The winter we have just experienced in Estrie made it possible to thoroughly test the new ambulance vehicles based on a Ford F-350 van.
“Our new vehicles have been very useful,” says Jean-François Pellerin, Director of Operations at Ambulance de l’Estrie. “We had winter for that! ”
See also: Prototypes of ambulances under test
“We put them on the road when we announced storms. They do better in difficult conditions because they are four-wheel drive and because of the higher weight of the vehicle too. ”
As of last year, the Ambulance teams in the Eastern Townships have been using six new “prototype” vehicles, in addition to those based on a van chassis. These are likely to provide better comfort to transported patients and more latitude for paramedics. The suspension of the vehicle contributes to it, as does the working environment in the care module.
The new vehicles had to be used when access to patient residences to be transported by ambulance was too dangerous, says Pellerin.
“There have been a few times when we had to bring one of the new vehicles, because the others could not go. The courtyard was icy and sloping, “he says.
“The F-350 was able to get to the residence and come back with the patient. ”
The pilot project is not finished even if the experience is positive. It will take place over several months yet. The new vehicles will also have to be more durable. “It’s not over,” adds Mr. Pellerin in an interview with La Tribune .
“We want to evaluate it in the long run. We want to know what will be the maintenance costs and compare its life. ”
The operation has an additional cost per ambulance because you have to pay $ 40,000 more for this type of ambulance compared to old vehicles. The four-wheel-drive option is for many.
Other vehicles of this type are being tested elsewhere in Quebec, such as in Beauce and Montérégie. They are white instead of the traditional yellow. They have been dressed with many reflective stickers that make them very visible.
Ambulance de l’Estrie, a cooperative, serves the territories of Sherbrooke, Magog, Richmond, Valcourt and East-Angus. Its fleet has more than twenty emergency vehicles.