By Alan M. Petrillo
Harris County (TX) Emergency Services District 48 has taken delivery of two new Type 1 Ford F-450 Wheeled Coach ambulances sold through the Siddons-Martin Emergency Group. While the rigs were ordered in March of 2021 with a 90- to 120-day build time, the COVID-19 pandemic and production supply issues lengthened the delivery time on the trucks to roughly about one year.
Tanner Jacob, EMS sales representative for Siddons-Martin Emergency Group, notes that his company has worked with Harris County for a number of years, selling the district ten Type 1 Wheeled Coach ambulances since 2012. “The district wanted extended-cab chassis but shorter wheelbase on their new ambulances,” Jacob points out, “so they chose to have the 153-inch body that gives them a comfortable interior that doesn’t take space away from the medics working in the patient module.”
The two ambulances are each built on Ford F-450 extended-cab chassis and cabs, one on a four-wheel drive chassis and the other on a two-wheel drive. “We typically run two wheel drive rigs, but we took the chassis that were available with the supply chain issues impacting the production line,” he notes.
Jacob says that the attendant, CPR and squad bench seats all are protected by REV Ambulance Group’s Per4max four-point harness system with deceleration technology, as well as a CASPR Disinfection ultraviolet light air purification system that operates off the rig’s 12-volt system. The vehicles have REV’s CoolBar technology across the front of the rigs, as well as Whelen Super LED ION lights in the rub rails, Whelen LED emergency lights and turn signals, and synched Whelen LED M series scene lighting.
Abel Del Rio, regional sales manager for Wheeled Coach, points out that Harris County had the patient modules built with the door-forward design on the curb side of the rig. “This design gives more privacy to the patient in the vehicle, and also moves the ALS cabinet rearward of the door and closer to the squad bench where a countertop can serve as a base for monitors, and have drawers underneath,” Del Rio says. Each rig has the Stryker PowerLOAD system and Stryker PowerPRO cot.
In addition, Harris County had Wheeled Coach install Ferno’s iTRAXX system on the interior walls of the patient modules. “The system allows them to mount removable suitcases that can fold open to access equipment, and also be removed to carry to the scene and then return to the module for remounting,” Del Rio notes. “The system allows the medics to mount defibrillators, suction pumps, and other equipment on the wall where they are ready at hand. Harris County also had us install Ferno’s portable oxygen bottle system on the module’s front bunkhead.”
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.