On the heels of a contract extension between rural metro ambulance and the City of Rochester, Rural Metro has unveiled a new fleet of ambulances. There are 22 new ambulances, each cost $70,000 and $40,000 to equip. Rural Metro makes most of its calls in the City of Rochester.
“About a 150 on an average day...we've seen it as high as 200,” says Brian Bartolick, a paramedic and shift manager at Rural Metro, “some of the alleys around the area are real narrow and I've just recently been to a patient on one of the alleys where we had to get through pretty tight access because of double-parked vehicles.”
The narrow streets of some of Rochester’s inner city areas can slow down a traditional ambulance response time, however, the new fleet may help improve performance. The new, “Wheeled Coach Crusader Plus” models are significantly smaller than the older rigs used by Rural Metro.
“It allows us to sit and be right with the patient and also the small design allows us to navigate the streets,” says Bartolick.
“Because of their size, they're lighter and they burn less fuel,” says Barry Palatas, VP of New York Operations for Rural Metro,” we've actually been attempting to upgrade the fleet over the past couple of years.”
The new fleet is not only greener, it has extra lights on top for better visibility to motorists as well as new safety features for both paramedics and patients.
“A pediatric patient can be strapped in just as the law states for your personal vehicle,” says Bartolick, “if it were to roll over, it would be very easy to take care of the patient properly strapped in, this gurney doesn't go anywhere and the paramedic would be equally safe.“
Rural Metro's contract with the City of Rochester has been extended to March 31st. After nearly 20 years, the city is considering ending Rural Metro's service due to slow response times and lack of technology upgrades. in addition to the new fleet, Rural Metro tells News 8 it is testing out a new electronic patient records system to add to the ambulances. The system is being tested in other markets and will be added to ours when all the bugs are worked out.