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Ambulances Getting Smarter, Including Custom Interior Details

Issue 6 and Volume 17.

(1) Braun Industries exhibited the Chief XL at FDIC 2012, a new model with an EZ door-forward arrangement, built on a Chevy G4500 chassis.
(1) Braun Industries exhibited the Chief XL at FDIC 2012, a new model with an EZ door-forward arrangement, built on a Chevy G4500 chassis. (Photo courtesy of Braun Industries.)
(2) Braun also debuted its Phillip C. Braun Signature Series Type III ambulance in honor of its founder. The rig displayed is on a Chevy G3500 chassis.
(2) Braun also debuted its Phillip C. Braun Signature Series Type III ambulance in honor of its founder. The rig displayed is on a Chevy G3500 chassis. (Photo courtesy of Braun Industries.)
(3) Wheeled Coach displayed a custom-built rig for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) with a four-door crew cab and powered by a Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine.
(3) Wheeled Coach displayed a custom-built rig for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) with a four-door crew cab and powered by a Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine. (Photo courtesy of Wheeled Coach.)
(4) Wheeled Coach exhibited an ambulance built on a Dodge D4500 chassis for the Margate-Coconut Creek (FL) Fire-Rescue that has a seamless all-aluminum body, Firecom communications system, and four five-point seat belt positions.
(4) Wheeled Coach exhibited an ambulance built on a Dodge D4500 chassis for the Margate-Coconut Creek (FL) Fire-Rescue that has a seamless all-aluminum body, Firecom communications system, and four five-point seat belt positions. (Photo courtesy of Wheeled Coach.)

Alan M. Petrillo

Ambulance manufacturers debuted several new ambulance models at the 2012 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) and also showed an array of custom interior details available on their rigs.

Dealer and Customer Design

Braun Industries, which has been building custom ambulances for 50 years, exhibited two new models: the Phillip C. Braun Signature Series and the Chief XL. Chad Brown, Braun’s vice president of sales and marketing, says the Chief XL on display was the EZ door-forward model that relocates the crew’s side door forward toward the cab so the attending paramedic doesn’t have to get up from his seat to access equipment.

The Chief XL exhibited is built on a Chevy G4500 chassis with a 159-inch wheelbase. Overall length of the XL is 279 inches, width is 98 inches, and height is 160.5 inches. The Chief XL can be built on other chassis, Brown said, including the Ford E-450 and F-450, Ram D4500, and International TerraStar. Inside, the Chief XL features 45-degree-angle cabinets and duplicate electronics and equipment panels for easy access. “The design of the Chief XL was brought to us by our dealers and customers,” Brown says, “so it’s a response to their needs.”

Braun also introduced its Phillip C. Braun Signature Series Type III on a Chevy G3500 chassis (also available on a Ford E-350 chassis). The Signature Series as displayed has a 150-inch-long box with 68 inches of headroom and an overall length of 260 inches. Height is 102.5 inches, and width is 95 inches. The rig features Braun’s SolidBody construction, MasterTech multiplex electrical system, Eberhard free floating latches, an all LED lighting package, a customized interior front wall, and street-side wall layout.

Other ambulances Braun displayed included a Chief XL on a Ford F-450 chassis, built for the Sharonsville (OH) Fire Department, with five-point seat harnesses, duplex equipment for easy access, and a forward-facing paramedic seat; and a unit built for the West Licking (OH) Fire Department on an International DuraStar Super Chief with an extended cab.

Braun also displayed its Patriot-a combination pumper, rescue, and ambulance-built for the Volusia (FL) City Fire Services on a Spartan MetroStar LTD chassis. The Patriot, powered by a Cummins ISB 6.7-liter diesel, carries a Waterous CAFS unit, 200 gallons of water, 15 gallons of foam, and three crosslays and has a transverse compartment behind the cab. At the rear of the unit is Braun’s 156-inch-long ambulance module.

New Interior/Exterior Panel Finish

Horton Emergency Vehicles introduced a new model of ambulance at FDIC, along with an innovative finish for ambulance interior and exterior panels.

The new Horton ambulance is a Type 1 AD (additional duty) on an International TerraStar 623 chassis with a GVWR of 19,500 pounds and sporting a 300-hp MaxxForce 7 diesel engine and Allison 1000 transmission.

Steve Cole, manager of Horton’s rescue division, says the medium-duty rig carries Horton’s HOPS (Horton Occupant Protection System) for rollover collisions. “HOPS combines advanced restraints, multidensity head protection, tubular air bags, and head curtain air bags,” Cole points out, “designed to protect attendants in a side impact rollover collision.”

Horton’s new finish was displayed on several ambulances in its booth. Called 3D CF-5.0, the finish is a three-dimensional carbon fiber, five mils thick, that is attached to the aluminum substrate used on the interior and exterior surfaces of the ambulance body. After assembly, the surfaces are coated with a CG Tech 8000 eight-mil-thick film-type material that Cole says “resists scuffing and scratches, is smooth and easy to clean, and can be readily buffed out if it sustains scratch damage.”

Another ambulance Horton displayed at FDIC was a Type 1 model on an International TerraStar 623 that features a series of angled LED lights in the rear door chevrons that can be programmed to flash in any pattern to provide additional lighting safety when the ambulance’s rear doors are open. Cole notes the LED lighting is useful in attracting drivers’ attention, especially in bright daylight.

Horton also exhibited an ambulance built for the Palm Beach (FL) County Fire-Rescue on an International 4400 chassis, carrying a 300-hp MaxxForce DT, Allison EVS 300 transmission, HOPS, and officer’s SCBA; and a Critical Care Transport unit for the Moses Cone (NC) Health Hospital System built with a four-door cab so family members can ride in comfort with a patient during transport. The CCT unit carries its own onboard six-kW generator.

Mobile Hotspot

Road Rescue introduced its new Ultramedic, built on an International TerraStar chassis with 174-inch-long and 96-inch-wide custom box and a 300-hp MaxxForce diesel engine. The rig featured an attendant’s bench on one side of the box’s interior and a CPR seat on the other, headed by a swiveling paramedic’s seat. The curb side of the box has been lowered to allow a second step for easier access, and the rig carries all LED lighting inside and out. It is outfitted with a patient-centric ceiling and central air system, as well as a smart display digital multiplex with LCD screen.

Mark Schwartzbauer, Road Rescue’s inside sales manager, says the other ambulance Road Rescue exhibited was a custom rig built for the Henepin County (MN) Medical Center on a two-person commercial cab featuring a customized console that accommodates multiple laptops and sealed switches for waterproofing. “This ambulance has two forward-facing digital cameras; a removable hard drive; a Whelen Howler siren; a liquid oxygen system; two squad benches; and In Motion, a mobile WiFi hotspot,” Schwartzbauer points out. “It also has an ease of access rear ramp, a heated backboard compartment, and all LED lights.”

Keyed Entry Only

Wheeled Coach displayed several ambulance styles at FDIC, including one custom built for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) on a Dodge D4500 chassis, with four-door crew cab, powered by a Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine and carrying an air conditioning auxiliary condenser on the top front of the box.

Paul Holzapfel, national sales manager for Wheeled Coach, says every door in the FDNY rig is secured by a lock. “If the door is shut, it locks and it requires a key to unlock it,” he notes.

Wheeled Coach also exhibited a Type III ambulance on a Ford E-450 chassis with a 10-inch extended cab and custom all-aluminum modular body. The rig is built on a 150-inch wheelbase with a 14,500 GVWR, carries a 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline engine, and has ducted air conditioning and all LED lighting.

Built for Tight Spaces

It also showed the smallest Wheeled Coach model-146 inches long and 90 inches wide, built on a Dodge D3500 chassis. Holzapfel calls it Wheeled Coach’s Citi Medic Plus model, where the CPR seat is moved toward the rear of the box. The City Medic model is built with four-wheel drive and carries a Cummins 6.7-liter engine.

In addition, Wheeled Coach showed an ambulance built for the Margate-Coconut Creek (FL) Fire-Rescue on a Dodge D4500 chassis with a Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine and HD six-speed automatic transmission. The rig featured a custom seamless all-aluminum body, four five-point seat belt positions, a Firecom communications system, and all LED lights.

Another rig displayed by Wheeled Coach was a Type 1 ambulance on an International TerraStar medium duty chassis with dual action areas in the box, a four-point monitored seat for the paramedic, monitored street and curbside seats, ducted air conditioning, and a double step on the curb-side door.

Other ambulance makers displaying at FDIC included Crestline, which showed its Summit model with a new Aerobody roll cage, 72-inch interior headroom, and 159-inch wheelbase on a Chevy G4500 diesel powered chassis; and Life Line, which displayed its Highliner ambulance with a 171-inch body (available as a walk-through) and 72-inch headroom, as well as its Type 1 in two- and four-wheel drive models, with body lengths from 147 to 171 inches. The Life Line Type 1 is available on Dodge 4500 and 5500 and Ford F-350, F-450, and F-550 chassis.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.

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