HUBER HEIGHTS — The Huber Heights Fire Division placed into service a new medic unit last week, its first since 2009, and touted its safety features on Monday.
The ambulance, manufactured by Horton Emergency Vehicles in Grove City, features a heavy duty chassis that gives the vehicle added longevity and a smoother ride for patients than previous models.
Battalion Chief Keith Knisley spearheaded the project and said the department used to replace medic units every three years after about 100,000 miles of service
“We have two other heavy duty units that have over 240,000 miles on them,” said Knisley. “On the older units we changed the oil every 5,000 miles on these its 8,000 miles. The brakes don’t get as hot, they get better gas mileage.”
The safety features are what set the vehicles apart according to Knisley.
Horton has a harness system called HOPS that restrains the paramedics with a full harness system instead of a lap belt in other medic units.
“The idea now is if we flipped upside down with everybody restrained we should just be hanging in place, the patient and the paramedics,” said Knisley.
The medic also has a 360 degree camera that activates when the turn signal is turned on. It provides an aerial view so the driver can be sure no cars, people, or other objects are in the blind spot. The vehicle also has rear windows that can be turned opaque at the touch of a button to provide privacy for patients.
The unit is also equipped with several air bags in the patient compartment and a new cot mounting system.
“Obviously to move from the front to the back you have to unbuckle, but the paramedic can get in a seat, be restrained, and still give aid,” Knisley said. “We switched cots because our old mounting system Horton won’t even install anymore because crash testing showed they are the first thing to break.”
Knisley said many of the changes, such as a double seat large enough for two paramedics to administer CPR, came from suggestions of fire division personnel.
“We took some of the medics we have been using, suggestions our personnel have been giving, and made it a little bit better back here for them,” he said.