Delta County Ambulance District has added a new ambulance to its primary care fleet, one that will provide for the first time a four-wheel-drive capability.
District manager Kirby Clock said that 4x4 capability will give needed improvement to the district's service, particularly in the Cedaredge area's winter weather.
There have been lots of times in the past when 4x4 would have been handy, he said. Now emergency runs into the wintertime conditions of Coalby Canyon, Cedar Mesa, and Upper Surface Creek can have the added security and dependability of 4x4.
Even highway running in winter at times when roads aren't being plowed can call for 4x4. Plowed roads can turn icy in a moment, and the long, uncleared driveways found in rural areas sometimes just can't be negotiated with two-wheel-drive.
Clock points out that icy roads even sometimes present problems just making it up steep, in-town grades to the hospital.
Clock points out the employee safety offered by the new unit. Interior seating is arranged for better access to patients and for security of medical personnel. "This is part of a conscious effort also to make the work environment safer for our people," he said.
The district's other primary units provide bench style, side-by-side seating for the EMT's and paramedics, an arrangement which provides less protection if a driver loss-of-control incident occurs.
The interior design of the new ambulance is modeled after units used by the Durango Fire Department, Clock said, so they have proven their worth in real mountain weather conditions.
District paramedic Charles Hufman, a crew member who will be working in the new ambulance, said "I'm just as happy as can be and really excited that we have this capability now."
The new unit goes into service this week. It will be stationed at the Delta barn for now. That, Clock explains, is so some miles can be put on the new ambulance while it's still under warranty and any glitches have a chance to be found, and for centralized training. The unit is likely to see service out of the Surface Creek ambulance barn also, especially in winter.
For all the quality, capability, and high technology medical care it brings to the District, the unit's $150,000 price tag probably sounds like a good buy. It was paid for with a 50 percent grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and environment, Clock explained. The grant also paid for installing a new a heart monitor and a powered gurney that eases patient movement.
The patient care module on the new 4x4 is of rugged, all-aluminum construction, Clock pointed out. Looking forward to the day when the chassis is ready for replacement, the care module could be refitted and transferred to a new chassis saving the District future dollars.
The new ambulance joins the District's capable, serviceable, and ready fleet of five primary care ambulances and a smaller unit used mainly for transport. The units help ensure there is multi-call response capability available even when some ambulances are being serviced or under repair.
Clock says that safety and service, both for District clients and for District employees, are his governing themes. To that end, an additional three-member crew has been added to the District's rotation schedule. The change will shorten from 72 to 48 the number of consecutive shift hours crews serve. Sometimes, work shifts provide little time for sleep or rest, Clock explained, and the new rotation will ensure that the District's first responders are better rested and "sharp" when they arrive on scene in response to an emergency call for help.blog comments powered by Disqus