Margate-Coconut Creek (FL) Fire Rescue is a longtime customer of Wheeled Coach, so when the department had to replace two ambulances, it again turned to Wheeled Coach to build them.
“A couple of the biggest things that we wanted to address are durability in the ambulance and functionality for the medics working in it,” says Danny Rodriguez, Margate-Coconut Creek’s logistics chief. “We have a long relationship with Wheeled Coach and because they are local to us in Florida, if we have any service issues, they can handle them quickly.” Rodriguez adds that Margate-Coconut Creek tries to keep the layout standard throughout its fleet of ambulances in case a crew needs to swap out a truck, but that it still made a few small adjustments to the new rigs.
Luis Villar, Margate-Coconut Creek’s EMS chief, says the department’s prior Wheeled Coach Type 1 ambulances have 170-inch patient modules, but that Margate-Coconut Creek went to a 180-inch box on the two new rigs. “That gave us the opportunity to house the special equipment we need to perform dive/rescue services,” Villar points out. “We needed space for firefighter turnout gear, SCBA, dive tanks, fins, masks, and other dive gear.”
Michele Yoder, REV Ambulance Group’s Wheeled Coach brand manager, says the Type 1 ambulances are built on Freightliner M2 chassis and extended cabs with hermetically sealed compartments covered by roll-up doors in the extended cab area to carry turnout gear and SCBA, while 26-inch deep body compartments are set up for the dive/rescue equipment. “The department also liked the door-forward design on the curb side of the ambulances, which provides more privacy for a patient in the module if the side entry door is open,” Yoder notes. “To the left of the side entry door is a tall compartment where the top of it is accessed from inside the module, and the bottom from the outside, carrying turnout gear and a SCBA for Margate-Coconut Creek’s third ambulance crew member.”
Yoder adds that the rigs each carry a Coleman air conditioning rooftop unit and are equipped with Stryker PowerLOAD cot systems, a Zico electric step on the curbside entry door, and a Zico oxygen tank life in the driver’s side L1 compartment. “The squad bench has seating for three, each with an IMMI four-point harness,” she says, “the CPR seat on the left side of the module has an IMMI four-point harness, as does the attendant seat at the head of the cot, which also has an integrated pediatric restraint seat.” The vehicles also have a crawl-through opening between the cab and the patient box, covered by a rollup door.
Villar says that the L2 compartment holds Margate-Coconut Creek’s dive gear of air tanks, masks, snorkels, fins, and a Pelican case for communications and 150 feet of communications rope/cable. The L3 compartment, he says, houses an Autopulse, scoop stretcher, backboard, stair chair, trauma equipment, and immobilization equipment, which is accessible from both inside and outside the rig.
Lighting on the ambulances, Yoder says, includes Whelen LED warning lights, Whelen PF2 scene lights, a Whelen LED Freedom light bar, a Whelen LED traffic advisor Whelen 700 amber arrows on each side in angled housings, and Whelen M7 strip lighting on the bottom edges of the patient module.
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.