Arnold Air Force Base Fire and Emergency Services (FES) has purchased a new, state-of-the-art ambulance, which FES Chief Daryle Lopes said he and his entire team are excited about, not only for the department but for the patients it will serve.
“The purchase of a new ambulance is a big deal to us and a great benefit to the community,” Lopes said. “This vehicle will drastically increase safety, reliability and performance capability.”
This ambulance replaces a 17-year-old unit that, according to Lopes, had become increasingly less dependable over the life of the contract.
The new unit is a 2021 Type III ambulance with a Ford F-450 chassis and a Trauma Hawk ambulance box. Previously a dealer’s demonstration model, it had only 3,000 miles on it before being purchased by FES.
With the new vehicle also comes a number of increased safety features in the box of the ambulance, which is where the medical equipment is stored and any treatment is performed, and the chassis is meant to better protect the crew and patients.
“It has the biggest box an ambulance can have in height and length, with a 6-foot clearance so we have more room to work,” said Gary Horn, assistant chief of operations for FES. “With the improved box, we are now up to highest safety standards as far as medics working in the back.”
Some of the other differences from the old ambulance versus the new ambulance include more lights and better LED quality and adjustable patterns; more cabinets and updated cabinetry inside; more compartments for storage outside; a power cot with load assist; a four-point safety harness on all compartment seats; back-up camera with bumper protection; powerlift for large oxygen bottles; portable oxygen mounts inside the box; and more cab room.
Additionally, it runs on gasoline fuel instead of diesel, which Lopes noted would be simpler and less expensive to maintain. The rear doors have Chevron emergency striping, and letters, and the letters and striping are reflective for night safety. The purchase of this ambulance also included a warranty.
“The unit is manufactured to strict standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services,” Lopes said. “We’re now fully compliant with current Ground Vehicle Standard for ambulance regulations.
“All this ensures our transport vehicle provides maximum physical protection to the patient and the crew.”
Lopes thanked Amentum, the company under which FES operates as part of the Facility Support Services II contract, for backing the much needed investment.
“Amentum’s willingness to invest $182,000 in the Emergency Medical Services part of our mission highlights our commitment to providing top quality medical services to the entire AEDC community (at Arnold AFB),” he said. “The investment is an integral part of the safety and quality culture we practice which focuses on exceptional performance, continual improvement, and personal and operational safety.
“Arnold FES is extremely grateful to corporate leaders in the Warfighter Support directorate, and above, who never flinched when the unplanned need for a large capital expenditure arose. I also can’t fail to mention our exceptional performers in the arduous process of buying a new ambulance, which were Assistant Fire Chief Gary Horn, Firefighter and Paramedic Coordinator Shane Clark, Deputy Fire Chief Daryl VanCise, and Denise Doss of Warfighter Support purchasing.”
Lopes further thanked AEDC and Air Force leadership for its support saying, “Since the start of our contract in 2015, the support and understanding of our Air Force customer in every aspect of our EMS program has been invaluable.”
Horn also wanted to voice his appreciation for FES management for backing the decision to purchase a new vehicle.
“The company, Chief Lopes and Deputy Chief VanCise, they backed us 100 percent the entire time,” he said. “Since we’ve purchased the ambulance, you can catch some of the FES guys outside checking it out. They take great pride in it.”
Photo: Joey Anderson, a firefighter/paramedic for Arnold Air Force Base Fire and Emergency Services, checks supplies in the FES team’s newly-acquired ambulance Jan. 12, 2021, Arnold AFB, Tenn. The cabinets inside the ambulance can be accessed by both sliding doors and swinging doors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)