A new turbocharged four-wheel-drive (4WD) ambulance with enhanced terrain capability is being trialled by the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) AND Longreach region is one of the areas to try it out.
The vehicle, a new $245,000 Mercedes G Wagon 4WD has undergone extensive upgrades to become a state-of-the-art ambulance and will now undergo a rigorous six-month testing period across a range of operational locations in Queensland including Longreach, Rockhampton, Cairns and Kilcoy, Boonah and sand environments such as Moreton Island.
QAS Deputy Commissioner Dee Taylor-Dutton says the testing regime is vital.
“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.”
“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.”
Key features of the vehicle include a 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel engine and 7 speed automatic transmission with hi/low range capability and three differential locks for enhanced terrain capability.
It also incorporates an improved weight carrying capacity of approximately 600kg allowing the fitting of a new powered Stryker stretcher and loading system which can carry patients up to 318kg and a Stryker stair chair which can safely support patients weighing up to 228kg.
Other features include an integrated air conditioning system, with separate temperature controls to the cab and patient area, the latest electronic screens for the operation of both vehicle and patient care features and safety features such as a Duress Monitoring System and a reversing camera and reversing sensors.