By Alan M. Petrillo
A new ambulance staffing model has caused Pasco County (FL) Fire Rescue to rethink the size and design of its ambulances in order to provide space for a four-person crew – instead of its current two paramedics/EMTs – which led the department to purchase a Type 1 UltraMedic ambulance from Road Rescue.
Scott Cassin, Pasco County Fire Rescue’s chief, says that currently the department dispatches a two-person ambulance and a three-person engine for high-acuity medical responses such as heart attacks or strokes. “We have an engine and an ambulance at each of our 26 stations, and if an engine leaves on a medical call, there is no responder available in that zone to be dispatched to a second call, meaning we would have to send a unit from farther away which could involve a more-lengthy response time,” Cassin points out. “With the Autonomous Rescue program, we are reconfiguring our ambulance fleet to a four-person cab design so that we could carry a third paramedic or EMT on the ambulance, which allows the crew to handle virtually every call possible, with the exception of the highest acuity calls, such as heart attacks, where they might need additional hands.”
Cassin notes that Pasco County’s newest ambulance, the Road Rescue Type 1 Ultra Medic, is built on an International MV medium duty chassis and four-person cab powered by a 325-horsepower Cummins L9 diesel engine, and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission. He adds that the department plans on upgrading to a lieutenant position on each rig and hiring more medics and EMTs to staff the vehicles, which he estimates will take between three to four years to fully implement.
Rick Schoppe, Florida ambulance sales account manager for Hall-Mark RTC, says the Road Rescue Type 1 has a wheelbase of 219 inches and an overall length of 28-feet, 7-inches, with 76 inches of head room inside the patient module. “The ambulance has a Liquid Spring rear suspension, a HiViz Fire Tech custom grill that houses both cannon and flood LED lighting, and four Federal Signal flashing red lights,” Schoppe says, “as well as a row of HG2 LED lighting on each side of the lower body, red and yellow TecNiq flashing LED lights along the top of all the entry doors, Whelen M series warning lights, a Federal Navigator 25-inch LED light bar, and a 16-inch LED strip on the rear interior on each side of the back doors to blink yellow for turns, and red for braking.”
Schoppe notes the rig also has a Cool Bar 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC combination air conditioning compressor system, Per4Max four-point harnesses on the attendant, CPR and two squad bench seat positions, an Isofix infant car seat incorporated into the attendant’s seat, and a Firecom intercom system.
Paula Coleman, Pasco County’s EMS chief, notes the new Road Rescue ambulance has a Zico electric oxygen tank lift in the left front exterior compartment, a Stryker PowerLOAD and PowerCOT system inside the box, electronic privacy windows on the module doors, a Safety Vision 360 degree camera system that allows for patient information to be transmitted to the front of the truck, and an Silent Partner inventory control antenna system in all 22 cabinets inside the module that tracks equipment removed and/or replaced.
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.