By Alan M. Petrillo
Granger (IA) EMS covers the city of Granger and townships surrounding the city in two counties having a total population of approximately 8,500 people with a single advanced life support (ALS) ambulance running out of one station.
Sam Magill, Granger’s EMS chief, says the agency is staffed by paid part-timers and paid per call individuals, with a total staff of 25 members consisting of paramedics, AEMTs, EMTs and drivers. “Monday through Saturday the day shift is staffed by the part-time people, and the nights and Sundays are staffed by the paid per call members,” Magill says.
Magill points out that Granger EMS has an apparatus replacement schedule set up with the city that gets a new ambulance every 10 to 15 years, depending on the condition of the existing rig. “The timing was special with this ambulance replacement,” she says. “With the rapid growth of the city and surrounding area, the city moved to a public safety model where fire, EMS and police are separate entities, but under a single Public Safety umbrella. So, it was time for us to replace our Life Line ambulance.”
Braden Vomund, regional sales manager for American Response Vehicles, who sold the new rig to Granger EMS, says the agency decided on an American Emergency Vehicles (AEV) Traumahawk XT Type 1 ambulance built on a Ford F-550 four-wheel drive chassis, with a 176-inch patient module that’s 96-inches wide with 72-inches of head room. “The Traumahawk is powered by a 6.7-liter diesel engine and uses the door forward design on the right side of the box that gives a greater measure of privacy and safety for the crew and the patient,” Vomund points out. “That design puts the medic opposite the patient with a cabinet to the right where the medic can access any of the equipment needed to treat the patient and still remain securely belted in the seat.”
Ned Clifton, ARV’s executive vice president, says the new rig has LED lighting in a dome light rail directly above the patient, LED floor and cabinet lighting, an enhanced sound deadening package that keeps the patient module very quiet, an ultraviolet light system in the HVAC that decontaminates surfaces using hydrogen peroxide particles, and a Havis Inc. dash mount for a tablet reporting system.
Randy Barr, AEV’s director of sales, notes that the Granger EMS ambulance is outfitted with Per4Max four-point seatbelt harnesses on all seating positions, has dual patient compartment switch panels on each side of the box, front and rear glove storage at the entry doors, an external Coolbar condenser with a Whelen Pioneer LED scene light on its face, a Stryker PowerLOAD system, and a Zico oxygen cylinder lift.
“The Traumahawk has a blackout package, embossed knurled diamond plate for more secure footing, skirt rail and underbody lighting, interior cabinet lighting, a Whelen Howler siren, an antitheft system, power door locks, a backup camera and a patient compartment camera system, a Class 1 multiplex electrical system, Whelen LED warning lights, and Whelen Pioneer LED scene lights,” Barr says.
Magill says that the agency initially was considering a Type 3 ambulance, but that the AEV Traumahawk Type 1 met all their specifications. “We want to provide the best care possible for our patients and the best equipment for our staff, and greatest safety for both patients and staff,” she says. “So, we chose to go with the AEV Type 1 in the four-wheel drive version to allow us to get into some rougher terrain, but also wanted a smoother ride on the highway so we got it with a Liquid Spring rear suspension.”
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.