2006-02-11 / Top News

New Ambulance Provides Storage, Sanitized Interior

By Karen Gould

Inside of the Island’s new ambulance with Emergency Medical Technicians Alan Burt, Rick Linn, Christine Roguska, and Sam Barnwell. (Photograph by Scott Roguska) Inside of the Island’s new ambulance with Emergency Medical Technicians Alan Burt, Rick Linn, Christine Roguska, and Sam Barnwell. (Photograph by Scott Roguska) The design of Mackinac Island’s new $75,000 ambulance offers more storage space and a cleaner, safer environment for caregivers and patients. Equipment such as the heart monitor, which used to be stored on the floor, now has a cabinet. Many cracks and crevices have been eliminated, reducing places for germs to hide and making surfaces easier to disinfect.

“There’s a place for everything,” said Island Emergency Medical Technician Rick Linn.

The new ambulance arrived on Mackinac Island Friday, December 16, replacing a 1988 vehicle and allowing the ambulance corps to incorporate more modern technology into its emergency medical program.

The ambulance is built on a Ford E350 chassis and joins five fire and police vehicles in the Island’s emergency fleet.

“The community should be very pleased with their efforts to get a newer, more up-to-date vehicle,” said Mark Wilk, Allied EMS Systems team leader for St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.

The $75,000 needed to purchase the new ambulance was contributed by cottagers and business owners, spearheaded by cottager Mike Young, during a fundraising dinner last July 10, hosted by the Iroquois Hotel.

Mr. Wilk said the old ambulance is out of date and some parts are no longer available. Since it was made, he added, medical procedures and the size, amount, and type of equipment used on ambulances have changed. The new ambulance will carry medications used for allergy and asthma attacks, a defibrillator, and a stair chair, which can be used to carry patients up and down stairs and out of tight spots.

The ambulance corps is able to administer intravenous solutions and use advanced airway kits, and space for these items is incorporated into the new ambulance. In the old ambulance, some of this equipment was stored on the seat or on the floor, Mr. Wilk said.

“That’s dangerous,” he added. “People get hurt that way.”

Mr. Linn agreed, “There are now places to store equipment without compromising the work area.”

The new seats have no pleats, so they are easier to keep clean, and the seamless floor overlaps the cabinet bottom, making it impossible for items and liquids to seep underneath them.

“Little things like that add up,” said Mr. Linn.

The new stair chair is equipped with bulldozer-like tracks, rather than wheels, that span steps for smoother ride down a flight of a stairs.

The new ambulance also has a container for needles and razor blades.

Twenty years ago, things like needle storage and making the floors more sanitary were features not considered in ambulance design, said Mr. Linn. New technology and material and the need for different equipment now dictates the new designs.

“It’s an evolution,” he added.

While the City of Mackinac Island owns the ambulance and other equipment, the ambulance service is operated by Allied EMS Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, under a contract with the city.

The new ambulance is operated by a team of six EMTs that include Pam Lach, Tony Spata, Christine Roguska, Allen Burt, Sam Barnwell, and Rick Linn. Mr. Linn is a paramedic, as is Mr. Wilk.

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