The West Carrollton Fire Department is a longstanding customer of Horton Ambulance, so when the department needed to replace an aging ambulance, it called on Horton to build its new rig but made a change in the type of ambulance it typically runs—from a Type 3 to a Type 1.
Adam Blake, West Carrollton captain and a member of the truck committee, points out that West Carrollton changed its typical chassis from an International to a Freightliner chassis and also made some changes to the patient module. “When it came to building the box, we wanted to change some things and depart from what we had done in the past,” Blake says. “We were looking to make things easier to get to and had to have increased space to carry turnout gear, tools, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) in an exterior compartment.”
The finished product is a Horton Type 1 ambulance on a 2019 Freightliner M2-174 medium-duty chassis with a pass-through between the cab and module weatherproofed with a bellows connection and a Horton 623 style module. The wheelbase on the rig is 174 inches, overall length is 23 feet 1¾ inches, overall height is 7 feet 11 inches, and patient module length is 14 feet 5 inches.
West Carrollton (OH) Fire Department
Strength: Nine paid full-time and 18 paid part-time fire/EMS personnel, two stations.
Service area: Provides fire suppression, rescue, and emergency medical services to a population of approximately 13,000 residents in 6½ square miles in the city of West Carrollton in Montgomery County.
Other apparatus: 2019 Sutphen 75-foot aerial quint; 2009 KME pumper; 1995 KME Freightliner pumper; utility pickup truck towing two rigid-hull inflatable boats with 30-horsepower Evinrude outboard motors on trailers; 2011 Horton International chassis Type 3 ambulance; and 2007 Horton International chassis Type 3 ambulance.
Jonah Nassmacher, a firefighter/paramedic with West Carrollton and also a member of the truck committee, says Horton moved the electrical and electronics cabinet from the L2 compartment to the top of the L1 compartment over the oxygen tank to make more storage space available. “That freed up room in the L2 compartment so we could store our turnout gear and other tools,” Nassmacher says. “The two SCBA are mounted on a tool board on the back wall and also a halligan, flathead ax, and bolt cutters. The compartment also holds a four-foot pike pole, crash ax, hand lights, and thermal imaging camera.”
1 Horton Ambulance built this Type 1 rig for the West Carrollton (OH) Fire Department on a Freightliner M2-174 medium-duty chassis and a Horton 623 style patient module. (Photos 1-2 courtesy of Horton Ambulance.)
2 The CPR seat on the street side of the patient box was increased to 48 inches wide and fitted with two four-point harnesses.
Nassmacher says that the L3 compartment carries a powered air purifying respirator with a full face piece, flares, and a cooler filled with drinking water and other hydration products. “The R1 compartment is a new one for us, which we didn’t have on our other ambulances,” he points out. “The curb side door was moved forward from its former position just in front of the rear wheel, which made space for the new compartment and allowed more counter space inside the box. In the R1 compartment, we are carrying our CPAP [continuous positive air pressure] bag, a portable vacuum pump, and two EMS bags. In the R2 compartment, we have a backboard, a Reeves stretcher, and a stair chair that stores vertically.”
Horton Type 1 Ambulance for West Carrollton (OH) Fire Department
- Type 1 ambulance on 2019 Freightliner M2 chassis
- Pass-through opening between cab and body with bellows connection
- Vertical exhaust
- One pair of tow eyes recessed in rear riser
- Double-step curbside entry with six-inch drop skirt
- All seating in patient module has four-point seat belt harnesses
- Aluminum interior cabinets
- Whelen LED running board and M9 series scene, warning, and rear load lights
- Whelen LED dome lights in patient module
- ROM DuroLumen LED ceiling fixtures
- Whelen electronic siren
Todd Fitch, the Horton salesperson who sold the ambulance to West Carrollton, says that the fire department incorporated a number of safety innovations into the patient module. “They chose to have tubular and head curtain air bags installed in the side of the attendant seat at the head of the cot and tubular air bags at the side of the CPR seat to protect occupants in case of a rollover,” Fitch notes. “Also, we installed four-point seat belt harnesses at each seat location, giving the medics very good range of motion as well as comfort.”
3 The ambulance carries a Stryker Power Load cot system. [Photos 3-5 courtesy of the West Carrollton (OH) Fire Department.]
4 Horton reconfigured storage spaces on the ambulance for turnout gear, SCBA, and hand tools in the L2 compartment.
5 The interior of the patient module looking toward the rear from the attendant’s seat.
Blake notes that West Carrollton’s changes to the interior of the module include an upgraded lighting package, “because it’s very important to have plenty of light when you’re performing patient care”; a CPR seat on the street side of the module that was extended to 48 inches wide, creating a double seat, with two four-point harnesses; and a single fixed bench seat with a four-point harness on the curb side with storage underneath and an IV tray, sharps container, and trash container next to the seat.
The attendant seat at the head of the cot has a four-point harness and a built-in child safety seat and is able to slide fore and aft but does not rotate, Blake points out. “Instead of a walk-through door from the module to the cab, as we had in the past, we had Horton install a 14- by 14-inch pass-through with a sliding window so we could communicate with the person in the cab. The rubber bellows on the doors would deteriorate at the bottom and have to be replaced, so the smaller pass-through and bellows up higher should correct that issue.” West Carrollton also had Horton install a Stryker Power Load system for the cot, a rear bumper with a 30-inch recess to allow easier patient loading, a Zico oxygen tank electric lift, and a Horton 360-degree camera system plus interior and rear-door cameras.
Fitch says the Type 1 ambulance has Horton’s proprietary Cool Tech four-fan air-conditioning system where the condenser is recessed into the front of the module’s roof. Exterior lighting consists of Whelen running board LED strip lighting, four Whelen M9 series LED scene lights (one on each side, one in front, and one in the rear), Whelen LED warning lights, and two Whelen LED loading lights at the rear. In the interior of the module, Horton installed Whelen LED dome lights and ROM DuraLumen LED ceiling fixtures. The rig also has a Whelen electronic siren.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and 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.