Ambulance New Brunswick and Dieppe’s Malley Industries are working together to develop a modern ambulance that will eliminate many of the problems paramedics have had for years.
Ambulance New Brunswick, the Crown corporation that runs the province’s ambulance system, will start replacing its 134 ambulances in the spring and it will be relying on the new vehicles that will be rolling out of Malley’s Dieppe facility.
When it came time to replace the province’s aging ambulances, paramedics had many thoughts on how the new vehicles should be designed.
Jean-Marc Dugas, a paramedic and manager of safety programs with Ambulance New Brunswick, has been getting into cramped ambulances for several decades.
“So some of the features we're looking at in terms of the ambulance design have to do is the amount of space we have to work in the ambulance,” he said.
Steen Gunderson, the general manager of Malley Industries, said the Dodge ProMaster Ambulance is double the size of the current ambulance.
Gunderson said it is a European style ambulance and the first of its kind in North America.
And to get things right, Malley Industries got input from more than 1,000 paramedics.
“Over the last five years we've really sort of spent more time reaching out and it takes a little longer to do this but, you know, you get the opportunity to get it right rather than learning by the mistakes, which is the other way of doing it,” he said.
Many paramedics, such as Dugas, complained about the lack of room to work in the existing fleet of ambulances.
Gunderson said the new model will make working much easier for paramedics.
“Enormous amount of space, you can be six-foot-four and standing up in this vehicle, which you're not able to do with another one,” he said.
Malley took all the feedback from the paramedics and made other changes, such as a seat that can move with easy access to an expandable working table.
The ambulance’s interior is made up of more flexible plastics and a board can be placed on top of the stretcher for bariatric patients.
Ambulance New Brunswick is testing two different models to gain more feedback from paramedics working in the field.
“As it's being used if we notice something that should be changed we bring it back and we change it,” Dugas said.
Malley will start manufacturing at least 50 of the new ambulances a year.
Gunderson said two of the ambulances have already been sold in the United States.