By Alan M. Petrillo
Janesville (WI) Fire Department got an opportunity to add an ambulance to its fleet and chose to go with a Horton Emergency Vehicles rig to complement the other Horton ambulances it is running.
Jamie Kessenich, Janesville’s deputy chief for EMS and support services, says the new Horton 4×4 Type 1 ambulance is the seventh Horton in the department’s fleet, with five front-line rigs responding out of five stations, and two Type 1s in reserve. She points out that each ambulance is staffed by two firefighter/paramedics who respond to both EMS and fire alarm calls. “Our 93 paid firefighters have a minimum of EMT training and respond to approximately 7,600 ambulance requests each year,” Kessenich points out, “and many of our staff are cross trained to provide dive rescue, hazardous materials response and technical rescue.”
Dave Marshall, Horton’s director of sales, says the Janesville rig is built on a Ford F-550 four-wheel drive chassis with Horton’s 623 patient module that is 173-inches long and 74-inches tall with a pass through from the cab to the patient box. “The ambulance is powered by a 6.7-liter diesel engine, has a 100,000- British thermal unit CoolTech 1 condenser as part of its roof system, a backup camera, and an observation camera in the patient module,” Marshall says.
Shawn Foster, sales manager for Foster Coach, who sold the Type 1 to Janesville, says the department wanted to standardize all its ambulances, “so the new truck has the same layout as previous department models and incorporates the Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS) safety features in the patient module. With the similar layout to their ambulances, it makes it much easier to do remounts, which Janesville occasionally does, where we refurbish the patient box and mount it on a new chassis for them.”
Kessenich notes that the HOPS features of side airbags, foam in potential head strike areas, and Per4Max four-point seatbelt harnesses was an important consideration for the department. “We also are putting the HOPS system on all of our remounts,” she says, “and we will be doing two remounts next year.” She notes that the new Horton rig carries a Stryker PowerLOAD system and PowerCOT, an integrated child’s seat in the attendant’s chair at the head of the cot, a NarcBox with RFID electronic coding, and a small refrigerator for medicines that need cooling.
Marshall adds that the new Janesville rig’s driver’s side rear compartment is set up to carry firefighters’ turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus, and that the ambulance has a Vanner LifeSine inverter, and a Tomar lighting system.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.