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Fire Department Goes Mini for Large Events

By Cody Kitaura/Dateline on June 5, 2018 in University

The UC Davis Fire Department has a new way to squeeze through campus crowds on its way to medical emergencies: a pint-sized ambulance.

The six-wheeled, all-wheel-drive utility vehicle is roughly the size of a Mini Cooper but can carry EMTs and a patient on a full-sized cot through tight spaces or even off-road.

The vehicle, a MedStat ASAP MS250, will be used mostly for large events, Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht said.

“Many of the events on campus have thousands of people and we don't want to be driving large firetrucks and ambulances through big crowds of pedestrians and bicyclists,” he said. “The MedStat ASAP quickly, easily and safely gets to emergencies in crowded situations that other vehicles can't.”

Traditional ambulances will still be required; Trauernicht envisions using the smaller MedStat to maneuver through a crowd and move a patient to a more open area where a full-size ambulance is waiting.

The MedStat vehicle, which is built on the chassis of a Polaris Ranger utility vehicle and has a top speed of 40 miles per hour, got its first use responding to calls on Picnic Day. Trauernicht said it will be the vehicle of choice for EMT standbys, situations where the department sends EMTs — previously in SUVs — to large events like football games or concerts, just in case of a medical emergency.

The fire chief said the MedStat ambulance has already brought one surprise: A large amount of interest from onlookers.

“It gets a lot of looks and even more people asking questions about it,” Trauernicht said. “Most are surprised when the rear roll-up door reveals that it is an ambulance.”

As a result, it's already doing double-duty as a visual aid for outreach events like this week's focus on CPR, much like the campus Police Department’s brightly painted Polaris Slingshot three-wheel motorcycle, a roaming campaign against distracted driving.

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