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Community Donations Finance New Escalon Ambulance Purchase
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Escalon Community Ambulance staff member Mark Bonham poses with the newly purchased 2017 Dodge transit rig, a new model that will become the first out car for emergency services. The purchase was funded through community donations. Marg Jackson/The Times

Truly a community-supported service, Escalon Community Ambulance has taken delivery of a new ambulance that was paid for through local donations. Though not officially in service yet, the new rig is headquartered at the Pitassi – Van Houten Station on Ullrey Avenue.

ECA Chief Vanessa Herrero said the ambulance is designed for both patient comfort and personnel safety. It was designed by a Canadian company out of New Brunswick, Malley, that specializes in ambulances and emergency response units.

“It’s the new Dodge transit, a 2017,” Herrero said of the ambulance rig. “One of the reasons why we went with it is because the patient compartment is set up differently than the everyday ambulance.”

Specifically, there is a technician’s seat as part of the patient compartment, compared to the old bench style seating. That provides for a safer ride for both the ambulance personnel working in the back compartment as well as the patient.

“There’s a work station built in, this is a European-style vehicle,” Herrero added. “It’s very patient friendly, it is roomier.”

Once the ambulance is fully equipped and officially put into service, it will become the ambulance service’s “first out 9-1-1 car,” Herrero said.

The vehicle itself cost about $90,000 and all the funds were raised through donations to Escalon Community Ambulance from community members.

“We appreciate every single one of those dollars,” said Herrero. “That’s huge … we’re a community based ambulance and the community recognizes that; they do everything they can to support us.”

ECA is still waiting on delivery of some equipment to be installed in the new rig but are planning a Saturday, June 9 dedication ceremony, with a brief program scheduled at 10 a.m. at the station on Ullrey Avenue.

Two older units are being taken out of service as the new unit is brought on board.

With the new rig, Herrero said Escalon Community Ambulance will be equipped with a van for BLS, Basic Life Support; three ALS, Advanced Life Support, units and one BLS car.

Again, she reiterated the appreciation ECA personnel have for the members and those in the community that support the service through memorial or other donations.

“They help us continue to do what we do every day,” Herrero said.