Escambia County debuted five new Ford Expedition Emergency Medical Services SUVs this week with each vehicle featuring the "Howler" siren.
Each truck comes equipped with different safety features that were not available in the older SUV models, including the Blind Spot Information System (BSIS). The BSIS is designed to help detect vehicles that have entered the driver's blind spot zone using radar sensors.
One of the newest features on the SUVs that citizens will need to be aware of is the "Howler" siren.
"The Whelen Howler is an emergency warning device that emits low frequency tones, especially for intersections and high risk areas," said Escambia County EMS Chief David Torsell III. "The Howler runs in sync with the primary siren, allowing the lower frequency reverberating tones from the Howler to better penetrate other vehicles, alerting drivers to the presence of the oncoming emergency vehicle. In essence, it creates a small vibration that many drivers can detect easier than the high frequency tones of standard emergency sirens."
The five SUVs will be used during both the day shift and night shift. The trucks will be assigned to the EMS Chief, EMS Deputy Chief, Day Supervisors and Night Supervisors. One SUV will be shared by the Escambia County Public Safety Administrative Supervisors.
The new fleet of Ford Expedition SUVs will allow the older SUVs with less mileage to be cycled through other positions throughout Escambia County EMS. This process reduces the possibility of these vehicles being out of service for mechanical repair, especially for long periods, and allows for EMS to maximize the availability of the SUV units by maintaining more vehicles on the road for any given time period.
"These SUVs are emergency EMS vehicles with paramedics on board," said Torsell. "Please be aware that these vehicles, when needed, will be traveling to emergency calls and the same process for yielding to emergency vehicles applies."
Escambia County Public Safety is responsible for keeping citizens safe from emergencies and both man-made and natural disasters. Its divisions include Emergency Communications, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Rescue and Pensacola Beach Lifeguards. For the latest information on emergency management services in Escambia County, residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts on myescambia.com.
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The new Ford Expedition EMS vehicle.
EMS Chief David Torsell III washing one of the new EMS SUVs.