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Rescue truck

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  • Rescue truck

    My department is looking at purchasing a new light duty rescue truck to run EMS, wrecks, and brush fires. The truck will be loaded with equipment to run any of these calls. It will also be carrying an undetermined amount of water on a skid unit. It will have a full height 12 foot long box. We?re undecided between a dodge or a ford, but our biggest question is between gas or diesel. So if you?re Department has one, give me your suggestion between the two, with supporting reasons of course. I?m looking for any reasons from maintenance costs, general operation, etc.

    We run an average call volume of around 30 calls a week and the truck doesn?t get driven more than 10-15 miles round trip on each.

  • #2
    Regardless of chassis, take it from someone that had two F-550 rescues that were 2003 models - these can and will be seriously overloaded in no time flat once you start adding equipment, especially since you're wanting to carry water. Since you'll be loaded to the max, I'd go with a diesel. Diesels are heavier, but as much as you're wishing to carry, the rig will be too heavy for serious off road work anyway.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program


    • #3
      Indeed, our walk-in light rescue was right on the axle ratings if we had all five seats filled, and we didn't carry hydraulic tools or other such equipment - or any water. Of the three seats in the back, one was right over the axle and one was on either side of that, so theoretically there was no extra weight on the front axle, which was the closer of the two to maxing out.

      You need to sit down with a vendor or two and see what they advise. If they're good, they'll tell you straight up if you'll have problems. If not, they'll tell you that the truck can carry everything you want and 2000 gallons of water, too...
      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


      • #4
        This sounds like a bad idea. It's easy to run EMS calls on a brush truck, or EMS calls on a rescue unit. But as others said, putting all the equipment you need to run a brush truck (including the water tank) and rescue equipment for wrecks is going to increase the weight of the truck significantly. Depending on how much rescue equipment you are going to carry (cutters, spreaders, combitool, pump, cribbing stepchocks, airbags, sawzall, etc), you will find yourself running out of space pretty quickly.

        If you are deadset on getting it, get a diesel engine. . Your going to need the power to pull everything. When you spec it out, I would suggest one side being brush and EMS (with EMS having it's own dedicated equipment in it's own compartment), and the otherside and back being rescue.

        I know several career departments that use mini pumpers as EMS trucks, but once you start putting on all the rescue tools, you find yourself running out of compartment space pretty quickly.
        If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!



        • #5
          I was hoping someone would mention the overloaded problem. It is real and it usually makes the vehicle dangerously underpowered and underbraked. More often underbraked.

          Add to that more maintenance, repairs, cost of tires, brakes, suspension parts that all wear out prematurely.
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate


          • #6

            In regards to engine choice, talk to the people who do your apparatus maintenance, what would they recommend? That may give you your best information.

            A 12' body on a pickup chassis is going to be pretty long. Have you talked with a potential builder about weight ratio's on the front and rear axles? When we were spec'ing out our first rescue truck we were thinking a smaller chassis but realized we may need something larger because we needed a minimum of 12' of storage, without water.

            Has your department decided exactly what they want carried on the apparatus? Until that is done you aren't going to be able to make informed decisions. That may also lead you to a mid sized chassis apparatus. Perhaps a Freightliner or Navistar type chassis would be an option. Of course there are other brands out there. It could still be 'small' enough to get around but 'large' enough to carry what you want and give you a decent ride and handling. Talk with someone who maintains them and see what the cost of ownership is in regards to a heavily loaded pickup chassis. Also keep in mind that this truck will be fully loaded every minute of it's life. That takes a toll on a vehicle that isn't designed for it. I'd suggest going with a chassis that isn't maxed out from day one in regards to weight. That will allow some room for growth and give you a vehicle that will last longer.

            If this truck is going to be running 30 calls a week you'll want to make sure it's set up right, regardless of chassis or size. Build the truck around the equipment you want it to carry and how you want it to operate.

            Not sure what size of crew you are running but some mid sized chassis also offer cab forward type chassis. That would decrease the overall length and give you good maneuverability but you'd have to see if the cab is large enough and practical for firefighters and the gear they carry.

            Good luck,
            Train like you want to fight.


            • #7
              OP how's your research so far?

              Originally posted by npfd801 View Post
              Regardless of chassis, take it from someone that had two F-550 rescues that were 2003 models - these can and will be seriously overloaded in no time flat once you start adding equipment, especially since you're wanting to carry water. Since you'll be loaded to the max, I'd go with a diesel. Diesels are heavier, but as much as you're wishing to carry, the rig will be too heavy for serious off road work anyway.
              A diesel F-550 seems the best option out there when it comes to that kind of job. A close mechanic buddy of mine is working at a tow company. I took my uncle's truck for new tires and centerline wheels installation when I saw him working on a F-550 scheduled maintenance. It is a truly workhorse for it's tow capacity.


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