Partnership Transforms Tulsa Transit Bus Into Ambulance

Thursday, June 9th 2011, 4:18 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- EMSA has a new way to take care of a large amount of patients. It means transforming a city bus into a makeshift ambulance.

"It's a structural steel frame that can be assembled to convert any vehicle of opportunity into a stretcher carrier," Jason Croson, with First Line Technology, said.

That's medical speak for turning a Tulsa Transit bus into an ambulance.

"This is, basically, a cooperation between two different companies that have two completely different goals," said Chris Stevens, with EMSA.

MTTA and EMSA have teamed up to provide a way to transport a large number of people during a medical emergency all at once. The device is put together inside any city bus; it's not permanent but can be installed within 90 minutes. It will hold 18 patients and 6 medics.

"This is a specialized system that lets those folks lay down," Stevens said. "This is specifically for non-ambulatory patients, meaning, if they're injured, they're on a backboard, or they're on a road cot and they cannot sit up for various medical reasons."

EMSA said the idea came from a variety of places. There's the massive damage from tornadoes, multi-car pile ups, even the tent collapsed during the 2007 Oktoberfest. It can also help if a hospital needs to be evacuated or to keep a large number of people warm during an intense snow storm.

It's not the first time MTTA and a city agency have worked together. The organization often helps police and fire and now it's ready to help anyone who needs medical attention.

"So this is not that unusual, this is a little next step if you will," Bill Cartwright, with MTTA, said.

The device was paid for with a federal grant. EMSA said it could have retro-fitted a bus into a permanent ambulance, but that would have cost more than a $1 million.