New ambulance rolls into town

The newest addition to the emergency response fleet for Brady and McCulloch County arrived in town late Tuesday night when a new ambulance rolled into town. The new unit is a factory direct model that has some particular features that make it unique to the state of Texas. According to Emergency Medical Services director Betty Waite, the ambulance was built by Medtec Ambulance Corp. of Goshen, Ind. specifically for use as a unit to be shown at trade shows across the nation. The most unique feature of this particular ambulance is the style of warning lights that are used on the exterior of the vehicle. Instead of the traditional style of emergency flashing lights that have rotating or flashing bulbs, with the exception of the main light bar, the lights are LED lights. This style of light has a burn time significantly greater than that of traditional lights, almost to the point to where there will not be a need to replace any of the individual lights. These LED lights do not actually use light bulbs and therefore use less electricity. Factory representatives designed and installed these lights with the specific purpose of conserving electrical power and putting less strain on the ambulance’s alternator and electrical system over the life of the unit. The significance of these lights and what they intend to accomplish is to alleviate some of the more common electrical problems associated with ambulances. The physical structure of the unit is a basic truck frame on which a box containing hundreds of feet of electrical wiring and circuitry is placed. Everything on the ambulance is run off of electricity, improving the efficiency and life of the electrical system is designed to decrease the amount of repairs over the service life of the ambulance. “The factory representative told us that this particular unit is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Texas,” said Waite. The ambulance was purchased by the City of Brady for $87,080, and it replaces the last of three original units that were put into service in 1989. When it arrived in Brady, after being driven from Indiana to San Antonio for some minor modifications and then to Brady, the odometer reading was 11,700 miles. “This is still a brand new ambulance that was only driven to and from the factory to trade shows and to the national fire and EMS show,” said Waite. “The fact that it does have some highway miles on it allowed us to purchase this unit at a discounted price. This ambulance actually costs $120,000 brand new straight from the factory.” The new ambulance has an inside standing space of 72 inches. It is equipped with an electrical oxygen dispersal system that provides paramedics with a constant and uninterrupted flow to use on multiple subjects. It has an automatic high idle that is engaged when the parking brake is used and it also has an automatic system cutoff that will shut off all electrical power after five minutes of the ignition being turned off. This particular feature is designed to alleviate any unintentional power drainage caused by a light or particular electrical system being left on. The new ambulance was the center of attention for much of the day Wednesday as EMS crews worked to transfer equipment and supplies to the new unit and get it ready for service. Finding a nook for each piece and a cranny for all of the extras is a task very similar to a jigsaw puzzle. EMS crews now have three fully-equipped ambulances available for use throughout the county.

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