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Ambulance district practices preparedness

The county’s new Major Incident Response Unit is a clinic on wheels.

St. Charles County paramedics have two new assets ready to roll in the event of a large-scale incident – a 22-passenger AmbuBus and a multi-functional Major Incident Response Unit. Both vehicles are fully outfitted and ready to respond to incidents in the St. Louis region and beyond.

The district’s Major Incident Response Unit utilizes a recreational vehicle [RV] platform with slide-out walls to provide four patient care areas, providing a high degree of versatility for a variety of incidents.

“The unit can be used as a mobile clinic, a resource for mass casualty incidents, and provide rehabilitation care for first responders on extended emergency scenes such as multiple-alarm fires and Hazmat situations,” said St. Charles County Ambulance District Deputy Chief of Special Operations & Logistics Jeremey Hollrah. “The setup gives our team an area out of the elements to safely provide rehab and medical surveillance for our colleagues before placing them back into action.”

Used in situations where there are multiple patients requiring transport, the AmbuBus will be stocked with trauma and airway supplies at all times, and can be outfitted with additional equipment depending on the specific needs of the incident.

The AmbuBus is capable of carrying 12 patients on stretchers with seating for 10 additional passengers.

Examples of incidents where the unit may be utilized would be a serious collision involving a school bus, or evacuation of a hospital or long-term care facility following a serious weather event.

“The bus used for the project was lightly used by the United States Air Force, and was acquired by SCCAD late last year. The AmbuBus conversion kit was purchased via a grant from the St. Louis Area Regional Response System [STARRS],” said Jim Fingerhut, SCCAD Deputy Chief and Co-Chair of the STARRS EMS Committee.

Though they will be housed in St. Charles County, the AmbuBus and Major Incident Unit are available for incidents that occur throughout the St. Louis region and beyond thanks to mutual aid agreements already in place. SCCAD is an active participant in regional disaster planning and has sent resources to numerous regional, state and federal disaster situations, including the Joplin, Missouri, tornado and Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

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