This online resource page has been added in response to the demand for reliable and practical information about the use of Mercedes Sprinter vans in ambulance operations. Most of these requests have come from American ambulance organisations following the Global EMS Safety Forum webinars over the last few months. Sprinter ambulances are common in Australia, Asia, Europe, Mediteranean countries and South Africa. Canada has a developing market for Sprinter's but their use across the border in the USA is limited by the large number of manufacturers using American sourced cab-chassis and vans. The most common questions from Americans are about the amount of internal space, how do we fit all of our gear inside and then successfully treat the patient in a european sized van? Read on.....
Please note that most Australian ambulance and emergency services use both Mercedes and Volkswagon vans in different sizes across the collective range of models. The ACT Ambulance Service uses only Mercedes Sprinter vans and this webpage reflects the practical day-to-day experience of operational work using the Sprinter.
(Photo courtesy of Dlouhy)
Sprinters in Australia
While Europe has been using Sprinters for many years, the Australian bodybuilders only began to convert Sprinter vans into ambulances about 8 years ago. The changeover followed increasing exhange rate prices for Ford and GMC cab-chassis & spare parts, rising fuel costs, new upgraded national Occupational, Health & Safety (OH&S) regulations and several severe ambulance accidents. These fatal crashes tragically and clearly demonstrated the lack of occupant protection in the 1990's era cab-chassis ambulance conversions.
Mercedes vans incorporate cutting-edge european vehicle technology and safety systems
The conversion of the Sprinter van is both mechanically and electronically complex due to the sophisticated technology engineered into the vehicle by Mercedes. The Australian bodybuilders have been very successful in designing new and adaptive fit-outs to ensure the original vehicle and the final conversion is successfully unified into a safe, ergonomic and high performance ambulance platform. The Australian conversions are in demand and are now being exported overseas in increasing numbers.
(Photo courtesy of ETT)
Different countries equal different solutions!
Meanwhile, the europeans have many years of experience with Sprinters and they continue to develop their own equally successful solutions.
The european work and patient treatment methods differ to those in Australia. One example of this difference is that europeans generally prefer high-roof vans allowing staff to stand-up, while the Australians use low-roof vans to minimise the vehicle height. However, both Australian and european safety standards prohibit the use of side facing seats or squadbenches in ambulances.
(Photo: ACT and NSW ambulances staging at an exercise)
Mercedes Benz to integrate Sprinter commercial vehicle operations into US and Canadian subsiduary
Mercedes Benz USA LLC announced today that it will assume responsibility for the sales, marketing distribution and service of Mercedes Benz and Freigthliner comercial vehicles in the United States. Central to the announcement is the creation of Daimler Vans USA, LLC - located in Montville NJ, a wholly owned subsiduary of Daimler AG. The Dodge Sprinter will be discontinued..... 1 September 2009
This webpage is being assembled with the help of Ashley Manton from ACTAS Operations Support Services (fleet management and procurement). Ashley has substantial vehicle project experience with Sprinter builds for ACTAS. In addition he joins the fleet managers from all other states and territories at national meetings to compare notes. The fleet managers formally consult with the Mercedes design and engineering teams at least once a year to discuss new ideas and to provide feedback. Ashley enjoys a close working relationship with the Australian vehicle builders as well as many of the local and overseas equipment suppliers.