Va. responders get help from the small but mighty 'mini' ambulance

New Medical Rapid Access Transport (MRAT) all-terrain vehicle can reach patients in a crowd or wooded areas, Tidewater EMS says


By Jessie Forand

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A new "mini" ambulance will allow rescue crews in the Chesapeake area to go where they have been unable to go before. 

The Tidewater EMS' Metropolitan Medical Response System's smaller, more agile ambulance made its debut last month. 

Chesapeake Firefighter/Paramedic Shaun McCoy poses with the Medical Rapid Access Transport vehicle in a post from his Facebook page.
Chesapeake Firefighter/Paramedic Shaun McCoy poses with the Medical Rapid Access Transport vehicle in a post from his Facebook page. (Photo/Shawn McCoy)

“It will actually go where an ambulance cannot fit,” Stephanie Hackett, program coordinator for MMRS, told Wavy.com. "Back in trails, back in woods, in rural areas where you can’t typically get a vehicle in there.”

It's called the MRAT - or Medical Rapid Access Transport - unit, and in addition to helping rescuers, it is expected to make appearances at public events and festivals in the area. It comes with a $65,000 price tag, paid for through a grant. Ten units are expected to be deployed throughout Hampton Roads in Virginia. 

The all-terrain vehicle is shorter and narrower than a traditional ambulance but can fit a patient and two medics, plus a driver, Wavy reported. It can provide first aid and act as a transport to more advanced medical care when needed. 

“MRAT could have been used at the shootings in Virginia Beach,” Hackett said. “It can be used for Harbor Fest, Something in the Water, Chesapeake Jubilee. A lot of crowded areas.”

Lt. Jason Coup of the Chesapeake Fire Department said the MRAT might serve to reassure people who are hesitant about entering crowds or wooded areas. 

“I’m hoping that they see this and say, OK, I can go off into these trails and I’m not gonna get dragged out of the trail or carried out of the trail," he said. 

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