Vehicle Maintenance Matters
MMR’s Fleet Maintenance Department Helps Provide A Safe Working Environment
To dutifully execute Mobile Medical Response’s performance as an Emergency Medical Service system, copious maintenance is necessary. Our fleet, which started with 24 vehicles serviced by two mechanics, now features 100 vehicles with seven mechanics. It’s a major task to service and monitor the vehicles, but our maintenance team has mastered a process to ensure our mission to maintain exceptional appearance and perform in a safe environment remains intact.
The ambulance crew excels in bringing potential hazards to the attention of our maintenance staff. They are so attuned with how the vehicle operates, they are capable of sensing when something doesn’t feel or look right. Once the maintenance staff is aware of a possible problem, the vehicle is examined to see what happened and if anything potentially needs changing.
The staff knows to treat any problem seriously, whether it’s preventative maintenance or on the level of a critical failure – meaning the ambulance is unable to respond to a call. And it’s the preventative maintenance that helps us cut down on those critical failures. The national average is 1 critical failure for every 50,000 miles. Ours is closer to 300,000 miles – and even then, most of those critical failures are the result of a flat tire.
Each vehicle is serviced at least every 4,000 miles by going through a robust preventative maintenance schedule. These schedules go from A to H, with each one featuring incremental increases in time needed to complete the check-up. Schedule A is the most common and takes about two hours to complete (Schedule H takes three days). Schedule A is replete with numerous inspections where oil level, seat belts, front and rear shocks, axles, and more are checked. It’s an extensive evaluation featuring over 120 checklist items of the vehicle to ensure everything is in working order and continues to be response ready.
Approximately every 300,000 miles – which an ambulance typically hits around the seven-year mark – the vehicle is admitted to our re-chassis shop located in Mt. Pleasant. Here, new life is bestowed to older vehicles, which ends up saving over 40% of the cost of a new one. The procedure includes removing the patient care area from the chassis so the team can remount it on a new one. About 15 vehicles are reproduced each year in our shop.
A long-standing addition to our maintenance endeavors includes a mobile maintenance trailer. Since we serve 14 counties, it became difficult to always get the vehicles in the shop for their preventative maintenance schedule. This mobile operation eradicates that problem by sending a mechanic out on the road each week to different locations to perform evaluations and necessary maintenance. Sending mechanics to the vehicles also makes it convenient for personnel.
We take pride in appearance and put in the essential work for proper vehicle upkeep. It sustains the vehicle’s appearance and functionality and ensures the safety of the crew and passengers.