PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Presque Isle hospital has found a way to cut costs and reduce its carbon footprint without reducing the quality of patient care.
The Aroostook Medical Center recently announced it has replaced one of its older diesel ambulances with a new, smaller, gasoline-powered model.
Perry Jackson, manager of Crown Ambulance, said the move will save on fuel and vehicle maintenance and make the ride a little smoother for patients.
“It’s good for both the environment and our patients, and it makes us more efficient,” said Jackson.
The Marque Squad 2 ambulance is smaller than the ambulances used by most Aroostook County-based emergency medical services. It has four tires instead of six and uses less oil than a larger ambulance, but its most environmentally friendly attribute is its fuel efficiency.
“TAMC has been doing many different things to reduce its ecological footprint over the past few years, so this is a natural step for Crown,” added Jackson. “We drive hundreds of thousands of miles each year, so anything we can do to reduce our impact while still providing a high level of care is great.”
The ambulance also incorporates new technology that further improves its efficiency. The emergency lights on the outside of the ambulance are powered by lamps using LED technology. LED lights last longer than the halogen lamps that have been used in ambulances for decades. The Marque Squad 2 is the first vehicle in Crown’s fleet to take advantage of the new energy-saving technology.
The new ambulance will be used for uncomplicated transports to facilities in Bangor, Rockland, Portland and other destinations in the southern and eastern part of Maine. Hospital officials said it is not suited for transporting critically ill patients because there is less space for personnel to work and spread out the large amount of equipment needed to care for those with the most serious medical problems.
According to Jackson, the ambulance will be used for between 120 and 150 transports per year, with each trip averaging 450 miles. The vehicle gets up to 12 miles per gallon, a 40 percent improvement over the diesel models.
Jackson said the hospital expects to save at least $13,000 over the course of a year because of the better fuel efficiency.
The ambulance replaces one of Crown’s nine vehicles used to provide emergency medical care in 14 Aroostook County communities. It is expected to last about five years. The vehicle cost $60,000, which is about half the price of a full-sized diesel-powered ambulance.