BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department received its fleet of new ambulances, this month. They should be ready to respond to calls once the agency receives licensing from the state.
Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News the six vehicles replace the current fleet, which were often in the shop with mechanical problems and he says at eight-years-old, maintenance costs were rising. He says the new rigs are much safer and more comfortable for medics and patients. "They have been crash-tested because they are a lighter truck with a modular box on top. So, they are a much smoother ride, they’re much safer, the brakes are better, the suspension is really smooth, they’ve got airbags all the way around, which the other ones did not have. There are four-point restraints that medics will be able to wear in the back while they’re working." Howe says the current fleet is eight years old and maintenance costs were rising.
It cost about $1.2-million dollars to replace the fleet, but Howe says the new rigs will save the agency money, down the road. The box on the back of the chassis is a modular unit and he says they can be reused when the truck reaches the end of its life.
Howe adds, "Two of them have new self-loading gurneys that are going to save our backs. We hope we can afford to buy self-loading gurneys for the rest of them; they’re extremely expensive. They can hold a 600-pound patient, and you can load it with one finger."