BEND AREA — Timing is everything as the saying goes, and such is the case of a new, fully equipped ambulance that was placed into service in the Bend Area on Monday.
According to Dennis Zimmerman, Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director, the 2019 model emergency vehicle was delivered in December.
Radios were installed into the ambulance, Zimmerman said, but the process slowed in finishing the vehicle because of the Coronavirus. As the virus became more aggressive, he said they fast-tracked getting the equipment installed. All crews had to undergo driver’s training, due to advanced equipment and four-wheel drive, before the vehicle could go into service.
The ambulance will be housed at the Mason EMS station. It replaces the vehicle lost in a rollover accident last summer.
Zimmerman said the four-wheel drive will allow crews to navigate the back roads of the Bend Area during inclement weather. The box style on a pickup frame was purchased somewhat due to financial reasons, but also will hopefully allow the EMS to get 20 years of service out of the box, with only the chassis needing replaced sooner, he added.
Other features of the ambulance include an advanced filtration system, with a HEPA filter in both the cab and patient area. Zimmerman said this is very important in our current crisis. The patient area is also larger, and is equipped with a power-assisted cot. The gurney can be raised and lowered by hydraulics.
Zimmerman said the vehicle was purchased partially with insurance money from the accident. It will be rotated with the second ambulance that is housed at Mason, in an attempt to keep mileage down.
The vehicle brings the total county fleet to eight, and Zimmerman said he could use another three new ambulances. None of the remaining seven have less than 100,000 miles, while some have over 200,000. The new vehicle is the only four-wheel drive one in the county.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.