Tiny ambulance fills big hole in eastern Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho Falls Fire Department has obtained a mini-ambulance for reaching injured patients in difficult locations.

The 2014 MedState MS 500 Off-Road mini-ambulance can hold a patient, two attendants and a driver.

“It’s a valuable asset,” Idaho Falls Councilman Ed Marohn said. “As the city grows, we need the added safety response measures for crowded events.”

The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security paid for the $55,000 ambulance. Mountain View Hospital paid for a $6,000 trailer and $1,500 for decals.

“It was bought primarily for big events like the Fourth of July fireworks, the (Great Snake River Idaho Falls Duck Race) and other instances where we have limited access to roads,” Emergency Medical Services Division Chief Scott Long told the Post Register (http://bit.ly/1hhk72N) in a story Thursday.

The ambulance is about 13 feet long and 7 feet tall. It has a rear roll-up door, air conditioning, emergency lights, a siren, space for storing equipment and a 4,000-watt generator.

“We always get patients somewhere down in the crowds,” Long said. “That’s why we have a bike patrol, but they aren’t able to transport people.”

He said patients transported in the mini-ambulance will be transferred to a full-sized ambulance for the trip to the hospital.

Besides working in crowds, the small ambulance also can travel over terrain that would stop a larger ambulance.

“Last week, we had an incident where a kid was hurt on a four-wheeler,” Long said. “Because of the mud, we couldn’t get an ambulance out to where he was. It took a lot of time and manpower to get him to a hospital. It would have been much easier with a mini-ambulance.”

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