Fuel Efficiency In Emergency Response VehiclesPosted by: | Posted on: August 11, 2014
In a recent conversation with a group of emergency medical technicians and paramedics I was discussing how things had changed in their profession in general over the past few years. One thing I learned was that there have been some drastic changes made in many counties when it comes to replacing old ambulances and other emergency response vehicles.
Because of their size they need a lot of power and that has always meant very large fuel guzzling engines. But throughout the UK and the USA there has been a very notable drive towards making fuel efficiency a top priority when it comes to ambulances.
The meeting took place at a fund raiser for Green Peace where a local team of the emergency services department had taken part in, and had raised a significant amount of money. One of the paramedics was a neighbour of mine and I got talking to him and his colleagues. He originally did his Emergency Medical Technician training 25 years ago and has since completed his advanced and paramedic training and is a senior paramedic at his base. Since his original training he said that there have been a lot of medical procedures added that he can now do, but the biggest changes have come in the equipment.
My immediate thought was that changes would really only have been in the actual medical equipment, but this is far from reality. The whole team agreed that there have been huge changes in the vehicles that have improved their handling, navigation, safety and also fuel efficiency. This made the life of the designated driver on each call out a lot easier. Medical emergencies are so diverse in nature, but they all require that EMTs and the ambulance get to the location as quickly and efficiently as possible. Doing so with less fuel definitely helps, and when that comes with added bonus of better handling then it is certainly a win-win situation.
The actual engine have obviously changed and become more advanced and less of a fuel guzzler. But it is more down to the weight of the vehicles coming down that they now require far less fuel. A lot of materials are now made of high tech lightweight stuff like aluminum and carbon fiber. This means that engines can be smaller and less fuel is required. A lot of the medical equipment is now smaller as well, all adding up to savings in weight.
According to the EMTs it would probably still be a long time before we see hybrid or fully electric ambulances, mainly because of reliability issues and the fact that ambulances need to travel quite long distances before they can afford to require refueling through an electricity connection.
But it is great to see that local and national governments are taking proactive steps to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleet vehicles. The more money is invested in the enhancements and improvements the more affordable they will become for al sorts of other vehicles that we are reliant on.