|Acquired by the Museum:||2007|
|Current State:||Fully operational|
This was the first modern "Front Line" ambulance provided for
the First Aid Group and it was purchased with a bequest from the Jacob
family in memory of Lady Jacob. Previously the most common form of
ambulance used by the group was a crew bus type vehicle, with
removable seats or stretchers which doubled up as seats.
It is a Ford Transit 160 chassis/cab (sliding door option) which has
a gross vehicle design weight of 2.64 tonnes, with the ambulance
conversion having been carried out by N. Hanlon Ireland Ltd. The
saloon body is of fibre glass construction, which proved to be very
hard wearing over the 20+ year working life the ambulance enjoyed!
It has a 6 cylinder, 2 litre petrol engine with a 4 speed gearbox and
overall was shown to be a reliable and efficient ambulance
Originally it had been purchased by the Cambridgeshire Ambulance
Service, having been first registered in August 1984. It was very
much an NHS standard design of the time, e.g. a walk through facility
from the cab into the saloon and twin trolley cots (wheeled stretchers).
Standard equipment carried was an orthopaedic scoop stretcher, carry
chair, medical gases (oxygen & entenox), powered aspirator,
splints, basic rescue tools and a good range of first aid items.
Storage space was well provided for, especially by the locker over the
cab for bulky items such as blankets and pillows. An almost full
length shelf over the offside trolley cot allowed carriage of stretcher
poles etc. Saloon heating was via a separate heat exchanger off the
engine cooling system, with a two speed fan. This was very effective
but meant the engine had to be left running all the time the heater
was required to be in operation! Visual & audible warning devices
were provided with twin blue lamps and a two tone klaxon, all of this
equipment being roof mounted.
The design of the vehicle and equipment it carried was very manual and
labour intensive. This was predominantly due to the reliance on crews
moving patients by lifting them on the carry chairs or trolley cots
into and out of the vehicle.
The ambulance was used by the Cambridgeshire Ambulance Service on a
full range of duties especially 999 services until 1991 when it was
sold out of service and eventually came to Woodbridge Centre. For
First Aid Group use it needed to be a very varied work tool, as
equipment such as tents/tables/chairs and boxes of first aid equipment
needed to be transported to duties such as horse shows etc. Very
often the back of the ambulance would be fully occupied by the
equipment and members would travel separately due to the lack of
seating space. However when it was suitable, the First Aiders would
travel as a group in the ambulance. Or at events such as Higham Point
to Point meetings, they would take shelter inside the vehicle between
races to get out of the elements!
It was regularly seen at events in and around East Suffolk (e.g.
Suffolk Showground) and much further afield including numerous
locations for gymkhanas, athletic events, moto-cross and many other
community related meetings. As BRC. Ambulance Aid training developed,
additional equipment was added such as neck collars, long boards for
spinal injury patients and extrication devices for traffic accidents.
In 1999 the East Anglian Ambulance Trust (EAAT) asked the Voluntary
Aid Societies for help in providing ambulances & crews to provide
extra cover during the Millenium celebration period and this developed
into the annual "Winter Pressures" support.
During the 3 year period from winter 1999, this ambulance with its BRC
crews carried out excellent work on top of all the routine commitments,
transferring patients on behalf of the EAAT into hospital often as
"doctors urgent" referrals.
The Ambulance was donated to the Museum in 2007.