Super-sized Ambulance Ready In Rapid City
With an AmbuBus conversion kit, a school bus has been given a new job to do this summer. Rapid City firefighter/paramedics can now transport as many as 18 patients at a time with a single vehicle. This super-sized Ambulance Bus (AmbuBus) can transport as many patients as 9 ambulances depending on injuries. A standard ambulance is normally equipped to treat/transport up to 2 patients.
“This AmbuBus has so much potential. Whether it’s transporting patients to a hospital or being used as an efficient triage or first aid station,” said Jason Culberson, EMS Chief of the Rapid City Fire Department. “This will be a great asset for major emergencies and natural disasters.”
The school bus has been leased/loaned from the Rapid City Area School District to Pennington County Emergency Management. “Rapid City Area Schools responded quickly when we asked to use one of their buses for this important job.” said Dustin Willett, Rapid City Pennington County Emergency Management Director. “As the kit was purchased by SD Department of Health, the expense has been minimal aside from the installation time. We are excited about the additional capabilities this bus will give our EMS personnel.”
There are 4 original seats in the back of the bus, but the rest have been removed and it is now equipped with 12 stretchers, stacked in columns on either side. Including the original seating for patients with minor injuries, the AmbuBus can transport up to 26 patients.
Emergency Management along with Rapid City Fire Department are the first to set up and install their AmbuBus, as part of a larger project, spearheaded and funded by the South Dakota Department of Health. According to Andy Klitzke, SD Dept. of Health Region 1 Preparedness Coordinator, “This project creates the capacity to quickly and efficiently move larger numbers of injured persons.” A second AmbuBus kit is located in Sioux Falls.
For now, this AmbuBus will only be set up for use through mid-August to help with potential rally related incidents and other emergencies that could occur during this timeframe. “However,” expressed Willett, “we are exploring the option of making it a permanent asset in our community, ready and set up for use any time of year.”
The media is invited to tour the AmbuBus on Wed, July 1, at 10:30am at the Rapid City Fire Department, 10 Main Street.
# # #