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February 15, 2011 - Moncton, New Brunswick

ISLAND EMS: INVESTING IN SAFETY

In April 2011 Island EMS will have five new type II Mercedes Mirage Ex Sprinter Ambulances built by Demers Ambulance. Island EMS will be the first in Canada to implement the Demers Mercedes Sprinter. Demers recently won Top Innovation Award from EMS World for this model of ambulance.

Island EMS, a subsidiary company of Medavie EMS, began operating the ground ambulance service in Prince Edward Island in April 2006. Operating on a long-term service contract with the Government of PEI, Island EMS is solely responsible for the delivery of the pre-hospital emergency care and non-emergency transfers for the province of Prince Edward Island (PEI). There are approximately 100 paramedics working with Island EMS, with the scope of practice of Primary Care Paramedic, Intermediate Care Paramedic and Advanced Care Paramedic.

Island EMS in conjunction with its parent company Medavie, Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) started working on researching a new vehicle design in 2008. Through consultation with many safety experts through the EMS Safety Foundation, (lead by world leading safety expert Dr. Nadine Levick, www.emssafetyfoundation.org) there goal was to design a safer emergency vehicle that would be provide maximum safety for the paramedics, patient and the public. The project involved consulting with automobile engineers, ergonomics, crash safety engineers, rear occupancy protection professionals and conspicuity experts. The team also took the work that had been completed by IEMS paramedics and management on their Multi patient Unit that was implemented in the spring of 2010

After the research began, it was clear early on that one chassis stood out from the rest in reliability, economically and safety. The Mercedes Sprinter a German Engineered unit that is equipped with a standard BlueTEC V6 turbo diesel engine that provides the best in class fuel consumption. The Mercedes also has the longest average maintenance intervals which makes it very cost efficient. If this was not enough to make it appealing to emergency service providers the safety features helped push it over the edge. The vehicle comes equipped with Adaptive ESP, ABS with brake assist, rollover mitigation, and roll movement intervention all aimed at keeping the occupants and members of the public safe.  The sprinter also rated best in class in ergonomics is a comfortable sell to its users.

After many months of research and consultation, Procurement led a process to establish a comprehensive request for Proposal (RFP) document. This RFP consisted of 22 sections with over 68 pages including required safety testing. The Design document was very specific in components, equipment and products used including improving design safety engineering, asking for best practice products whenever possible. On the layout design, we allowed the engineers to suggest to us the layout asking them for their expert input. We also reached out to and collaborated with the EMS Safety Foundation again in Dallas Texas at the EMS Safety Foundations innovation workshop and incorporated the feedback from various safety experts such as: engineers; ergonomics specialists; manufacture; and other safety experts allowing for an optimal design.

The new vehicle design had many key safety features that allowed for the paramedics to deliver safer care. The first area we focused on in our design was improving safety in the rear patient compartment; we wanted to make it so the paramedic had all their essential and frequently used equipment proximal so that they could remain secured. A forward and rear swivel attendant seat equipped with a shoulder belt was installed instead of a squad bench. The seat swivels 280 degrees and also travels forward and to the rear to allow for the paramedic to provide care. The wall consol area next to the attendant has a suction unit, action consol which includes lighting, suction, ventilation, intercom and temperature control.  There is also a radio for facility communication.

Above the attendants head and recessed into the wall there are four glove box holders that allow for easy application. In front of the attendant seat is a compartment system that has the defibrillator secured on top. There is a slide out writing tray and two compartments that allow for equipment storage below. There is also a kick open and close sharps and waste container storage system.

The airway seat fixed at the head of the stretcher will allow the attendant to position them self right next to the head of the stretcher giving them maximum air way control while still remaining belted. All the seats are ergonomically friendly and are covered with an impermeable fluid resistance surface allowing for easy clean. The interior cabinets built out of aluminum have a locking mechanism that helps prevent equipment from becoming projectiles in the event of a collision. All of the exterior equipment is secured with straps and solid doors or walls that can be accessed when the main doors are open. These cabinets would include the stair chair, spine boards, portable oxygen, and equipment bags used when arriving on scene.  There is also a double locking narcotics storage cabinet that helps secure controlled substances. All the areas for entry have grab bars for easy and safe entry as well as high visibility yellow head strike zones equipped with padding.  The rear lighting is all LED with multi level lighting ability.What makes this vehicle unique in the rear compartment from others is that the structural integrity of the vehicle is not modified in any way by the ambulance manufacturing companies.

The front cab area has plenty of storage with compartments located throughout the front. The flares, helmets, vest and four sizes of gloves are all located in the cab area including an extra set of straps to help secure personal belongings. There are map and clip board holders as well as a heads up display for main controls. The unit is also equipped with an anti theft device.  

The lighting controlled by Demers multi-plex system reduces the normal ambulance wiring by over 70 lbs and also allows for easy electrical diagnostic reducing maintenance costs and vehicle out of service time.  The exterior of the unit shows high conspicuity markings allowing for the public to see it. When the LED emergency lighting is activated it makes the unit highly recognizable providing an additional safety to the paramedics on scene at emergencies. The rear compartment even has a light bar inside the rear of the unit that will provide maximum exposure when the rear doors are open.

The unit comes equipped with many standard features such as outside temperature gauge, and running boards with holes in them allowing for snow and slush to drop off of them. We added additional features such as a rear vision camera, rear bumper sensors and the Ace tech AVI component to name a few. This unit also has a rear loading height of less than 19 inches and an  excess gross vehicle weight of over 2100 lbs per unit it is no doubt going to reduce paramedic injuries.  

Medavie EMS and its group of companies are committed to providing innovative health care solutions through caring professionals, while continually working to improve and build on a safety foundation. Our goal is to keep our Health Care Providers, Patients and, members of the Public safe.