Monday, November 22, 2010

Austin ambulances going green

Austin Tx. a progressive city continues moving forward.

EMS officials unveiling units with solar panels that power vehicles' electronics and other equipment

Solar panels will help some of Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services' units cut fuel by about 560 gallons per year.

Nov. 21, 2010 - As they rumble through Austin, several ambulances will soon be outfitted with more than medical tools, loud sirens and flashing red lights.

They're going green with solar panels aboard.

After months of looking for ways to make their fleet more environmentally sensitive, officials with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services will begin using solar energy to more frequently power electronics and other equipment on ambulances during times they once idled in place.

Paramedics will primarily kill the engines of ambulances with solar panels outside hospitals while delivering patients, a process that can take about 30 minutes. Medics have previously kept the engines running to preserve medication temperatures and to maintain the power to equipment.

EMS officials said calculations show the switch will reduce gas consumption by several hundred gallons per unit, save gas money — up to $4,000 a year per ambulance — and decrease emissions.

"It is huge for us and the city as well," Assistant EMS Director James Shamard said. "This is one of those times when we were able to maintain our medical equipment while at the same time do a little better for the environment." {read rest}

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