The new policy replaces SECAmb’s previous choice of fitting Michelin Agilis Alpin winter tyres all year round – which gave the reassurance of safety in all weathers but required more frequent replacements.
James Nutbrown, SECAmb’s west workshops area manager, explains: “Every aspect of an ambulance’s specification is critical for us, but particularly the tyres... Winter tyres have previously served us well, but you pay the price in the summer months with increased tyre wear.”
Michelin recommended the Agilis CrossClimate: new tyres are being supplied by Tructyre ATS, which fits all new rubber on to spare rims. This enables the SECAmb workshop teams to mount the completed tyre and wheel assemblies on to vehicles as wear dictates.
The first sets to be fitted are already showing improved wear rates, according to the operator, and tread depth readings point to extended replacement intervals. The whole fleet will be on the new tyres within a few weeks.
“You can’t mix summer and winter tyres, so when an ambulance comes in needing a pair of new tyres we’ve been removing all four or six winter fitments and replacing them with a full set of Agilis CrossClimates,” says Nutbrown, “and then we’ve been using up any life left in those tyres on the next vehicle which comes in.
“It’s proven an effective way of ensuring we extract the full performance from the tyres we already have, while introducing the latest generation technology at the same time.”
SECAmb’s fleet comprises Fiat Ducato and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter ambulances, with more than 100 new emergency vehicles added to the fleet within the last 12 months. It has also introduced a specialist new unit of 30 non-emergency transport (NET) ambulances which respond to lower priority calls.
The fleet operates from 33 primary ambulance stations and covers an area of 3,600 square miles across the South East.