The Orange County Fire Rescue Department in Florida has invested thousands of dollars in a new ambulance designed for carrying morbidly obese patients. Over the past few years, they've seen an increase in the number of 911 calls to patients weighing more than 500 pounds.
Called "Bariatric One," it comes with a $23,000 lift gate that can pick up 1,100 pounds as well as a stretcher ten inches wider than normal.
The fire rescue, serving Orange County, an area just outside of Orlando, said that a third of all patients taken to the hospital are obese.
"In the past, you'd have to get five, six, seven firefighters to physically lift the patient in. It increases the chance that something could happen to the patient," a fire official said.
"It also greatly increases the chance that something could happen with back injuries within fire services."
With the lift gate, firefighters don't have to worry about lifting extremely heavy patients into the ambulance. The hydraulics will safely place folks into the truck.
It will be used across the city when an overweight person calls for help.
They said it is worth the thousands they paid for it as it will eventually cut down on resources and time.
This isn't the first area to use a bariatric ambulance. Several other places, like Boston, Mass., have purchased the specialized vehicle.
The lift gate is made in Long Beach, Calif.