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September 16. 2013 6:26PM

Nashua in the running for free bus-to-ambulance conversion

NASHUA — During a mass casualty event, emergency responders need as many vehicles as possible to transport patients to local hospitals, a task that isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

“Using multiple ambulances is fine, but it is not always convenient,” said Justin Kates, emergency management director for the city of Nashua. “Using something like an AmbuBus can get numerous victims to a hospital in one trip.”

The city of Nashua is in the running to receive a free AmbuBus Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit, which would enable a city transit bus to be transformed into a large medical vehicle capable of assisting wounded individuals during major emergencies.

“Our local first responders — and the first responders around the country — are veritable heroes. But, they need supplies to help them do the best work and save the most lives possible,” Amit Kapoor, president of First Line Technology, said in a statement. “First Line Technology wants to help those heroes by giving one lucky and deserving organization a free AmbuBus kit.”

The city was nominated to win a free conversion kit, and is now one of 25 municipalities in the running for the $35,000 kit, according to Kates. Citizens are being encouraged to submit an online vote as part of the contest.

Electronic voting will conclude on Friday, with the official winner announced on Oct. 1.

“There are a lot of different uses for this kit that would greatly benefit Nashua,” said Kates.

In addition to transporting large numbers of patients to area hospitals, an AmbuBus could also be used during evacuations of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, with plenty of room for people in wheelchairs.

The AmbuBus could also provide a place for firefighters or fire victims to sit in an air-conditioned space until the scene is cleared, said Kates.

He believes that a former city-owned transit bus or even an old school bus could be converted into an AmbuBus if the city wins the contest.

“We are in some very tough competition though,” he said. So far, Nashua has more than 100 votes. Municipalities such as Las Vegas and Galveston, Texas, have around 1,000 votes to date.

According to information provided by Virginia-based First Line Technology, an AmbuBus can carry more than a dozen patients. Currently, there are more than 400 AmbuBuses deployed in about 20 states, according to a news release.

To vote for Nashua’s Emergency Management Department, visit www.AmbuBusGiveaway.com, click on like and select Nashua.

khoughton@newstote.com


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