Braun Industries is deeply involved in our community, and we always enjoy partnering with other local organizations that are making a difference. We were recently honored to work with the West Central Chapter of the American Red Cross in Van Wert County. Working entirely from private donations, the Red Cross purchased a used Braun Ambulance. Remaining project funds were then spent to upfit the module to create to two separate service areas for clients and firemen, and address other needs particular to Red Cross’ outreach efforts.
Old Red Cross ERV unit on scene.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross in Van Wert County is very unique in the way it provides services. As part of their outreach, they support local fire fighters on scene with an ERV – (emergency response vehicle). Dispatched for support, this unit goes to roughly 21 house fires each year, with an average on scene time of 4.5 hours. From the ERV, the Red Cross conducts casework with victims/clients to provide them assistance. It also serves as a convenient place for fire chiefs to locate families on scene, which is a critical time saver. Once the clients leave the scene, fire fighters use the module interior for rehab, offering them an air conditioned place to cool down in the summer and a nice toasty space to warm up in the winter. The old unit, a 1991 Slope Side Braun, will be taken out of service, but will continue to serve within the Emergency Management Department of Van Wert County.
The “new” ERV was a collaborative effort between the Red Cross and an experienced team of ambulance remount and refurbishment professionals in the Service. Many of the updates made were a direct result of past interactions with clients and the local fire departments and a desire to improve on them. The module interior was modified to create a private, comfortable area for clients and their caseworker to review their immediate needs and provide services. In addition, there is a writing surface for document preparation, glove warmer area for firemen, cup holders at the back of the bench area for drink storage, and a TV with DVD player. In particular, the glove warmer is a welcome addition. In past winter months, firefighters’ gloves would freeze. They can now heat their gloves during rehab periods.
Firefighters using the beverage station on the old Red Cross ERV.
The new emergency response vehicle will take a minimum of four people to operate. In the back of the module, there is a canteen area to serve drinks and hot/cold foods. All food and drinks are donated by local businesses and in the past were served out of the interior of the module. The new, customized built-in backs up to the module doors on the new and improved ERV. When the doors are open, Red Cross volunteers can serve directly from the exterior of the ambulance which will not interrupt client/caseworker interviews. This will be a significant improvement for the Red Cross. In the past, this process could take 1.5 hours due to interruptions; the new layout is expected to reduce interview time by approximately 45 minutes. A TV/DVD combination in the vehicle should also aid in client interviews. Included with children in mind, the entertainment feature should keep them occupied while the caseworker completes interviews with parents and sets up needed services.
“Braun Industries worked hard to understand the needs for the options to help us service the community better,” says Mark Klausing, Disaster Chairman for Van Wert County. “They made helpful suggestions and then took the ball and ran with it.”
“It was enjoyable to work with the Red Cross on the modification on their new ERV unit,” states Jim Lee, Braun Industries Service Specialist managing this project. “It was a challenge to take their ideas and come up with a plan to make it reality. Since we have worked with so many different ambulance services over the years, we have a large information database that we draw from for these types of projects.”
It was our pleasure to work with the Van Wert County chapter of the American Red Cross. We really enjoyed customizing the ambulance to meet their specific needs. We hope it is a welcome addition to the exceptional outreach services they already provide.