|Coffin compartments for general equipment storage line the top of the Lansing Fire Department technical rescue trailer.|
|Easy access to equipment stored at the rear of the Lansing Fire Department technical rescue trailer is gained through two large swing-out doors.|
|The Hackney-built technical rescue tractor and trailer is housed in the Lansing (MI) Fire Department but serves nine counties of Michigan Region 1. [Photos courtesy of Lansing (MI) Fire Department.]|
|The Hackney heavy rescue trailer (without tractor) is 42 feet long on a wheelbase of 395 inches.|
A fire department captain credits a group of emergency managers from nine counties in southwestern Michigan with the foresight and tenacity to pursue a technical rescue asset for the region that resulted in the purchase of a custom-built tractor-drawn technical rescue trailer. The nine counties in Michigan’s Region 1 covered by the Hackney technical rescue trailer are Eaton, Ingham, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Shiawassee, Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Clinton counties.
The 42-foot Hackney-built trailer is owned and housed by the Lansing (MI) Fire Department because it’s one of the larger departments in the area. Lansing Captain Dan Kriegbaum says the emergency managers “got together and decided how to make this technical rescue vehicle happen, and then got out of the way and let the people who would run the rig sit down and determine what needed to be on it.” Kriegbaum says it was the better part of two years between when the emergency managers began working on securing a funding source and the delivery of the vehicle in December 2010.
Once the funding source—a grant from the Department of Homeland Security—was secured, responsibility for the technical rescue trailer’s design and specifications was turned over to a working committee of fire officers and firefighters from the Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian Township, and Delta Township Fire Departments. The group worked with Hackney engineers for nearly nine months before settling on a final design.
The technical rescue trailer is hauled by a Spartan Furion tractor with cab seating for four and a command work area. The tractor is powered by a 360-hp Cummins ISC diesel engine, coupled to an Allison 3000 EVS six-speed automatic transmission.
Tractor and trailer together are 772 inches long (64 1⁄3 feet), while the 42-foot trailer itself has a wheelbase of 395 inches carried on a 44,000-pound tandem axle.
Ed Smith, director of sales and marketing for Hackney Inc., says his firm has developed plenty of technical rescue and hazmat trailers, especially after 9/11, but that the group from Michigan had very specific ideas of what it wanted in the unit.
“The technical rescue team gave us a list of what was classified as technical rescue and what needed to be carried and we found a way to accommodate it on the trailer,” Smith says. “There are no walk-in compartments on this technical rescue trailer; it is strictly for carrying the equipment and providing easy access to that equipment.”
Smith points out that an advantage to using a trailer for technical rescue, even one with a long wheelbase instead of a straight truck, is that the trailer can be maneuvered in tighter areas.
Kriegbaum agrees. “We had been working technical rescue out of an old Ryder-style truck pulling a tri-axle trailer,” Kriegbaum says. “There’s no comparison with this rig for maneuverability and what we were using. As big as it seems, we can get our new trailer into much tighter spaces, and we drive it all over town without any problems.”
Kriegbaum notes that the trailer was designed for four primary types of rescue work: building collapse, high-angle, confined-space, and trench.
One of the unusual points of the trailer is its Warn 9,000-pound winch and five anchor points. Hackney designed an anchor point on the front of the tractor cab and two on each side of the trailer to give the technical rescue team the most flexibility in using the winch.
The trailer also has a Stanley hydraulic jackhammer system that includes two 45-pound hammers, a 90-pound hammer, and a 45-pound hammer-drill. The entire unit is mobile and can roll out of a ramp on the officer’s side of the trailer.
“Everything on the trailer is designed in a fashion that it can be moved to wherever we need it,” Kriegbaum notes. “That includes our acetylene torch, the gasoline torch, and the plasma cutter.”
The full length of the trailer roof is lined with coffin compartments that hold general items not used as frequently as other equipment, including 300 feet of hose for hooking up to a sewer vacuum truck for use in a trench to remove soil to effect a rescue, water containers, and extra clothing and boots.
Kriegbaum says that the fire departments involved in the project are pleased with what Hackey developed for them. “Hackney was phenomenal in trying to accommodate our needs,” he says. “If it was possible, they made it happen. We were impressed with them.” The technical rescue trailer has proven its value since its delivery last December.
“Since we’ve had the trailer, we’ve made three trench rescues and, regrettably, two trench recoveries,” Kriegbaum continues. “We’ve also handled a number of building collapses where cars have plowed into buildings. And, some of the team has been deployed for a couple of tornadoes where we have done collapse search and rescue.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.
Lansing (MI) Fire Department Hackney Tech Rescue Trailer
- Spartan Furion tractor
- Cab seating for four with command work area
- Cummins ISC 360-hp diesel engine
- Allison 300 EVS six-speed automatic transmission
- Overall length of tractor and trailer: 772 inches (64 1⁄3 feet)
- Trailer length: 42 feet
- Trailer wheelbase: 395 inches
- Self-contained Stanley wheeled hydraulic unit
- 9,000-pound Warn portable winch
- Harrison 20,000-watt hydraulic generator
- Two 200-foot electric cord reels
- All LED lighting in compartments
- Two Supervac Command light towers
- Removable tripod floodlights
- Four permanently mounted floodlights, two on each side
- 180-cfm air compressor on tractor, PTO-operated, to run two jackhammers simultaneously
- 80 Paratech pneumatic shores
- Assorted plywood and timber
- High-angle rescue equipment
- Trench rescue equipment
- Confined space equipment
- Collapse rescue equipment
Cost without equipment: $430,000
Lansing (MI) Fire Department
Strength: 240 paid firefighters; nine stations; providing fire suppression, specialty rescue response, hazardous materials response, and emergency medical services.
Service area: Lansing Fire Department covers the city of Lansing with a population of 114,000. The technical rescue unit responds throughout nine counties of Michigan’s Region 1 response area.
Other apparatus: Eight engine companies, four truck companies, five medic units, two ATV fire/water rescue units, one squad/hazardous materials vehicle, one air trailer, one mass casualty trailer, and two battalion chiefs.