By Alan M. Petrillo
Mill Creek (NC) Volunteer Fire and EMS recently took delivery of a new Wheeled Coach Type 3 ambulance that includes the latest ergonomic and safety features inside the patient module for medical staff and patients.
Mill Creek services a 10-square mile area, providing fire suppression, rescue, and basic life support emergency medical services (EMS) on approximately 350 calls annually, 75 percent of them EMS runs. The combination department has 10 full-time paid firefighter/EMTs, and 28 volunteer firefighters, 14 of whom are EMTs.
Brad Pierce, Mill Creek’s fire captain and training officer, says the new Wheeled Coach rig replaces a 2014 International ambulance that had a lot of miles and wear on it. Pierce noted that when they chose the Wheeled Coach Type 3, they added additional power outlets on the right, a refrigerator for medical drugs, a Zico oxygen bottle lift in an exterior compartment, and a Stryker Performance-LOAD® fastener on the rig’s floor.
In addition to the new Wheeled Coach ambulance, Pierce points out that the department has a 2010 Braun Type 3 ambulance, a 2005 HME rescue-pumper with a 1,500-gallons per minute (gpm) pump and 750-gallon water tank; a 1986 Pierce/Ford pumper with a 1,250-gpm pump and 1,000-gallon water tank; a 1988 E-ONE/Ford tanker with a 1,250-gpm pump and 1,000-gallon water tank; a 1986 Chevrolet step van rescue truck; a 1995 Ford F-450 brush truck with a skid pump unit, 200-gallon water tank, and Scotty around the pump foam system; and a 1992 Ford F-150 utility truck.
Jamie Norville, owner of Select Custom Apparatus, who sold the Wheeled Coach rig to Mill Creek, says the ambulance is built on a 2022 Ford E-450 chassis and two-door cab with a 10-inch cab extension, with a patient module 170-inches long, 95-inches wide, with 72-inches of headroom, powered by a 7.3-liter gasoline engine. The new rig also has a Cool-Bar externally-mounted climate control system, and all Whelen LED emergency and scene lighting, he adds.
Abel Del Rio, Wheeled Coach’s regional sales manager, says the attendant’s chair at the head of the cot has an integral child safety seat, and that the squad bench on the curb side of the interior has two seat positions and is able to carry a second patient, if necessary. “Those three seat positions, as well as the CPR seat on the roadside of the interior, are all protected by Per4max four-point seat belt harnesses that allow a medic to freely administer to a patient or reach needed equipment or supplies without unbelting,” Del Rio points out.
Del Rio says the action area and telemetry area on the left side of the patient module have black polyurethane trays to hold equipment more securely, and that a recessed suction unit is located below the action area. “All the polycarbonate windows in the cabinets are KKK Change Notice 10 compliant for safety, and the cabinets are self-latching,” he says. The patient module as a Norcold refrigerator in the ALS (advanced life support) cabinet, he adds, Safe Pass emergency release latches top and bottom of the entry doors, yellow safety grab handles at the entry doors and on the head liner, and a glove box holder above the curb side entry door.
In the vehicle’s cab, the aluminum front console is rubber coated, cup holders and a glove box are within easy reach, and there is a walk-through capability from the cab to the patient module. Del Rio says the rig has Wheeled Coach’s patented corner cap LED lights, dual Kussmaul auto eject shorelines, and an under-ride rear bumper with a notched kick plate so the rear step can go under the vehicle in the event of a rear-end crash.
Argelis Arauz, a Mill Creek firefighter and EMT, notes that the Wheeled Coach Type 3 “is very easy to drive, has an interior with everything within easy reach, and excellent protection for the staff with the Per4Max seat harnesses.”
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.