Frisco’s ambulance bus is healing on wheels
Firefighters and paramedics in Frisco, Texas can now transport as many as 20 patients at a time with its new Ambulance Bus. The retrofitted vehicle is equipped with 20 stretchers, including two powered rolling gurneys; a Life Pack 15 cardiac monitor /defibrillator; five wireless vital sign monitors; various two-way and portable radios; and fixed and portable oxygen tanks with a capacity to treat as many as 30 patients.
“What caught my eye was the potential to use the vehicle as a much more efficient triage or first aid station,” said Chief Mack Borchardt. “This will be a great asset for major emergencies and natural disasters. But, we’ll also use the ambulance bus during significant special events, where we tend to treat more people at a time, particularly during extreme heat.”
In October Frisco firefighters transported 15 people to local hospitals where they were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after a vent pipe from a water heater became disconnected at a Frisco hair salon. In that case, five ambulances responded. Once at the scene, firefighter/paramedics began treating patients with oxygen.
“If we had this vehicle a month ago, we would have used it to treat (those) patients exposed to carbon monoxide,” said Chief Borchardt.
Frisco was selected by the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council to receive the Ambulance Bus. In September, the Frisco City Council signed an interlocal agreement, accepting the offer. The Ambulance Bus has a price tag of approximately $430,000 and is paid for by state funds. The Frisco Fire Department has to staff and maintain the Ambulance Bus.
Chief Borchardt says the idea for Ambulance Buses developed from the need to evacuate or treat numerous patients at a time in hurricane prone areas, but its value has been proven time and time again during other emergencies.
Chief Borchardt adds the Ambulance Bus will come in handy whether firefighter/paramedics are working a major concert, attended by tens of thousands, at Pizza Hut Park; tending to a major accident, involving multiple vehicles and resulting in numerous patients; or responding to the call for ‘mutual aid’ from areas hit by tornadoes, hurricanes or wildfires.