“Well when we started going to the gas rigs the fuel shortage wasn’t that bad at that time, but now the prices have gone up and we are feeling the hit though,” said Lorrin Okumura, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Assistant Chief for Support Services.
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services average annually $200,000 for diesel gas and $150,000 for unleaded. Now, EMS is looking for some relief and planning for the future with electric ambulances.
“We’re looking for testimonies, we’re looking for more information on it, and more agencies that are using it. It’ll probably be an expensive proposition and so we might have to do it in phases, because we do have 53 ambulances in our fleet right now,” Okumura said.
EMS is in the research stage and eyeing Demers Ambulances, which is one of the only electric ambulances on the market right now.
Officials said, it’s a first step, but there’s still a lot of planning to be done.
“You’re going to have to have an electrical distribution system at the particular unit and plus when they go out on runs they’re going to have to find a fueling station so to speak,” said Okumura.
Honolulu EMS isn’t the only agency impacted by fuel costs. The Honolulu Police Department said it’s also getting hit by the prices.
“Due to the fluctuation in fuel we’ve overspent our budget on fuel across the board,” said Chief Joe Logan, Honolulu Police Chief. “We overspent by about $335,000.”
HPD and the Honolulu Police Commission will work together to come up with a new fuel budget for the next fiscal year.
Meanwhile, EMS said it’s looking forward to learning more about the potential of transitioning to electric.
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“I think going electric, just like the public, it’s fuel efficient of course. The electrical infrastructure needs to be developed and that’s gong to be costly, but in the long run it’ll be cost saving,” said Okumura.