The Chicago Fire Department on Friday rolled out its first ambulance outfitted to transport patients suffering from an infectious disease.
The new equipment is a direct result of the city’s reaction to the worldwide Ebola scare of 2014.
The ambulance features a pressurized plastic tent and an air filtration system powered by a battery with a three-hour charge, according to Assistant Deputy Chief Paul Roszkowski.
The price tag of the pressurized tent — which can be installed in any standard ambulance — is $3,000. The city has one, and has ordered two more. The department eventually wants to have 13 tents, according to fire department spokesman Larry Langford.
Each air filtration unit, battery included, also costs about $3,000.
Once the other two tents are delivered and two more ambulances are equipped, the fire department plans to place them in strategic locations around the city that will allow for the fastest possible response to any neighborhood.
Grant money is being used to buy the tents, Langford said.
In response to the Ebola outbreak, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection in October 2014 launched extra screening at five airports, including O’Hare. But a year later, after screening more than 30,000 travelers for Ebola as they arrived at those airports from West African countries, federal health authorities said they never detected a single case of the often-fatal disease.