A NEW four-wheel-drive ambulance with enhanced terrain capability is being trialed in a bid to provide a safer and more robust response to patients located in difficult areas across Queensland.
The $245,000 Mercedes G Wagon 4WD has undergone extensive upgrades to become a ambulance vehicle, capable of responding in emergency conditions and being a platform to provide emergency pre-hospital care to sick and injured patients.
The vehicle equipped with a 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel engine and seven speed automatic transmission has been designed in line with a standard ambulance fit out with a patient stretcher, paramedic attending seat and key storage for all treatment and response equipment.
It also has enhanced 4WD capabilities including differential locks and a recovery winch and recovery equipment should that be required when officers are responding to incidents off-road.
Queensland Ambulance Service deputy commissioner Dee Taylor-Dutton said the vehicle would undergo a rigorous six-month testing period across a range of operational locations in Queensland including Cairns, Rockhampton, Longreach, Kilcoy, Boonah and sand environments such as Moreton Island.
It’s important we put this vehicle through its paces in the sorts of environments it will be operating in to ensure it is robust enough to meet our requirements.
“It’s important we put this vehicle through its paces in the sorts of environments it will be operating in to ensure it is robust enough to meet our requirements,” Ms Taylor‑Dutton said.
“We want to be sure we can safely reach patients in all types of remote and difficult environments so they can be provided the best possible pre-hospital care.
“The QAS currently has more than 250 4WD stretcher ambulances in our fleet which are used in rural and remote areas where reaching patients can prove challenging.
“Following the testing period the QAS will evaluate the vehicle’s performance and make any required modifications before replacing our current 4WD vehicles.”
Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles, said 4WDs were an integral part of the QAS fleet and modernising them would provide a high degree of confidence when responding to emergencies in rural and remote regions.
“The Palaszczuk government recognises the need to provide our hard-working paramedics with the best equipment available to provide the best care possible,” Dr Miles said.
“This equipment makes ambulance transport safer and more comfortable and provides optimum functionality for both patients and paramedics while meeting both on-road and off-road performance requirements.”