Missoula, Montana – As of a few days, first responders can now be seen riding in brand new vehicles that you would expect to see cruising the roads in Europe, not in the States.
Missoula Emergency Services has introduced two smart new Mercedes ambulances – definitely different from the vehicles usually used for US emergencies.
“They ride so much better than a box ambulance. It is a Mercedes. There are supposedly seven different computers that run the driving suspension steering.” explained Regional Manager Don Whalen. The smooth ride is better for both medics and patients, but more went into the decision that drove Missoula Emergency Services toward the Mercedes model ambulances – they are a money-saver as well.
“They’re half the cost of a typical box [that] we’ve been running for the last several years [and] they get double the fuel mileage. The boxes get about eight miles per gallon, these get about six to 17 miles per gallon,” Whalen pointed out”. They also cost roughly half that of the box ambulance model, which ranges from 98,000 to 150,000 euros to buy. The new Mercedes model can be bought for about 60,000 euros.
There have been some adjustments for paramedics to get used to: there’s less room in the new ambulances and the seats face forward, which is opposite from the older models.
Whalen says less room doesn’t compromise the safety of the patients, or the ability to take care of a patient’s needs. He pointed out that the Mercedes features a helpful new addition.
“We’ve also purchased a CPR device that will be in the ambulance that actually does the CPR for us – and it does a better job of CPR than humans do. It’s continuous…it does a great job of opening the coronary arteries,” he said.
Whalen tells us they’ve also bought a third Mercedes model ambulance, which will soon be put into service. Meanwhile, the ambulances that are being replaced have been sold.