San Luis up­grades am­bu­lance ser­vice

2 new ve­hi­cles added to fleet

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY CESAR NEYOY BAJO EL SOL

SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Hav­ing gained state ap­proval a year ago to pro­vide am­bu­lance ser­vice, this city’s fire de­part­ment has what it says is a full fleet of emer­gency ve­hi­cles ready to re­spond to the med­i­cal needs of res­i­dents.

At a cost of nearly $440,000, the San Luis Fire De­part­ment re­cently added to its fleet two new am­bu­lances, bring­ing the num­ber avail­able to serve the rapidly grow­ing city of more than 30,000 res­i­dents to five.

“The time came when the de­part­ment had to buy am­bu­lances. We be­gan last year pro­vid­ing am­bu­lance ser­vice on our own, and there was one point when we had only a sin­gle am­bu­lance,” said Luis Ce­breros, a fire de­part­ment spokesman.

San Luis pre­vi­ously con­tracted with Ru­ral/Metro Fire De­part­ment and later the city of Somer­ton to pro­vide am­bu­lance ser­vices to San Luis res­i­dents in need of emer­gency ser­vices.

Then in July 2016, the Ari­zona De­part­ment of Health Ser­vices is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of need to San Luis to start its own ser­vice. The fire de­part­ment had one am­bu­lance at that time, but later ac­quired two used ones, bring­ing to three the num­ber in the fleet.

The two new am­bu­lances, un­veiled Wed­nes­day dur­ing a San Luis City Coun­cil meet­ing, come with sev­eral tech­no­log­i­cal up­grades, in­clud­ing a re­mote con­trol that al­lows the driver to change up­com­ing traf­fic lights to green, stop­ping cross traf­fic.

That func­tion, said Ce­breros, is es­sen­tial when the am­bu­lance driver needs to clear a path through heavy traf­fic to reach the hospi­tal.

He added the new am­bu­lances also are equipped with iPads that can be used by the crews to sub­mit elec­tronic reports about pa­tient con­di­tions and to ex­change es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion with other pub­lic safety agen­cies.

Ce­breros said the San Luis Fire De­part­ment as­sumed full re­spon­si­bil­ity of am­bu­lance ser­vice from Somer­ton ear­lier this year, in­clud­ing the func­tion of billing cus­tomers for ser­vice.

With the lat­est ac­qui­si­tions, the fire de­part­ment will keep three am­bu­lances at the ready, with the re­main­ing two kept as backup in the event any of the in­ser­vice am­bu­lances need re­pairs or main­te­nance.

Hav­ing five am­bu­lances as op­posed to three will also al­low the de­part­ment to re­duce the wear and tear on any sin­gle one of the ve­hi­cles, he added.

“We are now fully re­spon­si­ble for am­bu­lance ser­vice in San Luis, and we are shar­ing with the Somer­ton

cov­er­age of the area that is in be­tween the two cities. The de­mand for ser­vice is grow­ing on the east side of San Luis, and we are ready to take care of it,” Ce­breros said.

“We would be ready to have a sub­sta­tion on the east side right now if the city were de­cide to do it. We have enough (ve­hi­cles) and we are hir­ing per­son­nel. What we need are more paramedics, and that de­pends on there be­ing fire­fight­ers who want to get cer­ti­fied.”

He said the de­part­ment is cur­rently re­cruit­ing six fire­fight­ers to re­place those who were hired by other de­part­ments of­fer­ing higher salaries.

Buy this photo at Yu­maSun.com PHOTO BY CESAR NEYOY/BAJO EL SOL

THE SAN LUIS FIRE DE­PART­MENT re­cently un­veiled two new am­bu­lances it says will fully com­ple­ment the fleet of emer­gency ve­hi­cles serv­ing the city.

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