With the industrial design firm Brio Innovation, the manufacturer Demers Ambulances has developed a seat that can save lives, including that of the paramedic.
Posted at 11:00 am
On the road, its ergonomics and the articulated arm of its base allow the ambulance paramedic technician to carry out all the maneuvers surrounding the patient on a stretcher, while remaining secured by a four-point seat belt.
In traditional North American ambulances, the paramedic sat on a bench next to the stretcher, restrained by a two-point seat belt that he rarely fastened.
In 2012, Demers Ambulances received a call from Calgary, where they had deplored an ambulance accident in which the technician without a seatbelt had suffered serious injuries.
The Quebec manufacturer then developed a wheelchair system that slid on a rail placed parallel to the stretcher, a device that has become widespread.
But certain peripheral gestures encouraged the paramedic to detach himself on occasion.
The electric ambulance project, launched five years ago in association with Lion Electric, was an opportunity to completely overhaul the interior of the bodywork.
The original goal was: how to achieve that this time, rethinking the position of the equipment and the stretcher, we would create a seat where the paramedic could easily move from head to toe and do his job 100% engaged. It was then that we created our new headquarters.
Alain Brunelle, President of Demers Ambulances
Contrary to the usual procedure, the interior of the passenger compartment was designed before dimensioning the bodywork.
“We started the job saying: let’s forget the concept of the chassis, which was a limiting factor for the position of the stretcher and the paramedic, and let’s start from a blank page”, describes Alain Brunelle.
After interviews, filmed simulations and participation in real interventions with ambulance technicians, the Brio designers proposed a new design for the interior space.
“The exercise was not about the head office at all, but the head office quickly became the heart of innovation,” says Luc Bourgeois, Director of Innovation at Brio.
Instead of to the left and rear of the cabin, the stretcher has been placed in the middle, with a seat on each side.
Mettant à profit leur longue expérience de conception de sièges dans le transport collectif, les véhicules récréatifs et l’aviation, les designers de Brio ont conçu une assise ergonomique, dont la forma de selle permet au technicien de pousser lateralement avec les jambes pour commute.
Between the thighs, a bulge that forms a stop makes it easy to control the movement. “This is what comes to stabilize, which gives the impression that the seat is really glued to the user”, explains Luc Bourgeois.
The designers opted for simple, segmented and slightly angular lines, which convey the product’s innovation and technology.
They have slimmed down the shapes around the backrest, giving it both aesthetic and functional finesse in this cluttered environment.
The four-point seat belt straps wrap around the inside of the seat through two slots under the headrest.
For their part, Demers engineers have developed the aluminum base mechanism, articulated on three interdependent pivots. The seat can thus move in all directions around its central fixing point.
“There is a lot of engineering in the articulated arm, comments Luc Bourgeois. And that’s Demers, for the most part. »
Buttons located on the front of the seat and behind the headrest allow the articulation to be locked and unlocked as needed.
“Of course it is a big challenge, to be sure that it is easy to operate and at the same time safe”, says Alain Brunelle. If there is an impact to the ambulance, the seat must remain in place. »
The device locks itself in the event of an impact. In tests in the United States, it withstood impacts equivalent to almost 23 g.
“It is a novelty in the industry”, emphasizes Alain Brunelle. The paramedics who have seen and tested it are all amazed. »
The electric ambulance the seat will sit on is expected to undergo reliability and certification testing over the summer and fall, and is likely to go into production in early winter.
Seating will be outsourced. “The intention is to do that in Quebec. »
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