By Alan M. Petrillo
The North Andover (MA) Fire Department, which provides fire and emergency medical services to the town of North Andover, Massachusetts, a 26.6-square mile suburban community with a population of approximately 31,000, recently took delivery of a Horton Type 1 ambulance built on an International MV607 chassis.
Besides the department’s residential base, it also has commercial and industrial sections, two state forests, Merrimack College, Lawrence Municipal Airport, and state routes 495, 125 and 114 in its protection district. The department, which responds to approximately 4,100 emergency calls for service annually, has 56 full-time paid firefighters who are also trained as EMTs, operating out of two fire stations that house three engines, one aerial ladder, a brush truck and three ambulances.
Brian Zarlenga, regional ambulance and fire apparatus sales manager for Greenwood Emergency Vehicles, who sold the rig to North Andover Fire, says the department has purchased two Horton ambulances over the past three years. Zarlenga points out the new Horton rig for North Andover carries Horton’s largest patient box, the Model 623, at 173 inches long on the International chassis with a wheelbase of 175 inches, and is powered by a Cummins 250-horsepower 6.7-liter diesel engine, and an Allison 2200 EVS automatic transmission. “It has a Liquid Spring rear suspension, privacy tinted glass, Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS), an Intelliplex i4G™ electrical system, a Cool Tech II HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system and Horton’s VI-TECH Body Mounting System™ for a smoother ride,” Zarlenga notes.
Graham Rowe, North Andover’s deputy chief, says the new Horton ambulance is similar to the previous Horton rig the department received, but with a number of upgrades, such as the i4G upgrade, an upgrade to a Stryker Power-LOAD® system and Power-PRO® XT cot, and a change to a walk-through chassis and box. “We tried to keep the cabinetry, compartments and other equipment the same as our previous Horton Type 1,” Rowe says, “in order to be consistent across our two front line ambulances and our one reserve ambulance.”
Rowe adds that the left rear compartment is set up to carry structural firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE), self-contained breathing apparatus and body armor. “Greenwood customized the brackets to hold the SCBAs at an angle to give us more room in the compartment for other gear,” he says.
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Zarlenga points out that the ambulance’s Intelliplex i4G is Horton’s fourth generation electrical system which features enhanced displays, endless programming capabilities, and optimized performance. It has eight mission-critical tactile buttons that provide control over the most basic functions, allowing the ambulance to operate in the unlikely event of a screen failure, he adds, with each button accented by LED lighting, allowing quick visual recognition, even at night.
Beyond basic displays such as patient status and seatbelt warnings, i4G offers various visual controls and prompts including: a one-touch emergency master control, right on/off (both interior and exterior) command and status, door open/close status, inside/outside temperature, time and date stamp, RPM and voltage data, and reverse and module camera feeds.
Zarlenga notes that HOPS is a combination of advanced airbag protection, head strike dissipation, and occupant restraint devices, that uses two types of airbag deployment, multi-density head protection, and a four-point seatbelt system to lessen the severity of rollover crashes.
The North Andover ambulance has a COOL-TECH II™ 100,000-British thermal units (BTU) air conditioning condenser on the front of the box, Zarlenga points out, that can cool the interior of the box down in nine minutes, as opposed to the typical 21 minutes for standard systems. He says that Horton’s VI-TECH Body Mounting System™ employs neoprene inserts tested to 35Gs to connect the ambulance body outside the chassis frame rails for less vibration, better handling and more strength for smoother, quieter runs.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.