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Specially designed ambulance joins the fleet at Johnson County Ambulance Service

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Johnson County Ambulance serviced rolled out a brand new ambulance to it's fleet today, a vehicle designed by the paramedics who will use it every day.

The paramedics apart of the JCAS Safety Committee spent the last 10 months designing the vehicle from the ground up.

It's a unique opportunity for the paramedics who said it's one that'll make their daily duties safer and more efficient.

If you live in Johnson County a new type of emergency siren may soon become the new norm.

The deeper frequency siren is one of the many new features equipped on this custom-built ambulance said Director, Fiona Johnson, "We've got a low-frequency vibration which alerts hearing impaired, people who may have noise-canceling headphones or loud music in their car, they can feel the vibration."

The ambulance also has 360-degree cameras to help maneuver through crowds and intersections, a new light system, and the interior of the workspace was redesigned.

"This is the first time we were afforded employee input in building an ambulance," said Paramedic and JCAS safety committee member, Mike Mothershed.

Seven paramedics were apart of the committee. One of them, Alisia Meader said the best part about the team was that everyone brought in a different perspective.

"Our older ambulance just has seat belts. So most of the paramedics don't wear them because it's uncomfortable, you can't reach your equipment because you're just locked into that seat. These are more vest style so they're more comfortable. You can move to the right and left even move a bit forward to stand up if we need to do patient care," said Paramedic and JCAS safety committee member, Jim Jurgensen.

In comparison, the old ambulances had restrictive seatbelts, like the type you'd find in a school bus. The gear is also spread about the back of the ambulance which means paramedics are oftentimes moving around to access what they need.

"In this case here I have to reach over my patient to get into this drawer to get equipment out," said Mothershed while demonstrating.

"We can reach everything without having to stand up and walk around which is very dangerous if we were in a crash or something like that," said Jurgensen.

The new design and features should make it easier to work on the go.

"It's huge, you know when staff that is not on ambulances ends up designing it, it's not as easy for us to do our jobs," said Meader.

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Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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