|Northern Berkshire EMS Gets Three New Ambulances
|06:00PM / Friday, October 13, 2023
|Meaney pointed out some design alterations noting the monitor, radio, and action wall configuration was on the right side of the truck.
|Two of the new ambulances were parked in the new garage while one was out on a call.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire EMS ambulance fleet is finally up to full numbers with the addition of three new ambulances.
"Everybody was patiently waiting," General Manager John Meaney Jr. said. "I say patiently because it was a long time coming."
Meaney said a new group of ambulances was ordered in May but production issues have caused delays. He said there is a chassis shortage, and a post-workforce shortage is causing interruptions in production.
"They went from producing at the factory 50 trucks a year to Like 17," Meaney said. "...So it has been rough getting trucks."
He said Northern Berkshire EMS received a call from Greenwood Emergency Vehicles informing them that they actually had six ambulances en route. Meaney said the trucks are stock units that were put into production two years ago
"So at the time, I told them, 'Oh no, we're good. We're not going to need them,'" Meaney said.
He then called the company manufacturing the ordered trucks to get a status update.
"And he said, 'yeah, there's gonna be another delay… at least another year'," Meany said. "I said wow, I can't wait how long."
Meaney called Greenwood back to see if the ambulances were still available. Luckily there were still three unspoken for.
"I got approval from our board and we snagged all three," he said.
Meaney said the original orders are still in process whenever they are ready. He said Northern Berkshire EMS stagger orders so eventually they will be caught up.
"So there's two, then another two, and then another two. They're spaced out about six months apart," He said. "But if they don't start coming in for another year, year and a half, we're going to need new trucks anyway because the other trucks are going to need to be replaced," he said. "We always try to replace two a year but when COVID hit we couldn't get trucks so it threw our whole rotation off."
Meaney was excited to get the new ambulances in, especially before the winter. He said truck reliability has been a concern which was compounded by having to retire some vehicles without replacements.
"So we lost three trucks, and we've been operating with five trucks, which has been very difficult," he said. "There's been a couple of cases where we've had to borrow a couple of ambulances," he said. "So yeah, it's nice to be back to full complement because we typically have anywhere from four to five trucks on."
Now Northern Berkshire EMS has 8 trucks in its fleet.
Meaney added that with their newly hired full-time mechanic, he hopes that the trucks will be kept in better shape with regular maintenance.
"It will be good to have those other trucks filter in here for preventative maintenance," he said. "And keep the fleet up and running."
Meaney said the new trucks are pretty standard and similar to past models. He did point out some design alterations noting the monitor, radio, and action wall configuration was on the right side of the truck.
"They call this the Medic in Mind design. It allows us to keep the provider seated on this side," Meaney said. "They can stay buckled in so it's safer. So they're not moving from this side to that side to this side, wish is typically what they do."
He said the new trucks have more flexibility, and they can still mount equipment on the left side of the truck if they want to.
Two of the new ambulances were parked in the new garage while one was out on a call. Northern Berkshire EMS purchased the former Don's Service Center across the street from its current headquarters on Harris Street.
Meaney said they are still renovating the 6,000 square feet and at the moment, are working on some exterior improvements.
"We are painting it now, and we're going to replace the front door," he said. "We're actually going to be doing some lighting and hope to get a new sign."