By MORGAN MANNS
After months of anticipation, Fostoria Fire Chief Keith Loreno brought the city’s new ambulance home for good Friday evening.
The 8,000 pound ambulance, which will be called Medic 91, made its way through treacherous winds up to Fostoria from Mansfield, where a variety of electronics were being installed at VASU Communications Inc.
“Safety was our number-one thought when ordering the truck,” Loreno said. “It’s well-equipped with safety features and it was built specifically for fire service.”
Wireless radios, or truck radio extenders, will allow for the firefighters and paramedics to better communicate with one another, with dispatch and with the hospital in emergency situations. Headsets worn by staff will help prevent serious hearing loss from the sirens and horns.
Extensive reflective stripes and decals can be seen along the sides, front and back of the truck and inside the doors, allowing the truck to be more visible to others during an emergency.
A city of Fostoria logo takes up a big chunk of space on the back of the ambulance.
“We wanted to do something special,” Loreno said. “Not only does it look nice and support the city, but it provides additional safety because it’s reflective.”
Loreno said all exterior doors on the vehicle are either roll-up or sliding and don’t open into the roadway, which reduces blind spots and obstructed vision.
Other safety features include all LED lighting in the front, back and along the sides of the truck, dual horn and sirens, rescue equipment and air packs in the event of a fire, a back up camera that beeps when reversing, and a constant monitor that keeps track of the temperature in the ambulance, the oxygen levels, whether doors are open and more.
The major highlight of the new truck is its auto loading system, which can lift up to 700 pounds at the push of a button, according to Loreno.
“If the loading system prevents one guy from a knee or back injury, it’s all worth it,” Loreno said. “You can’t put a price on those things.”
Before the new ambulance can be used, Loreno said each firefighter and paramedic will have to be trained on the equipment, including the auto loading system, to know how to use it and what to do in the event that the system fails to operate correctly.
Wall supports in the box made up of two-inch tubular steel will prevent the box from distorting in the event of a crash or rollover, said Loreno. The box has a 20-year warranty.
Because of its durability, the ambulance should have a lifespan of more than 15 years. The average lifespan of a typical ambulance is more like five to seven years.
The current ambulances the division owns are 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They will serve as reserves to Medic 91, which should be in service the first week of February, according to Loreno.
“It’s like giving a kid a candy bar and telling them they can’t eat it for a month,” Loreno said. “All of the guys are anxious to get it out. It’s exciting for all of us.”
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