University Hospital unveiled one of its two new emergency response vehicles Thursday.
The new ambulances, which are larger than the hospital’s existing vehicles and painted a different color, were received by the hospital Feb. 13 and are expected to be in use beginning next month.
The new black-and-gold adorned ambulances cost about $97,500 each and increase the hospital’s fleet of emergency vehicles from five to seven. The cost of the new ambulances, including upkeep and stocking, is planned into each year’s hospital budget.
Ambulances will give older vehicles a break
As the new vehicles take to the roads, the hospital’s older ambulances will primarily be used for routine transport to nursing homes and other care facilities.
“The ambulances we use live a pretty hard life; older trucks become less and less reliable,” said Jay Simons, interim clinical operations coordinator for the hospital’s ambulance services.
Committee designed vehicles based on convenience, need
A committee of paramedics and emergency medical technicians came up with the design for the vehicles. The committee wanted to improve the structure, durability, space and convenient placement of supplies in the new models. After about three months of refitting the inside of the vehicles, they emerged with reflective exterior black and gold paint, brighter lights, more room in the patient area and a stainless steel interior.
The need for ambulance improvements came after the hospital received a rise in emergency service calls and officials realized that they needed to be able to better respond to calls during bad weather.
“We need more trucks because of run volume going up,” Simons said. “We are a busy enough system that you have to get at least one new truck a year.”
In addition to University Hospital’s two new ambulances, Columbia Regional Hospital recently added a pediatric ambulance to its fleet. The new vehicle includes a television and videocassette recorder and is designed to have a calming effect on children.