New Wilton ambulance in service

WILTON – The town’s new ambulance went into service on Oct. 27. It is on a Ford 450 FWD pick-up chassis purchased from Sugarloaf Ambulance/Rescue Vehicles at a cost of $205,000, approved at Town Meeting in March. The cost is shared by Lyndeborough and Temple.

Service Director Gary Zirpolo said he expects it to be in service for 10 years, until 2024.

New features include a Power Cot Stretcher, a battery-operated hydraulic system that raises and lowers the patient with the touch of a button, reducing lifting, and potential back injuries, by the attendants.

Zirpolo said, “This should help loading patients into the ambulance. Where patients weighing 300 pounds would take three or four providers,” this will require only one.

The interior of the ambulance is a “radical change from previous ambulances. The Medic in Mind layout provides easy access to equipment from a seated position on either side of the vehicle.” Necessary care equipment and function switches are within arm’s reach, allowing attendant to remain seated.

“This should keep our personnel safer while the ambulance is moving,” he said.

The ambulance also has an on-board radio repeater allowing rebroadcast to the provider’s portables, making it easier to reach dispatch or assistance with updates.

There are several places in the three towns where it is not possible to do that with a 5-watt portable radio. The on-board operates at 100 watts.

“This is a safety issue,” Zirpolo said.

The ambulance replaces a 2001 Ford E450 Lifeline Ambulance. Through negotiations with Milford Ambulance Service, their older ambulance was used as the trade-in vehicle, and the Wilton ambulance became Milford’s back-up. Should Wilton need it, it can be borrowed rent-free if it is not being used by Milford.

Zirpolo expressed the thanks of the service staff. “This will allow us to do our job better and keep us safe while doing it.”