25 April 2019

A dozen new state-of-the-art ambulances join emergency fleet

| Lachlan Roberts
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12 new state of the art ambulances were unveiled. Photos: Supplied

ACT emergency services will have an expanded ambulance fleet as a dozen new vehicles were rolled out across the territory yesterday (24 April).

The $3.2 million expansion will see the new ambulances fitted with powered stretchers and electric steps which will automatically activate when the vehicle door opens and closes, providing easier movement and greater safety for paramedics while caring for a patient.

The new ambulances are in addition to the ACT Ambulance Service fleet upgrades, which includes fitting ambulances with electric stretchers, power loaders and new defibrillators, along with the recent announcement of thirty new paramedics set to join ACTAS, who will help crew the new ambulances.

The first of the new pieces of equipment for ACT ambulances will be rolled out from next month, with further resources to come into effect throughout the year, with all new equipment expected to be made available to staff from May next year.

ACT Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said the ambulances’ design was heavily influenced by feedback from paramedics who use them day-to-day.

“This included maximising the working area inside the vehicles to improve patient care and paramedic safety,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring our emergency services are well equipped and resourced to keep Canberrans safe.

“Twelve new state-of-the-art ambulances are now on the road to help ensure Canberra maintains the fastest ambulance response times in the country as our city grows.”

ACT Ambulance Service chief officer Howard Wren believed the new vehicles would take the strain off ambulance workers and said all staff were very happy with the upgraded fleet.

“Over a period of time, if you’re constantly manoeuvring the stretcher and pushing it, it takes a toll on paramedics’ backs and health,” Mr Wren said.

“The implementation of the new powered stretchers has a very beneficial effect on general staff wellbeing, which means staff will go home at the end of the day without a sore back.

“This has been a long-term project so we are very pleased to be at a point where almost all our vehicles are now equipped with powered stretchers.

“Without question, pretty much all ambulance services now across the country have implemented powered stretchers.”

Despite Canberra maintaining the fastest ambulance response times in the country, Chief Officer Wren said the service aims to further reduce the response time over 2019.

“We currently have the best response times for urgent cases in the country. Having said that, there is always room for improvement,” he said.

“Our goal will be to further reduce response times over the next 12 months as we put additional resources in place.”

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