Ambulances prepare for heavy winter

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is kitting its emergency vehicles with cold weather tyres ahead of an expected heavy winter.

The service began fitting the specialised cold weather tyres, manufactured by Michelin, to all its front-line ambulances before winter sets in.

The decision comes after EMAS compared standard tyres with cold weather tyres at a test day at the MIRA test track in Warwickshire (pictured).

Results showed that on a slippery surface, similar to ice and snow, the tyres reduced ambulance braking distances by more than half.

Drivers also reported improvements in traction and steering response.

The replacement programme is set to be complete by mid-November, while the standard tyres removed from vehicles will be put into storage, ready for re-fitting during late March and April 2012.

Steve Farnsworth, EMAS fleet manager, said: “We’ve been interested in using cold weather tyres for some time.

“After seeing the Michelin tyres [Agilis Alpin and Alpin 4 ranges] in action on a test track, there was no doubt about their performance.

“They’re not just a snow and ice tyre, the shorter stopping distance is also very noticeable in the slush and wet. Handling on the dry track in cold weather was impressive too.

“The last couple of winters have seen severe weather conditions across the East Midlands which has put pressure on our service and affects our ability to reach patients quickly.

“We managed to reach patients despite the weather but using cold weather tyres will help us get there a little bit faster and safely.”

Ambulances with the winter tyres will have a special red sticker on.

Source: EMAS