High Point, N.C. – A grant from the Department of Homeland Security has allowed several fire departments in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area to collectively purchase specially-equipped Thomas Built buses to be used as emergency medical vehicles. The Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner® front-engine transit buses are similar to those built for school districts nationwide, but have interiors that can accommodate 20 patients on stretchers and five medical personnel for administering care en route to a hospital.
“In the event of a major medical emergency—whether it’s a subway accident, multi casualty incident, or a terrorist attack—it may be necessary to transport large numbers of victims to the hospital,” said Tom Carr, Fire Chief of the Montgomery County, Md., Fire and Rescue Service, which coordinated the purchase. The buses are for several National Capital Region jurisdictions and were procured using funds from Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative. “While an ambulance can handle one or possibly two patients, these specially outfitted buses will increase the region’s transport capability allowing each vehicle to accommodate up to 20 victims at a time.”
The interior of each bus features wall-mounted cots stacked three levels high, oxygen stations for each patient, a fold-out ramp at the rear of the bus for loading stretchers, and an under-floor generator for powering medical equipment and roof top air-conditioning units. Emergency lights and sirens have been added to the exterior of the buses which are painted in the colors of each jurisdiction’s fire department.
The seven buses were purchased from American Bus Sales in Annapolis, Md., and interior conversions were completed by Sartin Services of Archdale, N.C. The buses were delivered in March to fire departments in the National Capital Region, including the District of Columbia; Arlington County, Va.; Fairfax County, Va.; Loudoun County, Va.; Montgomery County, Md.; and Prince George’s County, Md.
Jim Martin, commercial account manager for American Bus Sales, said the interior configuration is certainly unique. He knows of only one other Thomas bus configured similarly, an emergency medical ambulance bus built for Hilton Head, S.C. Coordinating for the National Capital Region’s fire departments, a Montgomery County design team used the Hilton Head model when spec’ing the vehicles.
“Our county school system, which is one of the largest school systems in the United States, uses Thomas Built buses and they had good things to say about both Thomas Built and American Bus Sales,” added Chief Carr.
“Every day our buses are trusted to transport millions of school children and we are extremely pleased that these governmental agencies have selected Thomas buses for their emergency medical transportation needs,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses.
With more than 90 years in business, Thomas Built Buses (www.thomasbus.com) is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused entirely on delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America.
Thomas Built Buses is a member of Freightliner LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Freightliner LLC produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.