Vashon’s new custom ambulance arrives

Assistant Chief George Brown and maintenance supervisor Brett Kranjcevich show off the new ambulance and its oxygen tank. - Amelia Heagerty/staff photo
Assistant Chief George Brown and maintenance supervisor Brett Kranjcevich show off the new ambulance and its oxygen tank.
— image credit: Amelia Heagerty/staff photo

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue’s new ambulance has brighter lights, room for more patients and a stowage area for firefighters’ gear. It’s 15 years newer than the ambulance it replaces — a mechanical nightmare of a rig that once had to be jumped at a hospital.

The new ambulance arrived two weeks ago and has already been road-tested on several emergency calls, said George Brown, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue’s assistant chief for operations. It’s one of two ambulances housed in Fire Station 55 on Bank Road, and one of four Islandwide.

The ambulance, custom-built with a standard Ford chassis and frame with a Braun Northwest-built transport box, cost $146,000, and King County Medic One paid for the purchase.

The new ambulance was built by Braun Northwest, a company located just 70 miles from Vashon in Centralia. The local company put in the low bid on the project and was awarded the contract to build the ambulance in January.

“The crews are very happy,” Brown said. “It’s a sense of security for them, because it was always a question of what would happen next (with the 1994 ambulance). It sure kept the mechanics busy.”

The new ambulance, though only two inches longer than Station 55’s other aid car, seems much roomier inside. It’s better configured inside than Vashon’s two 2002 ambulances, said fire department maintenance supervisor and mechanic Brett Kranjcevich.

It can fit three patients compared to the other ambulances’ two maximum; there’s more storage space inside, as well as an exterior compartment for firefighters’ gear.

“The layout of the interior makes it much friendlier to house and treat patients,” Kranjcevich said. “It has a different layout and a different feeling.”

Both the inside and outside of the ambulance are equipped with LED lights, which are brighter and better than the halogen lights in the other ambulances, Kranjcevich said.

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