A solid investment

Published 9:41 pm Monday, August 4, 2014

Suffolk recently welcomed three new heavyweight members of its Fire and Rescue Department, and, as with all new members of the department, the rookies are liable to be put through their paces in the coming weeks as leadership evaluates them for their ability to perform the hard work of saving lives across the city’s more than 400 square miles.

They will be replacing three veteran workhorses that have aptly put in many hours across many miles and will now receive a deserved rest, having been placed in reserve status. The veterans did fine work of their own, but the rookies, frankly, are just better suited to the job at hand, and it’s time to move on.

Each of those rookies brings more power and more safety to the job, and it’s likely that folks in the department will be lining up for a chance to work with them. But the veterans won’t have their feelings hurt by the shift in allegiance; they’re just ambulances, after all.

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The new ambulances were manufactured by Horton Emergency Vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, and feature a 2014 Ford F450 chassis, patient compartment airbag system, Stryker Power Load stretcher system, additional emergency lighting to include traffic directional bar, and LED patient compartment lighting. They also are the first in the area to include a “Liquid Spring hydraulic ride rear suspension system,” which sounds, at least, like something that will provide more comfort for the patients and emergency medical workers riding in the back of the vehicles.

More power, better safety features and increased comfort are three benefits to upgrading rescue equipment. Another is the chance to save money on repairs for aging, well-used vehicles.

There may well be some sense of nostalgia among rescue workers for the vehicles the three new ambulances will replace. Many of us find ourselves missing our first cars from time to time. But few would be willing to give up the comforts, safety features or reliability we gained when we upgraded.

The city of Suffolk sometimes gets a bad rap on these pages for how officials choose to spend tax dollars. This will not be one of those times. With three new, safer ambulances spread across the city to provide lifesaving services to its residents, Suffolk officials made a solid investment on these three vehicles.