EMS Ambulance 14 Dec 2022
Coming soon: our new MICU road ambulance
Last month, one of our crews took on an eight-hour road trip from Germany to Switzerland.
Usually, that wouldn’t be too remarkable: our long-distance ground ambulances are constantly on the move, speeding patients safely to hospitals, homes and airports across Europe and beyond.
But this one was different. It was one of the first international outings for the latest vehicle in the EMS fleet, a super-size ambulance known as a “MICU”.
What is a “MICU” ambulance?
MICU is short for Mobile Intensive-Care Unit. And that’s a good explanation of what it does. The MICU ambulance is large enough to contain a fully-fledged ICU, but with the capability to travel over long distances. It’s built on the chassis of a Volvo FL, one of the most popular vehicles in the Volvo intercity truck range, with interior seating space for up to four people. The unit itself has been specially put together and fitted out by one of the Netherlands’ leading specialist vehicle builders.
More treatment space
Unlike a regular ambulance, the space inside a MICU is large enough for the stretcher bed to sit centrally within the vehicle. This means the on-board medical crew have 360-degree access to their patient, with a physical ‘walkway’ around the bed. There’s ample room for big, specialized pieces of equipment (see below) to be brought in alongside the patient, along with the doctor or paramedics. The MICU also has more passenger room too. Depending on the number of medics on board, we can take up to three other friends or family members (a regular ambulance can usually only take one).
In terms of inventory, the MICU is more like an overland version of a high-care air ambulance, with capacity for a greater range of specialized intensive-care equipment and medications. We can support patients on full ventilators over long distances, for example, where regular ambulances are more limited in terms of the volume of oxygen they can carry. We also have capacity for multiple Perfusors, a type of syringe infusion pump for patients with complex IV needs. Ultimately, the MICU can transport intensive-care patients who wouldn’t otherwise be able to travel overland to their destinations.
Being built on a larger chassis means the vehicle has even more protection from road vibrations. It has air suspension – plus automated six-gear I-Sync transmission, which is purpose-designed for the frequent stops and starts involved in inner-city travel. The rear of the MICU has a truck-type ramp-lift, to help transfer patients quickly and securely inside. In all, it’s one of the most comfortable forms of overland medical transport possible. Which is no small thing given the distances our ambulances frequently have to cover: like our regular sprinter high care ambulances, MICUs are capable of transporting patients for 2,500km – and even further, if necessary.
The new MICU is currently in its set-up phase, and will be available for full patient transports by early 2023. Watch this space for further announcements.
At a glance: the new MICU ambulance
Range – 2,500km+
Top speed – 130kmh
Capacity – up to 3 passengers
Max load – 12 metric tonnes
Location – Europe
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