By Alan M. Petrillo
It took about three years from concept to delivery, but Vancouver (Canada) Fire & Rescue Services persevered with the project to get a technical rescue truck built that could handle a combination of several rescue disciplines by itself.
The result is a tandem-rear-axle vehicle built by SVI Trucks on a Spartan Gladiator long four-door (LFD) chassis and cab with a 20-inch raised roof and seating for five firefighters.
|1 Vancouver (Canada) Fire & Rescue Services had SVI Trucks build a technical rescue truck on a Spartan Gladiator long four-door (LFD) chassis and cab with a 20-inch raised roof, seating for five firefighters, and a Command Light tower on top of the cab. (Photos courtesy of SVI Trucks.)|
Tyler Moore, Vancouver’s deputy chief, says that Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services took over technical rescue duties in the city in the mid 1990s. “Then it was mostly rope rescue and confined space, but now it covers high- and low-angle rescue, confined space, trench rescue, and structural collapse,” Moore points out. “We wanted a truck to accommodate those needs and the combination of disciplines as well as to have auto extrication capabilities with cutters, spreaders, and rams.”
Kenneth Lepard, Vancouver’s assistant chief in charge of vehicles, says the department put together a team that laid out what they thought the approximate size of compartments should be on the new truck and also provided an extensive equipment list of what had to be carried. “We wanted to see how vendors would mount all that equipment and knew it was doable based on what other cities have done,” Lepard says. “But, we knew it also would be a challenge because we wanted to carry more.” He adds, “There aren’t a lot of extra vehicle bays in the city, so we tried to combine as much as possible in one truck. It also allows us to have a team cross-staff the vehicle.” Ultimately, he notes, “SVI Trucks came to us with a proposal that was really close to what we wanted, and they got the contract.”
It took three preconstruction meetings, but SVI and the Vancouver team were able to trim some of the items off the equipment list and also improve the crew area of the cab, raise the body, move the Command Light from the body of the truck to the cab, add lumber storage, and shorten the length of the front bumper.
|2 The technical rescue truck is powered by a Cummins 500-hp ISX12 diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission with retarder.|
Lepard says, “SVI provided great computer-aided design drawings to start with, but we had so much equipment on the floor that had to go on the truck that they had a fabricator working with us the whole time to suggest the mounting of tools and how to make them fit.”
Moore says that the department “had a good idea of the equipment that was to be used most frequently, so we made some changes to roll-out and slide-out trays. After our second trip down for the assessment of the truck, we were able to finalize placement of the equipment.”
Bob Sorensen, vice president of SVI Trucks, calls the Vancouver truck “the ultimate technical rescue vehicle because it is so multifunctional.” Sorensen notes that Vancouver has an SVI air/light vehicle in its fleet that gets used a lot, so the department added an air support function to its technical rescue truck to allow them to provide breathing air at fire scenes. The truck has multiple 6,000-psi cascade cylinders for filling self-contained breathing apparatus bottles.
The technical rescue truck has a 258-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 41 feet 2 inches, and an overall height of 11 feet 6 inches. It is powered by a Cummins 500-horsepower (hp) ISX12 diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission with retarder. It carries an Onan 32-kW three-phase power takeoff (PTO) generator, a Command Light CL615A-HQ light tower, two 200-foot electric cable reels, a Bauer BP13 13-cubic-feet-per-minute (cfm) air compressor, two ASME storage bottles, a Bauer CFS5 5.2-M fill station, and two 200-foot 3⁄8-inch low-pressure air hose reels.
|3 The rear of Vancouver’s technical rescue truck has a built-in stairway leading to the top of the rig where coffin compartments for lumber storage and other equipment are located.|
The vehicle’s chassis features six anchor points for a 9,000-pound Warn winch, while the 3⁄8-inch steel front bumper carries a recessed 16,500-pound Warn winch. The rig has four FRC Spectra LED scene lights (two each side) and Whelen 12-volt 900 series Super-LED lights at the sides and the rear.
Lepard points out that most of the equipment on the technical rescue truck is portable, such as the Holmatro battery hydraulic rescue tools and the two Pelican Remote Area LED Lighting Systems. “The Pelicans come in a case and can deploy a six-foot telescoping boom to set up for battery operation anywhere,” he says. “When they are on the apparatus, they are being charged and, when deployed, will give about 10 hours of use.”
He says that the department also added more equipment to the vehicle after it took delivery, including additional struts to supplement the truck’s current inventory of trench panels and Paratech equipment for trench rescue and structural collapse.
|4 The technical rescue truck carries a Bauer CFS5 5.2-M air bottle fill station to allow for refilling breathing air on the scene of an incident.|
Moore points out that Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services upsized its engine fleet and downsized its quints. The department now has 22 Smeal compressed-air foam system (CAFS) engines and 10 Smeal 105-foot aerial ladder quints, each with a 750-tip load rating and rescue adapters at the tip. The department also runs two Smeal 125-foot aerial ladders, a Smeal 105-foot aerial platform, five rescue-engines, three Ford F-550 wildland CAFS engines, and various specialty rescue trucks.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and 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.
|5 Holmatro battery hydraulic rescue tools and hydraulic hose are carried in a slide-out tray on the officer’s side of the vehicle, with a second tray underneath that holds a Holmatro portable power unit and other equipment.|
SVI Trucks Technical Rescue Truck
- Spartan Gladiator long four-door (LFD) chassis and cab with 20-inch raised roof
- All aluminum body
- Electric locking cab and body doors
- Two-way exhaust system
- 258-inch wheelbase
- 41-foot 2-inch overall length
- 11-foot 6-inch overall height
- Cummins 500-hp ISX12 diesel engine
- Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission with retarder
- Onan 32-kW three-phase PTO generator
- Command Light CL615A-HQ light tower
- Two 200-foot electric cable reels
- Bauer BP13 13-cfm air compressor
- Two ASME storage bottles
- Bauer CFS5 5.2-M fill station
- Two 200-foot 3⁄8-inch low-pressure air hose reels
- Six winch anchor points
- 9,000-pound portable winch
- Slide-out, drop-down trays and shelves
- Slide-out tool boards
Price with equipment: $1,300,000
|6 All of the equipment on Vancouver’s rescue truck was mounted by SVI on slide-out or drop-down trays or slide-out tool boards.|
Vancouver (Canada) Fire & Rescue Services
|7 The Vancouver truck also has a large awning on the curb side of the vehicle to shelter firefighters when necessary.|