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State officials set to update ambulance requirements

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU-Wheeler News) - State officials are about to update their ambulance inspection requirements for the first time since 1996.

The Wausau Daily Herald says it's not clear what changes will be made. The inspection requirements involve everything from how often they take place, to the numbers of bandages that must be on an ambulance.

In February, Gannett Wisconsin Media said 23-percent of the state's rescue vehicles violated at least one inspection rule in 2011-and-2012. Oshkosh fire official Jim Austad of the state E-M-S Advisory Board said it was like buying a car today with 1996 safety regulations. State officials defended the 17-year-old standards, saying they continued to work well, and ambulance crashes remained a rarity in the Badger State -- around 15 a year.

In April, lawmakers stepped up and asked for updated requirements. Right now, the state only has one inspector who checks out 12-hundred ambulances at least once every two years. State records said only one ambulance was ordered off the road in the past two years, because it failed to make repairs after an inspection.