Ambulances fitted with winter tyres

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More than 1,000 cold weather tyres will be fitted to ambulances and fast-response cars as the ambulance service gears up to face plummeting temperatures and icy roads.

It’s the second year running East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) has fitted the seasonal tyres to its fleet to ensure that it can still provide emergency care even in the most treacherous driving conditions.

In total 306 ambulances and two-wheel drive fast response vehicles will be fitted with cold weather tyres.

Over the last few years EMAS has also invested in more than 60 four-wheel drive vehicles which do not need to be part of the programme.

Tests on cold weather tyres showed they could reduce ambulances’ braking distances by more than half and allowed for responsive steering and good traction with the road in all conditions – key features for the service which responds to calls every day, every hour, whatever the weather.

Steve Farnsworth, EMAS’ fleet manager, said: “Our ambulances are our treatment centres and when we receive a call we will go to that patient even in the most hazardous conditions. This programme helps to ensure the safety of crews and patients and is just another way we’re working to improve response.”

The programme will cost £80,000 and will see some vehicles fitted with as many as six winter tyres as they have twin wheels at the rear. The process will be completed by the end of November.

To ensure the work is cost-effective, where possible and following rigorous safety checks, cold weather tyres will be re-used from last year.

Tyres currently on vehicles will also receive a safety inspection when removed.