The Livingston County Ambulance Board and Chillicothe Fire Department are ready to unveil the first change in ambulance design in over 30 years. Always a leader in EMS innovation, that same ability and commitment is being applied to their ambulance unit’s Chillicothe Fire hopes to lead the way in North Missouri with the Mercedes Sprinter, an emergency vehicle commonly used in Europe.
According to Fire Chief Darrell Wright, the Sprinter will yield twice the mileage of other ambulances. Currently, the fleet gets 9 miles per gallon while the result of the new unit is estimated at 18 miles per gallon.
“We have four modular units in our service area, and expect to have one Sprinter ambulance in our fleet by the end of the summer. We expect a cost savings of $12,524.00 in fuel alone,” Wright said.
While the nation faces rising health care costs and sequestration cuts everyone feels the affect. EMS services could be forced to reduce their services, or cut staff.
Unfortunately, the consumer, the patient, always feels the greatest affect. Due to the fluctuating increase in fuel costs, many services need to assess a fuel charge to recoup their losses, but this is not allowed in Medicare cases. Approximately 44 percent of all Chillicothe transports are Medicare patients.
“We are determined that the rising costs in health care will not generate consequences for the residents of our service area,” said Livingston County Ambulance Board Chairman Bill Hayen. “While the nation is experiencing soaring health care costs, Livingston County Ambulance Board is being proactive in finding ways to reduce costs while maintaining the level of excellent care to which we are committed.”
Along with the new sprinter unit is a new design intended to improve safety.
South Missouri medics using the new unit found the handling of the Sprinter surprisingly agile, making it drive more like a smaller car, giving patients a more comfortable transport. Shaped more like a passenger van than a truck, the Sprinter is more lightweight than traditional ambulances. They feel that safety isn’t compromised with the smaller unit since the Sprinter comes equipped with antilock brakes, dual airbags, stability control, and an emergency window.
“It handles better than older ambulances, making it easier to maneuver,” “The patient cabin has the same headroom, but is stocked with the same medical care equipment as the larger ambulance. The biggest advantage to our patients will be a more comfortable ride,”
Current members of the Livingston County Ambulance Board are Bill Hayen, Dale Whiteside, Bob Gipe, Richard Smith, Howard Marshall, and Alvin Thompson.