OHS Canada Magazine

Nova Scotia upgrades ambulance fleet with ergonomics for paramedics in mind


July 28, 2022
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety ambulance ergonomics nova scotia

(R. Rose/Adobe Stock)

Nova Scotia is buying a new fleet of ambulances that are ergonomically designed for increased safety and efficiency for its paramedics.

It is leasing 146 new ambulances from Tri-Star industries in Yarmouth, N.S. The new vehicles are expected to be on the road next month, it said.

“In an emergency, Nova Scotians want high-quality ambulances that are well-equipped and safe,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “The mix of vehicles is based on call volume and type and will ensure we are using our resources efficiently so Nova Scotians can get the care they need more quickly.”

The ambulances will feature:

  • power loaders and power stretchers to help paramedics lift patients
  • updated interior and exterior lighting for paramedic and patient safety
    redesigned interior cabinets to accommodate upgrades to paramedic equipment; paramedics will also be able to open the cabinets when outside the ambulance for timely access to emergency response kits
  • radio frequency identification (RFID) systems to tag and track paramedic equipment, ensuring items are not left behind at a scene
  • a longer wheelbase and patient compartment for increased paramedic workspace and improved patient comfort
  • rear backup cameras.

The new ambulances were designed with input from paramedics to ensure they are ergonomically designed for increased efficiency and safety.

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Under the agreement with Tri-Star, the Province will also expand the Emergency Health Services (EHS) fleet of patient transfer units and single-paramedic response units. The number of those vehicles is still to be determined.

Patient transfer units provide non-emergency transportation between healthcare facilities for patients who may require a minimal level of care during transport. Maximizing the use of patient transfer units will free up ambulances and paramedics to focus on providing emergency care.

Single-paramedic units respond to low acuity calls where patients are experiencing minor illness, with the paramedic seeing patients in the community. The paramedic will have the patient taken to hospital if necessary. Because ambulances are staffed by two paramedics, the single units free up ambulances and other paramedics to focus on emergency care.

The 10-year contract with Tri-Star is worth $48.8 million.

In 2021, EHS responded to 182,000 calls – an average of 500 per day; about 30 per cent of the calls did not require medical care during transport.

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