HALIFAX – Nova Scotia's new fleet of ambulances will improve safety for paramedics and patients, while creating good jobs at home.
The province has signed an ambulance procurement contract with Tri-Star Industries of Yarmouth to lease 150 state-of-the-art ambulances. The contract also includes a refit after four years.
"When Nova Scotians need an ambulance, they want to know it's well-equipped and safe, both for the patients and the paramedics," said Premier Darrell Dexter. "We've consulted with paramedics, and we've worked with a Nova Scotia company to come up with a redesigned ambulance to provide better care and safety to patients and paramedics, and to support the provincial economy."
The ambulances will feature:
-- a redesigned patient care area with safer seating and will allow paramedics to provide better patient care
-- better infection control with new, easier to maintain, seating and cabinet materials
-- reflective graphics on backs and sides to make ambulances more visible to other drivers, especially when parked at a scene
-- improved manufacturing that will make the ambulances lighter
"As a former paramedic, I know that the patient care area in the ambulance is like the mission control centre, where all the activity between the scene of the incident and the hospital happens," said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. "I can assure you than any investment that enhances our ambulances, and improves safety is crucial."
"Nova Scotia has a world-class emergency-care system and we are proud to build and supply world-class ambulances for the people of Nova Scotia," said Keith Condon, president of Tri-Star Industries. "We have worked with a representative group of paramedics, the ambulance system operator and the Department of Health and Wellness for many months to design this ambulance. This contract will allow expansion of our operations in Yarmouth to go ahead."
The eight-year contract is worth $31.4 million. The new ambulances are expected to be on the road this fall.
"We formed an internal working group, including paramedics and fleet services representatives, to research and provide feedback on this project," said Phil Stewart, EHS logistics manager, and paramedic. "We're proud of the depth and quality of the research and recommendation they put forward. The result is a safer, better-designed patient care area of the ambulance that will enable us to enhance mobile clinical care as well as improve patient and paramedic safety."
Founded in Yarmouth, Tri-Star Industries is a custom vehicle manufacturer specializing in ambulances. The company has supplied its products to 45 countries since it began exporting in 1979.
Last year, the province reduced ambulance fees for Nova Scotians living in licensed long-term care facilities or who have reduced mobility. Some low-income Nova Scotians are also able to have their ambulance fees waived under the new Ambulance Fee Assistance Program, which took effect September 2012.