PAWTUCKET — Two gleaming new rescue vehicles will go into service this week, joining the new Engine 2 which made its debut earlier this month.
They will be the first city rescues to feature a state of the art EMS computer system allowing crews to file online reports upon completion of their patient care runs, allowing for faster filing and making paper reports a thing of the past. They also join the new Engine 2, which went into service last month, as marking major improvements in front line equipment for the department.
"These rescues are not arriving a moment too soon because the ones they're replacing have been needing more repairs due to the demanding use they get every day," Fire Chief William Sisson said. "They are a major upgrade that will allow our department to provide the best of emergency care and transport in the most secure fashion and we're pleased to welcome them aboard."
The new rescues are bigger and heavier than the ones they are replacing, with improved safety features including crash protection air bags in the patient compartment as well as up front. They also feature automatic tire chains for snow and ice traction and an air ride system.
The two rescues were priced equally for a total cost of $403,171. Sisson said the department in 2012 performed 11,191 total EMS runs within Pawtucket and another 536 on mutual aid.
"Our city still has financial challenges but we continue to make the commitment, within the financial resources we work hard to assemble, to reinvest in areas like our Fire Department that provide the public safety and other services our residents rely on," Mayor Donald R. Grebien said.
Sisson said an approximately 12-month process is typically required to research top available rescue equipment, including input from firefighters, leading to a bid process resulting in the vendor chosen by the city.
Sisson said the city was fortunate to find vehicles that fit the bill in the dealer's stock, which were then customized with radios and other equipment and then inspected and licensed by the state Department of Health.
“The city gets plenty of use from its rescue vehicles while making more than 11,000 rescue runs a year,” Sisson said. “So they are constantly being used and there is a lot of wear and tear on our vehicles.”
The new rescues, each on a 2013 International Terrastar chassis with a Horton rescue body, are stenciled as Rescue 1, assigned to the West Avenue fire station, and Rescue 2, assigned to the Cottage Street fire station.
The chief said the rescues should be in the city on Thursday. “We hope to get them up and running by Friday,” he said.
Firefighters assigned to the rescues have Firefighter/EMT-Cardiac and Firefighter/Paramedic certification. They are trained in CPR for health care providers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and other specialized skills.
Sisson said the 2009 rescues being replaced will receive the mechanical repairs needed to maintain them on back-up status for use on an as-needed basis.
— Douglas Hadden and Joe Nadeau contributed to this report.