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Smithsburg EMS purchases two state-of-the-art SUVs

January 14, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services Chief James Ulrich shows off some of the state-of-the-art features in one of two new Chevrolet Suburban chase vehicles on Monday. The custom-made container in the rear of the vehicles maintain temperature control of medications, therapeutic hypothermia cooler, and equipment for advanced life support.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services officials said they hope the addition of two state-of-the-art vehicles will help improve the service they provide to several communities that span 70 square-miles in two states.

SEMS Chief James Ulrich said Monday that the organization recently bought two 2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 sport-utility vehicles for $65,000 each. He said the purchase of the vehicles was made possible with the help of a $13,000 donation from Pen Mar Development Corp.

“They’ll be good for the next 10 or 15 years,” Ulrich said. “Now we have two modern life-support vehicles that can carry a full complement of equipment.”

The vehicles are stocked with automated CPR machines, temperature controlled compartments for medications and a variety of other life-saving equipment.

Ulrich said the organization saved thousands of dollars on each vehicle by sticking to the basics. The SUVs don’t have leather seats or chrome trim, he said, and SEMS members researched companies that make lights for emergency vehicles to find the best price.

“These are no frills vehicles,” he said. “This isn’t a family SUV. They’re all business.”

SEMS Assistant Chief Garrett Snyder said the organization responds to about 1,200 calls each year in Washington County, Frederick County, Md., and Franklin County, Pa. Some of those calls, he said, involve injured hunters who require a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach.

“For us, in a rural area, it’s been a godsend,” Snyder said.

In the past, SEMS has purchased used vehicles at auctions, he said. The organization spent thousands of dollars maintaining them and couldn’t always count on their reliability. Snyder said an engine blew on one of the company’s vehicles, a 1999 Ford Expedition, when it was responding to a call in 2011.

In addition to the new Suburbans, SEMS has changed its logo and placed it on the doors of each vehicle. The new logo displays, among other things, the rolling hills of Washington County and the Latin motto: “Servare Vitas” — To Save Lives.

He said SEMS also has three ambulances and an older-model SUV.

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