A MODERN HOSPITAL ON WHEELS FOR OMAHA, NEB., FIRE SERVICE
Specially Designed Hospital on Standard Truck, Chassis Carries Complete Medical and Rescue Equipment—Has Crew of Three Trained Men
CAPABLE of carrying as many as five accident victims in its spacious compartment, a new hospital on wheels has been placed in service for the Omaha, Neb., Fire Department. Every instrument required by surgeons for emergency operations is part of its equipment, even a government permit to carry narcotics.
The new rescue squad car answers every alarm in Omaha’s downtown district and first alarms to all hotels and hospitals within the city. It functions in cooperation with the Police Department’s ambulances on accident calls. It is equipped with a police radio receiving set.
The squad car is manned by a crew of three firemen: the driver, a helper both trained in first aid methods—and a ranking officer who has been given special medical training.
Omaha business firms and officials made the task of equipping the new rescue car a matter of civic pride. The medical association donated instruments and supplies. Railroads sent heavy hoisting jacks and chains, tools and implements. The result has been a rescue unit which seems bound to attract the attention of other city governments, anxious to keep abreast with the growing need for providing help in traffic accident emergencies and meeting promptly any emergency.
The Omaha City Council purchased the Diamond T 1 1/2-ton truck from a local distributor.
Mounted across the top of the body are six aluminum spotlights of assorted sizes which form a silver crest to the traditional red brilliancy of a regulation Fire Department unit.
These spotlights work from a 5-kw generator run by a Deitweiler power take-off. Two of the lights have 1,000-watt bulbs; two have 500-watt bulbs and two have 250-watt bulbs.
All available space in the body is used. Directly behind the driver’s cab on either side of the compartment are the medical s. On the right, two large cabinets are filled with Fire Department equipment—blankets, hospital bed sheets, etc. On the left are a large drug cabinet and six small medical cabinets.
In one of these small units is a standard hospital size electric sterilizer which operates off the generator. The cabinets contain such necessities as ether masks, abdominal needles, an amputation knife, surgical gowns and masks, to accommodate a working crew of six doctors and nurses. In case of a serious accident involving many persons, the truck can be made a field hospital, with operating table and equipment on hand for a full staff of physicians.
Its equipment includes two tannic acid guns for treating victims of burns. There is an oxygen tent for pneumonia, diphtheria or heart stroke victims, where minutes required rushing a person to the hospital count heavily. A standard inhalator outfit is always on board.
Often before the doctors can go to work, however, there is the problem of reaching the victim. Suppose he is crushed beneath an overturned car. Suppose a drowning person’s body hasn’t come to the surface of the lake or river. Perhaps someone is trapped, injured, in an upper story of a burning building. The rescue car has the answer to all these situations. It has ladders, crowbars, chisels, shovels, wrenches, hacksaws, pipe cutters.
Handiest to reach and most conspicuous from the open doors at the rear are two large acetylene and oxygen gauges for operating a cutting torch. Working from the truck, the crew has a 50-foot radius in which to operate the cutter.
The crew also has a diving helmet as part of its list of accessories. It will allow descent 50 feet below the water’s surface.
In another compartment the truck carries a regulation marine life gun and a 500-foot life line which has several uses on land as well as water.
Three gas masks are standard equipment. Two twenty-ton hydraulic jacks are carried on every run.
Behind the medical cabinets are bodylength cushioned seats along both sides. These may be adjusted to transform the truck into an invalid coach and when cushions in the center aisle of the compartment are raised, five persons may be carried in invalid fashion.
Sealed panel windows allow plenty of natural light in the compartment and there are six electric sockets available for artificial lighting.
Windows at the rear are adjustable. Two electric fans attached to the medical cabinets keep the air circulating. There are four exterior body compartments for equipment and extra tires.