Keeping our ambulances on the road

Keeping our ambulances on the road

Amongst the clinking of tools and the hum of engines, Lawrence Slatter-Buesnel and Michael Salmon work in a team of 14 technicians, dedicated to maintaining the Government’s fleet of vehicles and equipment, from lawn mowers to large road tankers.  

Lawrence, whose role is primarily based at the Ambulance Station, and Michael, who shares his time between the Ambulance Station and the workshop at Bellozanne, provide crucial support to keep our ambulances on the road, ready to save lives.

“We’ve got seven brand new ambulances, so it’s a case of decommissioning and taking apart the old ones so we can fit out the new ones, getting them road-ready for life saving missions. This project happens every seven to eight years which is how often we try to replace them to enhance reliability and help to reduce emissions.”

Lawrence Slatter-Buesnel

Infrastructure and Environment’s Jersey Fleet Management team look after more than 550 vehicles, and around 700 items of equipment such as generators, static engines, and pumps. They recently achieved their 2030 decarbonisation targets well ahead of time, reducing carbon emissions by 66%.

Michael, as an apprentice under Lawrence’s wing who also started out as an apprentice himself, finds job satisfaction in the huge diversity of his work: “You never get bored as you’re never working on the same thing, I really love the variety of learning a lot of different skills. As difficult as it is, I’d take that over being stuck working on the same brand of vehicle every day. You come out of your apprenticeship as a well-rounded technician.”

Michael Salmon

Their roles are not without challenges, with limited resources and a constant stream of vehicles needing attention, time pressure can be intense.

“There are not many ambulances here and sometimes it is really stretched, so it’s crucial that people only call for an ambulance when truly necessary.

“I often see ambulances on the roads that I only just worked on, it makes you proud. Although, they’ve been to my gran a couple times, and I think ‘please just don’t break down now’.”

Their commitment doesn’t stop at the workshop door. Lawrence and Michael, along with rest of the team, ensure the fleet is running smoothly around the clock, 365 days a year.

“These ambulances are running non-stop to do their job, and so are we as a department. We have someone on call every day of the year to support if there’s a problem. If an ambulance breaks down on Christmas Day, we have people who will go straight out.”

Beyond work, Lawrence and Michael share a passion for all things automotive, often spending their weekends tinkering with cars and engines. Their dedication to the craft goes far beyond the workplace, showing a genuine passion for what they do.

With responsibility for maintaining over a thousand vehicles and equipment, from fixing lawn mowers ensuring sports facilities and parks are maintained, to upgrading the emergency vehicles so they can be out dealing with incidents; Lawrence and Michael play a key role in keeping the Island running.

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