Case studies

First responders rely on Tipo

specially adapted Fiat Tipo Station Wagon has been used to respond to more than 200 medical emergencies in Buckinghamshire.

The vehicle is being trialled by a group of four volunteers for South Central Ambulance Service whose role it is to attend medical emergencies in their community and provide care until an ambulance arrives.

The community first responders could be dealing with life-threatening emergencies, such as cardiac arrest, stroke, choking or serious blood loss, and therefore need to carry a variety of equipment.

Community first responder Chris Wright, who was instrumental in arranging the loan of the special Tipo from Fiat, says: “It’s ideal because the Tipo has plenty of space in the back. It has to lug around a fair amount of equipment. We have the medical bag, which contains oxygen and all the dressings and masks. We carry Entonox, which is another gas for anaesthetic purposes. We have a burns kit and a maternity kit, as well as hard hats and high-vis jackets.”

The vehicle, which is based at Chalfont Saint Peter’s Ambulance Station, has ambulance livery and lights mounted on the roof. “It’s good visibility for us; you can’t miss the car,” Wright says. The car’s 1.6-litre diesel engine has CO2 emissions of just 98g/km and an official combined fuel economy figure of 76.3mpg.

The car a year ago it has clocked up more than 4,000 miles in its first year and is achieving a real-world fuel economy of 40+ mpg as it can spend time idling and is only used in urban areas.

A separate group of community first responders elsewhere in the county is using Fiat Panda 4X4s. There are three Panda 4X4s in South Buckinghamshire and two in North Buckinghamshire, both of which are used in “fairly rural areas”, according to Chris Wright, so the 4x4 capability has proved ideal.