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Chesterfield Fire and EMS medical services unit pulls double duty

The 41-foot medical ambulance bus provides on-scene rehab and mass casualty incident response


The medical service unit for the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and EMS Department is a dual-purpose unit that combines on-scene firefighter rehabilitation functions and mass casualty incident response capabilities into one unit.

The MSU is a 2012 Sartin Medical Ambulance Bus with an overall length of just over 41 feet. The department first put the unit into active service in 2012 and it is currently housed in the department’s Fire Station #21.

MCI response and on-scene rehab in one vehicle. (Photo/Lt Jason Elmore, PIO, Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department)

The MSU’s interior seating (each fully equipped with occupant restraint system) can be used for on-scene firefighter rehabilitation inside the unit or for the transport of multiple patients from rehab to a medical facility for further care.

Dual purpose seating. (Photo/Lt Jason Elmore, PIO, Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department)

The MSU is fully air-conditioned and has a fully-stocked refrigerator onboard with water and sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade. It is also stocked with snacks, such as peanut butter crackers for helping to refuel the body after intense work.

Interior view of the MSU, looking forward. (Photo/Lt Jason Elmore, PIO, Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department)
Interior view of the MSU, looking toward rear of unit. (Photo/Lt Jason Elmore, PIO, Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department)

The unit has an awning on the outside to provide shade for emergency workers as well as four forearm-cooling chairs (easily accessible from an exterior compartment beneath of the awning). The unit has a misting fan that can cool the environment under the awning to aid in cooling firefighters during on-scene rehab.

An awning provides shade and cooling during rehab. (Photo/Lt Jason Elmore, PIO, Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department)

For MCI response, the MSU carries many of the same EMS supplies as CFEMS ambulances that can be used to provide care to multiple patients. The MSU has the capacity to transport 10 patients to the hospital that are fully immobilized on a long backboard.

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