01/24/09 139 W, 7 I - + 14 - 18 More Vintage EMS (Updated)

For your Friday enjoyment, here's some more vintage EMS action. These are circa 1980, give or take a year or two or three on either side. Left to right is Benson, Durham, Garner times two. What's the history of area EMS, outside Wake County? I leave that to readers to recall as desired. Click to enlarge:

From Clayton EMS Asst. Chief Jason Thompson, here are some photos of a Clayton Swab ambulance. This 1979 Chevrolet was utilized as a transport unit until 1999, and for another year or two as a reserve heavy rescue. One of the Swab trademarks is that they were designed for BLS care, he notes. There were windows on each side, and minimal cabinet space. The newer Swab ambulances replaced some of the rear windows with cabinet space. Thanks Jason! Click to enlarge:

Well…the far left picture shows Benson Rescue Squad long time members Billy and Shirley Byrd (also the former, I think owners of Billy Byrd’s Western store in downtown Benson). The unit is a Ford van conversion by National Custom Coaches (no longer in business. They also made a Dodge version that was cut down the middle, and widened by about 18”. CP&L had something similar when Shearron Harris was being built). The side flood lights were a trademark. Note the jump box, patterned after a TV tube caddy. These were ‘the deal’ back ‘in the day’. Cary had some that were designed for EMS during the early 80s. A lot of other agencies simply used a real TV tube caddy. I remember seeing a many of them with RCA or Sylvania on the side.
DJ (Email) - 01/23/09 - 16:16

The third pic shows Eddie Cashwell checking off one of the modular units – probably 871. I seem to remember Schwab (sp?) building some of our ambulances around that time. Things get a little fuzzy with time you know. The interior layout is still very similar to today, isn’t it!
Wayne - 01/24/09 - 01:08

Swab Wagon Co built a bunch of units around Wake County. Wendell had the first (eventually having several), Wake County EMS, Cary (they also had a Swab rescue truck), Wake Forest/North Wake, Knightdale, Zebulon, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, and Clayton. They were popular and they were well built.

In 1994 Anne Arundel County (MD) had several that had been originally purchased in the 70s that were on their third and fourth chassis. And those boxes were in better condition than a lot of the newer units.
DJ (Email) - 01/24/09 - 12:05

Looking at the picture of the Garner unit interior, it is interesting to see some of the stuff- sandbags for head immobilzation, a home-made wooden short backboard, the Motorola MOCOM 70 radio control head, the ‘poison antidote kit’, and the wool army blanket on the cot. Looks like a big MINITOR I on his hip. And check out the big steel E cylinder at the head of the stretcher, probably held in by the single screw in the mounting base.

Wow, how things have changed.
DJ (Email) - 01/24/09 - 12:09

Having started in the Rescue / EMS field in the early 70’s. All I can say is not to knock unless you done it.
rnln (Email) - 01/24/09 - 12:36

Started in the mid 70s…been there…done that…have t-shirt…ball cap…sweat shirt….

SYBM- 24/7/365/33+
DJ (Email) - 01/24/09 - 13:17

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