The Saratoga Sun -

SCWEMS gets custom transports


Max Miller

Two new ambulances arrive at the Saratoga ambulance barn March 16.

The Demers MXP 150 may be spacious, luxurious and equipped with state-of-the-art technology - but you probably won't want a ride in one anytime soon.

South Central Wyoming Emergency Medical Service (SCWEMS) recently bought a pair of these rugged new ambulances for $150,000 a piece from their Montreal-based manufacturer, and they arrived in Saratoga March 16. They are expected to go into service by the end of this week (one in Saratoga and one in Hanna), and a tour of their features elicited appreciative oohs and ahhs from first responders in the service.

Having spent over two decades as a paramedic himself, Demers regional sales manager John Scullin knew exactly what problems can be encountered in the field. He peppered his walk-through of the vehicles with anecdotes as well as technical specifications, and clearly enjoyed showing off the fancier bells and whistles on offer.

His audience included Heidi Sifford, SCWEMS ambulance director, Melissa Sikes, the service's treasurer and Casey Starr, the assistant station manager for Saratoga. Youngsters Shane and Bristol Starr were also on hand for the talk – though they were more enamored with the vehicles' flashing lights than they were with its high-tech wizardry.

The vehicle seems to have been designed with Wyoming's harsh environment in mind. Its doors come equipped with retention straps, making them resilient to high wind gusts, and its thick walls make for greater insulation from extreme temperature conditions, Scullin said.

The ambulances also boast advanced heating systems that warm where a patient lies from below. SCWEMS treasurer and emergency medical technician (EMT) Melissa Sikes called this "a big selling point" when she was discussing the MXP 150 with other EMTs.

Because the back of the ambulance is a specially-sealed module, it stays much cleaner than other ambulances, Scullin said. "You can drive 100 miles on a gravel road and there won't be any dirt inside," he bragged.

Adjustable suspension is another bonus in the far reaches of rural Carbon County, Scullin pointed out. The ambulance can ride at 9'4", 9'8", or 9'11," tall, giving it higher clearance for dirt roads, or greater speed in other situations.

Activating "sport mode" makes the suspension more rigid when turning tight corners on mountain roads, the Demers salesman added.

Accoding to Sifford, SCWEMS covers over 5500 square miles, fielding 500 to 700 calls per year. That makes keeping her patient transport vehicles in tip-top condition a priority, and her goal is to only use ambulances that are less than 10 years old.

With the addition of the two new MXP 150s, four older ambulances will be retired, bringing the total number of SCWEMS ambulances in service to seven.


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