The new ambulance will come into service after in February 2009, faced with an aging diesel ambulance and medic unit, the city council decided to look to alternative powered vehicles. After the matter was looked into by a city committee, industry experts and officials from the Riverside County Fire Department/CAL FIRE, the decision was made that the most effective choice would be a CNG unit.
The vehicle in question is a Frazer Type III 14-foot patient compartment fitted onto a 2009 Ford E450 6.8l gasoline chassis. The conversion to a CNG solution was made by Frazer Ambulance, who completed the work on the ambulance in some six months. The final cost of the vehicle is estimated at $186,000.
The ambulance will enter service at Fire Station 71, located at Portola Avenue and Country Club Drive, where it is scheduled to start responding to calls. Having paid all that money for it, the city chose station 71 because of the high call volume it receives: some 200 ambulance calls per month. According to Palm Desert, the purchase of the ambulance was done by using City funds dedicated for firefighting and public safety.