AMED ambulances delayed

Original-equipment AM-FM radios had to be ordered

Radio problems have delayed the availability of three new Mercedes ambulances for AMED, according to the agency’s executive director.

The ambulances, scheduled to be available in August, didn’t arrive until Oct. 13, because conversion specialist Demers Ambulances of Quebec needed to special-order standard, original-equipment AM-FM radios to be installed in the dashboard.

Demers doesn’t keep those original-equipment radios in stock because it normally installs ambulance control panels — with switches for lights and sirens — in the dashboard where the radios usually go in a standard van, then mounts after-market AM-FM radios under the dash, Watters said.

For the current crop of ambulances, AMED ordered the control panels to be mounted on the floor, and asked for original-equipment AM-FM radios in the dashboard, Watters said.

It did so because AMED officials didn’t like the way workers cut up the dashboard to install the control panels in a prior batch of three Mercedes ambulances, Watters said.

While the new ambulances now have AM-FM radios, those radios aren’t operative, because the wires servicing the dashboard are designed for navigation equipment, Watters said.

So AMED is waiting for an adaptor cable to be delivered from Germany, so the radios can be installed by a Mercedes dealer in State College, Watters said.

AM-FM radios are important for ambulance workers, especially on long trips to destinations like Pittsburgh, Watters said.

AMED expects to take delivery on three additional Mercedes ambulances in January — which would bring the number of Mercedes to nine in the agency’s fleet of 13, Watters said in answer to a question from board Chairman Ray Hess.

AMED will get vinyl decals with the AMED logo and other information placed on the new ambulances by a local firm, having endured problems with installation of decals by an out-of-town firm on the first batch, Watters said.

Two of those previous three ambulances had to be decaled three times, he said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.