ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke first responders have some major upgrades on the front lines to improve the way they deal with emergencies.
Roanoke Fire-EMS has two new ambulances. Each one has two brand new features that are improving urgent care.
First, the area where paramedics treat patients is now bigger and wider.
Lt. Adam Fleming says the additional space is more accommodating for both the patient and caregiver, especially during critical calls. Not only can that area of the new ambulances accommodate up to four first responders, but it also allows more room for care, equipment, and supplies.
According to Fleming, each ambulance responds to between 10 and 15 calls a day. He believes the improvements on the ambulances make responding to the high call volume less stressful.
“Our providers actually have a better piece of equipment to actually give a better service to the patients we have to deal with,” Fleming said. “When you’re talking about life and death, having the proper equipment, having it dependable, having it ready to go matters every day in life.”
In addition, the new ambulances have new air filtration systems that are stronger in collecting and killing airborne viruses.
Fleming says the upgrade came at the right time as first responders continue battling the coronavirus. According to the lieutenant, the new filtration system works through ultraviolet lighting — which is different from the HEPA filters in the old trucks — and purifies the air more quickly, increasing the safety levels for both the patients and the paramedics.
“We’re trying to make it more accommodating for both the paramedic, as well as the patient, to give the best pre-hospital care that we can give before they get to the hospital.”
Of the new ambulances — which were ordered in summer 2019 — one has already been in service for a month while the other is set to make its debut within the next week.
According to Roanoke Fire-EMS, each ambulance cost between $250,000 and $275,000, with equipment adding up to more than $30,000 each.
The life expectancy for the new ambulances is between five and eight years. Meanwhile, the medic trucks being replaced by the new ambulances will reportedly serve as backups.
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