The King County Fire District No. 28, Enumclaw Fire Department, is ready to roll out its latest aid car.
The fleet addition is roomy inside and filled with features designed for patient and firefighter safety, including a power cot, which, through a power-lift function, can handle a load up to 700 pounds. The old system maxed out at 450 pounds. The lift system means firefighters are hefting and lifting patients up and down for transport, Chief Joe Clow said.
“There’s less wear and tear on our firefighters,” he said.
The department purchased two power cots at $10,000 apiece. Both were purchased with donated money, Clow said, noting the first purchase was possible through donations the department receives from memorials. The second came from a $10,000 Fireman’s Fund Insurance Grant.
The grant was initiated by Jill Vaitkus who works for Propel Insurance in Gig Harbor. Through her company, she was able to choose a department to receive the grant.
“She picked us because her husband Darius volunteers here,” Clow said.
The longer aid car is outfitted with an attendant chair, which provides emergency personnel a stable ride while working on patients; a child seat; backup camera; and a stair chair to help firefighters transport patients up and down stairways more safely.
Cosmetically, the aid car looks a bit different from the others in the fleet with Chevron striping and black reflective tape, all to National Firefighter Protection Agency standards.
Capt. Greg Schipper said the department was able to have the graphics and radio work done locally.
The aid car will be the third in the department’s fleet and a much-needed addition, Clow and Schipper said.
Last year, Enumclaw recorded 900 transports and 1,500 aid calls.
Schipper said 90 percent of the department’s calls are local, for basic life-support transportation; 4 percent go to Good Samaritan, another 4 percent go to Auburn and the remainder head to other facilities.
In July, following the annexation of the city into District 28, the department began transporting patients. Prior to the annexation, patients were transported only if an ambulance was too far away or was out of service.
Enumclaw transports 911 patients. Schipper said since starting in July, there have been transports to Tacoma General, Harborview, Valley General and Children’s Hospital.
“Because we’re transporting, we felt it was important to have three transport vehicles. A lot of times were running two calls at one time,” Schipper said.
Of its three aid cars, two will be housed at the downtown Enumclaw station, with the other at Station 2 in Cumberland, where there is now a resident program.
The fire department purchase also appears to be a fiscal bargain.
Fire commissioners approved financing and allocated $150,000 through the capital fund during the annexation.
The chief and commissioners found a demonstration model and pounced on it, saving themselves $50,000, purchasing the 2010 Ford E 450 for $108,000.