Texas fire department purchases off-road ambulances through state grants
The all-terrain response units will also be used at the 9/11 Memorial Bicycle Ride
By Laura B. Martinez
The Brownsville Herald, Texas
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The Brownsville Fire Department is equipped with some new ambulances that can be used in off-road conditions.
The three all-terrain response units will be able to go into areas standard ambulances are unable to access.
Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon said the off-road ambulances will be used on the hike-and-bike trails, along the border fence, along the river terrain and even Boca Chica Beach.
“Any terrain that can be challenging,” these units can be dispatched to, Sheldon said.
They will also be used during the parades and any downtown event where large crowds gather.
The units were purchased through a $170,933.43 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program. The fire department received them in late July.
Sheldon said the department decided to purchase these emergency vehicles given the growth of the city.
“With a lot of the hike-and-bike trails, a lot of events going on in Brownsville, we were operating with a golf cart for awhile and we just didn’t feel that’s what the citizens deserved. They deserved top of the line treatment from our medical staff,” Sheldon said.
The three vehicles will be stationed at the fire stations located on Military Highway, the Southmost area of town and downtown Brownsville.
Unlike your average all-terrain vehicle, these off-road ambulances include patient compartment for privacy, full-size stretcher, and an attendant bench seat for safe and comfortable transport.
“The have the same capability basically of what an ambulance would have just a very scaled down version,” Sheldon said. “It does have a full stretcher inside and a bench seat where the paramedics can work and they are fully air conditioned.”
“The reason we ordered these styles is because it really provides a lot of patient privacy. Medical emergencies can be a very private movement for some people and we are able to get these people off the public area into a unit” without them having to wait for a standard ambulance or navigate their way through crowded areas, Sheldon said. “We are able to give them that privacy.”
Sheldon said the department utilized the off-road ambulances during the Aug. 16, CycloBia held around the downtown area. The all-terrain response units or off-road ambulances were used to transport people who had been overcome by heat or had suffered a couple of scratches.
“We were able to transport them either to their vehicle or an awaiting ambulance,” Sheldon said.
These all-terrain response units will be used next at the 9/11 Memorial Bicycle Ride scheduled for Sept. 8. The 42-mil ride commemorates the firefighters who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.
“We will be using those along the route to assist during that bicycle route,” Sheldon said.
©2019 The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas)