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New Orleans EMS Reduces Costs, Pollution With New Ambulance Tech

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

New Orleans Emergency Medical Services on Monday announced it had equipped 16 ambulances with technology aimed at reducing fuel costs and air pollution associated with idling, which ambulances frequently have to do while paramedic crews pick up patients and drop them off at the hospital.

In a statement, the city estimated that it has saved 13,340 gallons of diesel fuel – a cost of nearly $39,000 – since the first ambulance was equipped with the technology in June 2018. The city also said it estimates EMS has reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 147 tons.

The technology uses solar energy and panels so that vital onboard equipment on the ambulances can run on battery power while the vehicles are parked with the engine on – or idling, which wastes fuel and causes emissions that pollute the environment.

Ambulances without the technology in question must idle with the engine on to keep life-support systems on, medicine compartments cooled and telecommunications functioning.

Aside from pollution, idling also increases the frequency at which ambulances require maintenance for wear-and-tear, the city said. Another situation in which ambulances are left idling involves paramedics’ filling out paperwork at the hospital.

“The city and EMS are taking a step in the right direction by deploying (this) technology,” said a statement from Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

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