By Alan M. Petrillo
Fayette County (OH) EMS covers its namesake county from the county seat of Washington Court House, with the exception of Jefferson Township in the northwest, for advanced life support (ALS) emergency medical services. The department handled 4,5234 runs last year across its coverage area of 346 square miles that has a population of 26,000 residents.
Rodney List, Fayette County’s EMS director, says that with the exception of the city of Washington Court House in the center of the county, the rest of its district consists of rural areas. “We have a single station in Washington Court House staffed by 34 paid full-time paramedics and EMTs (emergency medical technicians) where we run two Horton Type 1 ambulances 24/7/365,” List points out. “Our newest Horton is the 2022 Type 1 that we recently received, and the other is a 2018 Type 1 Horton. We also have two older Horton Type 1 ambulances in reserve.”
List points out that Fayette County EMS tries to replace its ambulances within a five- to ten-year cycle, depending on the amount of use and abuse that they take. “We have been on a schedule to maintain a consistent vehicle layout from purchase to purchase,” he notes, “and either rechassis or buy new, depending on the circumstances at the time.”
List adds that the department’s latest Horton has some differences from previous models. “We moved the shore line to head level and changed the location of some power outlets on the interior,” he says. “We also added a 360-degree camera system, and changed the wheel wells and bumper to rubber instead of chrome.”
Todd Fitch, Horton’s factory direct salesman, says that the new Fayette County rig is built on a Ford F-550 Type 1 4×4 chassis and two-door cab, powered by a diesel engine, with a crawl-through to the 167-inch patient box made of 125-inch thick aluminum, and a 96-inch overall width, with 72-inches of headroom.
The Fayette County Type 1 Horton ambulance has a Cool-Tech™ 100,000-British thermal units (BTU) air conditioning condenser recessed in the front of the patient box, and the Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS) that has three major safety elements, the first being a rollover airbag system with three air bags on the street side and two on the curb side which deploy on the cabinet wall by the attendant seat, which includes a child safety seat, CPR seat and countertop area on road side, and one on each side of the squad bench.
The second safety component to HOPS is its angled cabinets and progressive resistance upholstery at head strike points, which are vinyl with a soft material underneath the cushion and two layers of multi-density foam that absorb energy. The third HOPS component is the Per4Max® four-point seat harness that goes over the medic’s shoulder, self-adjusts with a single click, and has four retractors that provide more mobility for the medics who can stand and grab equipment without unbuckling.
Fitch says that Fayette County’s Type 1 Horton has an electrical cabinet over the oxygen tank compartment in L1 that frees up compartment space elsewhere, a Ziamatic step for the curb side step well, electronic privacy windows, a Horton 360 degree camera system, and a Ferno 28Z PROFlexx chair cot.
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.