Woolwich’s new ambulance nears rolling

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 7:45am

    Nine months after voters approved buying it, Woolwich EMS has its new ambulance. It arrived Feb. 3.

    EMS Director Brian Carlton said the new Rescue 1 will be ready for service by Valentine’s Day – fitting because February is also “Heart Month” across America, the time for people from all walks of life to join the battle to prevent heart disease.

    The 2018 Ford E-240 has a v-10 gasoline-fueled engine, is fitted with a custom ambulance module and was bought through Autotronics LLC of Frenchville.

    “The only miles on it are the ones they put on when they delivered the ambulance to us this past Monday,” said Carlton. It has a backup camera that automatically activates when the vehicle is put in reverse enabling the driver to see what’s behind him or her. “There’s also a patient observation camera on the dash so the driver can also see inside the module,” Carlton added.

    The reconditioned module came equipped with a Stryker Powerload, used to safely lift and load patients from a power cot into the ambulance. “This unit helps avoid the risk of back injuries to ambulance personnel. That’s something we’re all very pleased about. This vehicle is safer for us and will be much better equipped for patient care. When we’re finished, it will have a cardiac monitor and be fully equipped as an advanced live support paramedic ambulance.”

    The ambulance will become the department’s number one rescue vehicle, replacing a diesel-powered, 2004 Ford TraumaHawk bought from Harpswell Neck Fire and Rescue in 2015. In September  2015, Woolwich EMS had between 15 and 20 active members; about half certified as EMTs. Carlton said the ambulance department now has 33 members, including 24 EMT’s, four paramedics and three advanced EMT’s. Four others are working on their advanced certification.

    Voters last year approved the town funding its own 24/7 ambulance service. The ambulance department went into operation in July and has responded to 163 emergency calls, said Carlton. He became EMS director in January 2017.

    “We thought when we started, we’d respond to about 240 emergency calls in our first year. We’ll definitely exceed that.” The town’s fiscal year ends June 30.

    Carlton said Woolwich EMS and fire departments always welcome new members. To learn more, visit the Woolwich Fire and EMS Facebook page.