The Waukomis (OK) Fire Department was seeking to replace its light brush-rig-size rescue truck with a little larger vehicle without making the move all the way up to a medium-duty rescue truck. The department was running more paramedics and advanced emergency medical technicians (EMTs) on its emergency medical service (EMS) runs, and had run out of room for equipment on its existing rescue.
“We wanted a larger rescue with more storage space but not one that was too large because we have limited space in our station,” says Mason Hornberger, a Waukomis lieutenant.
Lee Potter, regional sales manager for Emergency Vehicle Inc. (EVI), says that Waukomis firefighters looked at a neighboring fire department’s quick-attack truck built by EVI and liked its setup. They also met with the EVI staff at FDIC International. After a lot of back and forth, they designed a rescue around what the department wanted to accomplish.
The vehicle is a crew body rescue on a Ford F-550 cab and chassis powered by a Ford Power Stroke 6.7-liter V8 350-horsepower (hp) engine. Wheelbase is 189 inches, overall length is 25 feet 4 inches, and overall height is 9 feet 2 inches. The unit has a 14-foot walk-in rescue body, Hansen roll-up compartment doors, a Warn Zeon 10-S portable winch, and an E.J. Metals ultra-high-pressure (UHP) 100-gallon fire suppression foam system.
The Waukomis rescue is outfitted with a Whelen LED light bar, Whelen LED warning lights, four Whelen M9 LED scene lights (two on each side of the box), and four FRC (Fire Research Corp.) Spectra LED tripod lights (two at the rear and two at the front of body), and a Whelen LED traffic advisor at the rear. A roof access ladder leads to two roof coffin compartments separated by a recessed walkway. Cost of the vehicle was $225,000.
“We like the fact that the crew body holds five firefighters comfortably,” Hornberger points out. “And we were able to keep the weight down on the vehicle, but still have lots of compartment space.” He adds that “UHP is new to our area, but we are very happy with the E.J. Metals system. We wanted a truck that could handle everything except structure fires, and this gives us the ability to protect the truck and occupants of a vehicle in a car crash and fire.”
Daryl Beebe, the Waukomis medical supply officer, points out the EVI rescue carries Genesis hosed hydraulic rams, a spreader and a combi tool, as well as a Genesis battery-powered hydraulic combi tool and spreader/cutter. “We also carry 100 feet of hydraulic hose and a couple of 50-foot sections,” he says, “like the Genesis system that we run on our rescue-pumper.”
Waukomis has one station and 22 volunteer firefighters. They cover a 144-square mile district and staff two Pierce engines (one a rescue-pumper) with 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pumps and 1,250-gallon water tanks, two tankers carrying 3,000-gallons of water each with 750-gpm and 400-gpm pumps, and three Ford F-350 brush trucks with 250-gpm pumps and 300-gallon water tanks.
Beebe says that the department took delivery of the rescue truck in December 2015, and firefighters “are very comfortable with it. The day after we put it in service, it was put to the test and performed very well. It suits our needs nicely.”
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.