Island EMS now has an easier way to transport equipment between stations and for special events.

After replacing one of its ambulances with a new one about six months ago, Island EMS has converted the retired vehicle into its first ever support vehicle. It will be used for mainly for transporting equipment. 

"We've done other things, used our own personal vehicles for moving stuff around," said Phillip Pollard, central operations manager with Island EMS. "We do have a few small sport trucks but … you can't get much in them."

Pollard said having a large van available to move things around when needed will be a big help.

Old ambulance decommissioned

It's not uncommon for Island EMS to decommission a truck. Pollard said it usually retires three or four ambulances each year, based on mileage and reliability. He said Island EMS usually sells the decommissioned ambulances, and this is the first time it had converted one into a support vehicle.

It still looks much like an ambulance, but the medical equipment has been removed, as well as the emergency lights. It also now has "fleet support" written on the back and sides.

Island EMS fleet support

The vehicle looks similar to the Island EMS ambulances, but is labelled as a fleet support vehicle. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Pollard said he expects the van will be used fairly frequently, particularly during the summer, when staff are on hand at large events.

"You may see this van on the road quite a bit," said Pollard.

'It fills up pretty quick'

Pollard said the truck will be particularly useful during large events, such as Cavendish Beach Music Festival, where paramedics set up on-site to be available when needed.

"We're always hauling equipment out there, water, you know, medical supplies, equipment. Before sometimes we'd have to make two or three trips," said Pollard.

Phillip Pollard

Phillip Pollard with Island EMS said the amount up equipment the team needs to transport for large events can quickly add up. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

He said the amount of supplies staff have to transport for those large events can quickly add up.

"We bring extra mattresses and stretchers and stuff like that.… Cabinets of containers of medical supplies, like Band-Aids and wraps and you know, cold packs, hot packs. Defibrillators, we bring those out. So you starts adding that all into a vehicle, it fills us pretty quick," said Pollard.

He said Island EMS also plans to purchase a trailer to help with large transports.