(TNS) - The City of Wilkes-Barre will soon take delivery of a new ambulance that will make it safer to transport patients with COVID-19.
The shiny, red emergency vehicle, a 2019 Ford Braun Liberty ambulance with a Stryker Power-LOAD system, cost $224,230 and was purchased through the Luzerne County COVID-19 Relief Block Grant Program funded through the federal CARES Act, according to a news release from the city.
The new ambulance will provide a safer environment for both patients and the city's emergency medical responders because it's equipped with the latest antiviral technology to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the patient compartment area, the release states.
The Stryker Power-LOAD ambulance stretcher system allows one emergency medical responder to load a patient into the ambulance rather than two emergency medical responders.
"This is critical because there will be no need to have an emergency medical responder at the head of the stretcher with a patient that may have the COVID-19 virus," the press release states.
Fire Chief Jay Delaney said the city fire department has four ambulances, and the oldest, a 2012 Braun, will be traded in.
"Two (ambulances) are in service and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The other two are equipped with Advanced Life Support equipment. So we have the capacity to have four ambulances in service. There are times when we staff three, like during the snowstorm last week," Delaney said.
All four ambulances are licensed with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Wilkes-Barre Fire Department Emergency Medical Services responds to between 7,000 and 8,000 calls per year, Delaney said.
The city in the press release expressed thanks to state Sen. John Yudichak, I-14, Swoyersville, and Luzerne County Manager David Pedri for their assistance in securing funding for the ambulance purchase.
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