On Monday, members and officers from the Bethel Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) welcomed a new ambulance that was recently purchased through PL Custom Emergancy Vehicles and the New England Fire Equipement and Apparatus company.
Sherri Holmberg, EMS Director at BVFD, said the vehicle was purchased for just more than $164,000 and was paid for through donations and billing - nothing from Bethel taxpayers.
"This new vehicle is modeled after a current one, so that our volunteers don't have to completely relearn how to operate it," she said. "But this new ambulance does come with new features."
Besides being up to code with reflectors and lights, the ambulance includes an oxygen tank lift that makes the heavy tank easier to load and unload.
Also, Holmberg said the siren includes technology that gets drivers' attention through vibrations, as well as through lights and noise.
"It sends out a low frequency that vibrates the car in front of it," she explained. "Drivers today are often very distracted with cell phones or loud music and don't always hear the siren. Now the ambulance driver has a new way of getting their attention just by pushing a button."
While the vehicle is brand new, Holmberg said the BVFD chose a model that was appropriate for its budget and has just the right amount of "bells and whistles."
Last night, representatives from the ambulance companies Chad Newsome and James Wilkinson also spoke to about 15 BVFD EMS volunteers about how to operate, clean and maintain the new vehicle.
Because they have worked together before, Newsome said: "Thank you for choosing us again, we look at the Bethel Volunteer Fire Department as family."
Bethel residents can expect the new amblulance to begin its service within the next several days after it is inspected and approved by the state.