A new ambulance is taking to the streets to serve the patients of Decatur County Memorial Hospital — with state-of-the-art innovations and features to offer the highest-quality care.

“Having this new ambulance is really exciting and a big deal in the community,” said Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Manager Scott Chasteen.

All ambulances are equipped with the supplies and technology found in a standard emergency room so patients can be treated in a similar manner to being in a hospital ER. But there are additional safety features in new ambulances now required by the federal government, including built-in harnesses so emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics taking care of patients are also kept safe within the vehicle.

The new ambulance is also equipped with an automatic loading stretcher, which assists EMS personnel in getting patients into the vehicle once on the stretcher. This eliminates, or significantly decreases, back injuries to EMS caused by the repetitive movements of lifting patients, often in awkward positions.

“While the automatic stretcher is not standard equipment, it is a safety feature Decatur County Memorial Hospital supports to keep staff injury free,” Chasteen said. “It is the goal to eventually have automatic loading stretchers in all our trucks. The EMS team and I are thankful to the Board and hospital leadership for investing the money into keeping our staff and patients safe.”

With the new ambulance, Decatur County Memorial Hospital now has six vehicles to provide service to the Decatur County community.