The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services will be receiving a Horton model 603 Ambulance, which will be the first of its kind in the fleet. The ambulance will be on a Ford F550 4-by-4 chassis, which provides a shorter turning radius than a standard ambulance for maneuverability on tight streets and 4-wheel drive to respond during weather emergencies.
The vehicle will also be equipped with a new-to-Howard County technology, the ZeroRPM idle mitigation system. The system will allow the ambulance’s engine to shut off when the vehicle is idling while continuing to power the rest of the ambulance’s systems for up to two hours before restarting the engine to recharge.
Ambulances on average idle an estimated four hours during every eight-hour shift. By allowing the engine to shut off during idling, nearly 7,300 gallons of fuel will be saved during the life of the vehicle. This also reduces the amount of preventative maintenance required and extends the life of the vehicle, saving taxpayers more money while the vehicle is in the fleet. The vehicle is expected to be placed in service in late spring 2019. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this would be the same greenhouse gas pollution reduction as planting 1,681 trees, taking 14 cars off the road for a year, powering 10 single family homes for a year or replacing 2,171 incandescent lamps with LEDs.
The county will also be replacing 72 vehicles to assist the police and sheriff’s departments during the next several months. By restructuring the procurement process and leveraging the buying power of the County for these vehicles, while reducing the amount of post-purchase upfitting, the County was able to save over $600 per vehicle.