Featherlite medical trailers lead the way in Los Angeles’ mobile medical system
The attacks on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and other recent disasters have further mobilized American cities to place an even higher priority on disaster preparation. Among those leading the way is the county of Los Angeles. It has a fleet of trailers called the Mobile Medical System, or MoMS, capable of treating over 200 patients at a time. At its core are two 53-ft. Featherlite semi trailers.
It's no exaggeration to say the MoMS' Featherlite medical trailers provide all the basic services a hospital can. The main medical trailer is an exam and treatment center where staff can take X-rays, do lab work, take ultrasound and EKG scans, and perform surgery. The trailer contains 12 beds; an awning can be set up around the trailer to provide cover for another 100 beds. Three slide-outs extend the interior working space available for doctors and nurses to 1,000 square feet.
The second trailer is a more standard Featherlite transporter. It contains two main levels and a front lounge. This trailer holds all the equipment needed to set up the main trailer, including beds, chairs, machines, medical supplies, medicine, crash carts and IV pumps and poles. Four people can set up the entire treatment center in only two hours.
In addition to the two Featherlite trailers, the MoMS has four 30-foot trailers that each holds a 25-bed "tent" field hospital. These versatile hospitals can connect to form a 100 patient ward. The MoMS also includes a mobile decontamination trailer, a mobile communications trailer, mobile oxygen concentrators and 50 mobile generators. Since the MoMS has so many vehicles, many of the EMS personnel, including the RNs, have learned how to drive commercial trucks. Many even have their commercial driver's license.
When not in use, the MoMS vehicles wait in a warehouse, where EMS Fleet Manager Dave Lee oversees their maintenance. Currently, the Featherlite trailers have less than 6,000 miles on them. This is a good sign—a disaster serious enough to require their use has yet to take place.
"This is a resource we hope we never have to use for its intended purpose, because if we do, a whole bunch of people are having a really bad day," said Jim Eads, disaster response section chief. "We plan, train and exercise the MoMS so that if we are called we can be as efficient as possible in its deployment and operation."