Ambulance service gears up for winter
New vehicles arrive to bolster fleet
After battling through one of the toughest winters of modern
times last year, the North East Ambulance Service has drafted in
some new 4x4 Rapid Response vehicles ahead of the coming
Twelve BMW 4x4 estates have been added to the NEAS fleet, and
will be fitted with special tyres to provide improved traction on
snow and ice.
The new vehicles will begin operating this month.
Geoff Craick, Operational Support Manager, said: "Last year the
weather was phenomenally bad. The severe frost and snow made
reaching certain parts of the region very difficult indeed.
However, the awful conditions did provide us with the opportunity
to try some new ways of working.
"The BMWs were selected following a tough evaluation process,
and we are confident they have the specifications required to cope
with a tough winter."
Once again, NEAS vehicles will carry special snow socks, which
can be pulled over the tyres of some fleet vehicles top provide
Arrangements have also been put in place for extra support from
voluntary organisations such as St John's Ambulance Service and The
Red Cross should conditions demand it.
In November 2010 the North East suffered heavy snowfall, with
temperatures plummeting to as low as -16. This left many routes in
a treacherous condition, while snow drifts also hampered
The severe cold weather lasted through until January 2011, with
the Christmas period NEAS's busiest ever.
Emergency incidents dealt with by the North East Ambulance
Service rocketed to unprecedented levels in December 2010- up by
more than 1,000 for the same period the previous year.
The busiest spell was the five hours from 10pm Boxing Day, with
NEAS receiving 1,317 calls. That's 842 more calls than the same
time period in 2009, representing a 177% increase in 999 ambulance