Ambulances are trucks that carry medical equipment to treat and transport ill and injured patients. There are three care levels that local EMS provides: Rescue (basic life support calls), Trauma (severely injured or life threatening calls), and Medic (life taking calls). The minimum manning for ambulances is 2 personnel: Rescue - a driver EMT-B and a patient care attendant EMT-B, Trauma - a driver EMT-B and a patient care attendant EMT-E, Medic - a driver EMT-B and a patient care attendant EMT-C or EMT-P. CARS operates eight ambulances.
Medic units are capable of providing advanced life support (IV and drugs) to critically ill/injured persons. Medic units carry electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring equipment, pacemakers, drugs, advanced airway care equipment and other items for the critical patient. Medic units are normally dispatched on heart attacks, trouble breathing, unconscious person and other such calls. All of CARS ambulances are equipped as medic units.
Ambulances have different types of construction.
Medic 147 is a 2005 Ford/AEV F-450 4-wd type I ambulance, one of 4 we aquired at once. It is fully equipped as a medic unit and is able to carry 3 backboarded patients. Some of the new features of these new ambos is a back-up camera system, separate 12v battery system to start the truck when the main batteries are dead, LED lighting package, air horns, and a heavy-truck front bumper. The front bumper weighs 400 pounds and saved the life of a crew the first two weeks the unit was in-service. A car hit our truck head-on and bounced off, destroying the car but causing only minimal paint damage to our unit! Due to the high volume of calls we run, we wind up replacing our type I ambulances every 5 years.
- Type I Ambulance - has a pick-up truck chassis with a box mounted as the patient care compartment. The type I ambulance is expensive in the short-run, but is cheap in the long-run since the box can be mounted on another chassis when the old chassis wears out. The type I ambulance tends to be wide (and therefore roomy inside) and is generally unsuitable for rural use due to narrow roads.
- Type II Ambulance - is a highly modified van. This is the cheapest in terms of initial outlay, but when the chassis wears out the entire unit must be replaced. These trucks are ideal for urban use due to their small profile, but interior space is very limited. Type II ambulances are 4 wheel drive for adverse weather conditions and off road use.
- Type III Ambulance - has a van chassis with a box mounted as the patient care compartment. These trucks tend to be the most expensive, but the box can be remounted to a new chassis when the old one wears out. These trucks tend to be very steady and offer the most interior room available.
Our new ambulances have additional compartmentation added that allows us to carry a forcible entry pack (Halligan and flat-head axe), 4 step-chocks for vehicle stabilization, personal protective equipment bag which has 3 helmets, 3 safety vests, 3 pair of work gloves and 3 personal flotation vests.
As with all of CARS apparatus fleet, this unit is equipped with the Opticom traffic signal control system. Opticom sends a coded signal during emergency response that turns the intersection light green, allowing safe passage. Anytime you are at a traffic light and a white light starts flashing, an emergency vehicle is approaching.
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