NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— A new fleet of emergency vehicles were unveiled Tuesday ( Feb. 7) to be utilized by New Orleans Emergency Medical Services.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell along with Chief Administrative Officer  Gilbert Montaño, Chief of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services Bill Salmeron, Deputy Chief of Special Operations and Logistics Cedric Palmisano and Equipment Maintenance Division Fleet Operations Manager Firmin A. Maurice IV held a press conference to present the 11 brand new units.

The fleet includes:

  • Five additional ambulances
  • Four Sprint Units
  • Two logistic support vans

Officials say a total of nine new ambulances will be ready for use by the start of parades this weekend (Feb. 10-12) and 11 by Mardi Gras day on Feb. 21. The group is only apart of the first batch the city will acquire this year.

The New Orleans Police Department is also expected to receive almost 800 new SUV’s and cruisers.

Cantrell and officials say the current fleet was aging and needed an upgrade as Montaño expressed a great percentage of city employees do most of their work in the vehicles.

“Almost 70 percent of City employees are in vehicles, and it matters immensely that they have upgraded equipment. Since year one of this administration, we have been working to fix our aging fleet, and now with our budget surplus, we are collectively investing $50 million into City equipment with the support of the New Orleans City Council,” said CAO Gilbert Montaño.

Chief Salmeron says EMS workers can not properly do their jobs if there are no vehicle to respond to the emergency calls.

“These additional ambulances and other units will certainly bolster our fleet and get us where we need to be going into parades this weekend.  “Thank you Mayor, CAO and the entire administration and City government for this big win for our city. Public safety is at the top of the Mayor’s mind, every minute of every day; we see your commitment,” said Chief Salmeron.

Mayor Cantrell said the fleet is coming in just at the peak of Carnival season and will be used in their efforts to keep residents and visitors safe. The new line of vehicles will eliminate the city’s need for contracted units from Acadian.

“Public safety has been and will remain our top priority. New Orleans EMS serves as a national model for innovational pre-hospital care as the only ground ambulance service in the State of Louisiana administering blood to trauma patients. These units give EMS personnel top-of-the-line equipment to continue their innovative work to keep our residents and visitors of New Orleans safe. We began looking to improve our City’s fleet as we received the second allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell

The nearly $50 million price tag of the fleet also includes the maintenance and upkeep of the new vehicles giving them the green light to phase out some of the older units.

“We work to support the heroes and first responders that serve the City of New Orleans. With that, we welcome these new vehicles to the fleet and wish them a long service life,” said Maurice IV. “ 

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