GLOUCESTER — Fire Chief Eric Smith is pleased to share that city officials, members of the public, and local and state legislators gathered today to tour the city’s new ambulance.
The Gloucester Fire Department plans to officially put the ambulance into service this weekend, and gave tours of the vehicle from 10-11 a.m. Tuesday.
Members of the Gloucester Fire Department, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and state Sen. Bruce Tarr attended the event.
The department was able to purchase the new ambulance thanks to an Assistance to Firefighters grant it was awarded this fall from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
A second grant was also awarded this fall to the Gloucester Fire Department to fund the installation of upgraded stretcher loading systems in the city’s remaining three ambulances. As a result, all four of the city’s ambulances, including the new ambulance, which replaces an old and worn vehicle, are equipped with stretcher loading systems.
“I’d like to thank each and every person who played a role in helping our department receive these grants,” Chief Smith said. “It took partnerships and collaboration between our department, the city, our local and federal legislators, and our FEMA representative, Dave Parr, to make it possible for us to purchase this life saving equipment. As a result, patients will be better protected as they’re transported and given emergency medical services, and our EMTs are going to be safer as well. I’d also like to thank Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Rep. Seth Moulton, who were unable to attend today.”
The new stretcher equipment can lift as much as 700 pounds, and automates loading and unloading the stretcher, which provides a safer environment for the patient and protects first responders from injury.
The ambulance, designed by members of the Gloucester Fire Department, aligns with the latest safety standards, which require ambulances to be built so that every item inside is secured to a surface. By securing all moving equipment, everyone inside the vehicle is better protected in the event of a crash.
The outside of the vehicle also features storage compartments that will hold equipment and uniforms that have been contaminated from carcinogens and smoke in the event of a fire. This allows first responders to better protect the interior of the vehicle from contamination, which benefits both the patient and EMTs.
“We have a great team here, and those who worked on this grant did an awesome job,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “Our Fire Department works incredibly hard to provide emergency services of the highest quality to our city. We’re fortunate that FEMA recognized our need and made it possible for us to purchase this equipment to improve and maintain the important work our first responders do each and every day.”
The grants, totaling approximately $467,000, covered the majority of the cost for the new equipment, and the City of Gloucester was responsible for the remaining cost, approximately $46,700.
“This department has grown a lot, in particular in response to advanced life support,” state Sen. Tarr said. “It is a critical function. In terms of the federal grant, these are all public dollars. This is a publicly funded priority. There is no doubt in my mind it will serve us well. Thank you to the Fire Department for all that you do for us every day.”