A NEW turbo-charged four-wheel-drive ambulance is being trialled in Queensland so paramedics can provide a safer and more robust response to patients located in difficult areas of the state.
The $245,000 Mercedes G Wagon 4WD has been fitted out like a standard ambulance, complete with a patient stretcher, paramedic attending seat and key storage for all treatment and response equipment.
It’ll be capable of responding to all types of emergencies off-road, with enhanced 4WD capabilities including three differential locks for enhanced terrain capability and a recovery winch.
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The vehicle will undergo rigorous testing over the next six months in a number of locations, including in Cairns, Rockhampton, Longreach, Kilcoy, Boonah and sand environments such as Moreton Island.
The Queensland Ambulance Service currently has more than 250 4WD stretcher ambulances in its fleet.
Following the six-month trial of the new enhanced vehicle, the Service will evaluate its performance and make any required modifications before replacing its existing 4WD fleet.
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles test drove the new vehicle today.
He said 4WDs were an integral part of the QAS fleet and “modernising them would provide a high degree of confidence when responding to emergencies in rural and remote regions”.
“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the need to provide our hard-working paramedics with the best equipment available to provide the best care possible,” Mr Miles said.
“This equipment makes ambulance transport safer and more comfortable and provides optimum functionality for both patients and paramedics while meeting both on-road and off-road performance requirements.”
Key features of the vehicle include:
– A 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel engine and 7-speed automatic transmission with hi/low range capability and three differential locks for enhanced terrain capability.
– Improved weight carrying capacity of approximately 600kg allowing the fitting of a new powered Stryker stretcher and loading system which can carry patients up to 318kg and a Stryker stair chair which can safely support patients weighing up to 228kg.
– An integrated air conditioning system, with separate temperature controls to the cab and patient area which provides optimal staff and patient comfort with Queensland’s diverse climatic conditions.
– The latest electronic screens for the operation of both vehicle and patient care features.
– Safety features such as a Duress Monitoring System and a reversing camera and reversing sensors.