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Colfax approves buying ambulance computer for $3,550

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Village Board has approved the purchase of a Dell “rugged tablet” computer from 24-7 Telcom out of Menomonie for the Colfax Rescue Squad ambulance at a cost of $3,550.

The rescue squad has been using computers in the ambulances for two years, and the existing computer for Medic 8 has been locking up and not working very well, said Don Knutson, rescue squad director, at the village board’s June 13 meeting.

Knutson said he had budgeted “a good chunk” for replacing the ambulance computer, and that while the cost for a new “ruggedized” tablet was more than he had budgeted, he had also budgeted to replace his office computer this year and could delay that purchase and put the money toward the ambulance computer.

The office computer is on a two-year rotation for replacement, Knutson noted.

Using the money budgeted for the office computer will put the purchase of the tablet within the budget, he said.

24-7 Telcom has done the Information Technology (IT) work for the rescue squad for years, Knutson said.

The second quote was from RACOM out of Marshalltown, Iowa, for $4,482.25.

Mark Halpin, village trustee, asked about the customer service from 24-7 Telcom.

“24-7 has been really good to me,” Knutson said, adding that since the company is local, it would be easy to take a computer to the 24-7 Telcom office if it needs a repair.

If the RACOM computer needed repair, it would have to be packed up and shipped to Iowa, he noted.

The 24-7 Telcom technicians “ordered almost the exact specs we need and put it out as a demo and let us play with it for a few hours,” Knutson said.

“They went out of their way to get it so we could see what it is like,” he said.

The Colfax Rescue Squad is doing a beta test for the state of Wisconsin and received a free ruggedized tablet to use for the other ambulance, Knutson said.

The computer from 24-7 Telcom comes with a four-year warranty.

The ruggedized computers are essential for the rescue squad because they are used in all kinds of weather conditions — hot, cold, snow and rain — and can be dropped from a height of several feet without being damaged, Knutson said.

The existing computer is a Service Pro, and the computer on the quote from RACON is a Getac Rugged Tablet.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the purchase of the Dell tablet from 24-7 Telcom at a cost of $3,550.

Village Trustee Annie Schieber was absent from the meeting.