Alan M. Petrillo
The city of Washington, North Carolina, had a 1982 beverage-style truck that had been refurbished into a medium rescue a number of years ago, but the vehicle was showing its age and needed replacement. Fortunately, the city was able to secure a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to replace the unit and set about performing a needs assessment to determine the amount and kinds of equipment it should carry and developing specifications for the rig.
Robbie Rose, chief of Washington (NC) Fire-Rescue-EMS, says he and his truck committee of five, led by Captain R.M. Flowers, along with the city’s purchasing agent had a number of rescue truck manufacturers make presentations to them about their vehicles and what might be done for the department. But in the end, Rose says the contract for the medium rescue it wanted to purchase went to VT Hackney, the company that not only refurbished the former beverage truck but also has its production facilities a mile down the road from the department’s main station. “Hackney was the low bidder on the rescue truck and they started building it in August of last year,” he says. “We took delivery on December 13, 2012.”
(1) The medium rescue that Hackney built for Washington (NC) Fire-Rescue-
Copious Amounts of Space
Jonathan Hardin, a lieutenant who served on the truck committee, says the most compelling element of the Hackney rescue truck is the amount of space it offers. “Hackney uses a drop-pinch frame that allows for a lot more space in the body area,” he says. “And, they also added more features on their rescue when compared to the other bidders.”
Rose points out that the rescue’s serviceability was another main concern for the department. “We made it a part of our bid package that we wanted a service center within a one-hour drive of our area,” Rose says. “Hackney certainly fulfilled that requirement, and the truck is very user-friendly with easy accessibility to all the equipment. That drop-pinch frame design drops the truck low enough so we can reach everything in the compartments.”
Eddie L. Smith, director of Hackney’s emergency vehicles group, says, “Our claim to fame is our drop-pinch frame that increases storage capacity on a vehicle. In this case, we were able to get 25 percent more storage space on the truck than if we had used a standard frame.”
(2) The Hackney-built medium rescue has a cribbing compartment at the left rear
Smith says that the compartment space on the Washington Fire rescue is 42 inches deep, compared with the average 24- or 25-inch-deep compartments on a typical rescue using a standard frame. “Also, with our frame, we were able to make this a much longer vehicle and still keep it on a single axle,” he adds.
The Washington Fire rescue has a wheelbase of 239¼ inches, an overall length of 34 feet 3¾ inches, and an overall height of 10 feet, six inches.
Smith notes that Washington Fire wanted its new rescue to function in a number of different capacities. “This vehicle serves as a rescue truck, a technical rescue truck, a hazardous materials truck, and a paramedic vehicle,” he says. “Essentially, it’s four vehicles in one. The only thing it doesn’t do is fight fires.”
(3) Extra self-contained breathing apparatus equipment is carried on a roll-out
Rose observes, “Before we got the Hackney rescue truck, we had our rescue equipment spread out among all the other vehicles that we were running, as well as in our two stations. We wanted our new vehicle to have enough space for all of it, and it does-with room to spare so we can add to it.” Rose adds that the vehicle currently is certified in North Carolina as a medium rescue but that the department hopes to add more extrication, building collapse, air bags, cribbing, and high angle rescue equipment to make it qualify as a heavy rescue with the state.
Hardin points out that the hazmat, water rescue, and technical rescue equipment on the new rig is located in coffin compartments on top of the vehicle. He says that the vehicle has been to three vehicle wrecks that required extrication so far and performed flawlessly. “We also have used it for many training events, especially technical and water rescues,” he notes. “It’s great to have all the equipment we need in one vehicle at hand in a single toolbox.”
(4) The Washington rescue has a 38-inch-deep toolbox mounted
He says the new rescue can run all of its air tools off of the four-bottle cascade station on the vehicle. “We designed it to operate our heavy duty air hammer at 120 psi off of an air line from the fill station,” he points out. “And the Hurst tools-a cutter and a spreader-are preconnected on two 100-foot reels in the back compartment behind a roll-up door. You just flip a switch and have power from the electric pump to the two reels. We have rams and another cutter back there too.”
Smith points out that besides all the slide-out tool boards and slide-out trays on the vehicle, Hackney also installed fold-down compartment steps to allow firefighters to reach those items at the very top and back of compartments. “These guys wanted to use every cubic inch of this truck, and that’s exactly what we did for them,” Smith says. “Working with the chief and committee through the process went very well, and I think we ended up with as close to an ideal rescue truck as we’ve ever built.”
(5) Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS extrication tools are located at the
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.
Washington (NC) Fire-Rescue-EMS
Strength: 33 paid full-time firefighters, two stations.
Service area: Provides fire, rescue, and EMS service to the 7½ square miles of the city of Washington, North Carolina, with a population of 9,840, as well as EMS service in Martin and Pitt counties. Washington is a mix of residential, commercial, and light industrial structures.
Other apparatus: 2000 Ferrara-Spartan pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 750-gpm water tank; 1996 E-ONE-Freightliner pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank; 1988 Ford-Quality pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 750-gpm water tank; 2006 Pierce Dash 100-foot aerial platform, 1,500-gpm pump, 400-gallon water tank; 2011 Wheeled Coach Chevrolet Type III advanced life support ambulance; 2008 Wheeled Coach Chevrolet Type III advanced life support ambulance; 2005 24-foot Carolina skiff with 140-hp Suzuki outboard motor; 2011 John Deer Gator utility terrain vehicle.
• Kenworth T370 chassis with two-person cab
• Hackney all-aluminum body with nine roll-up doors
• 14,600-pound front axle
• 23,000-pound rear axle
• 239¼-inch wheelbase
• 34-foot, 3¾-inch overall length
• 10-foot, six-inch overall height
• Cummins 380-hp diesel engine
• Allison 3000EV six-speed automatic transmission
• V-MUX multiplexed electrical system with color LCD control panel
• Drop-pinch frame providing 40-inch-deep compartments at lower floor forward of rear wheels
• Five 24-inch deep rooftop coffin compartments
• Ladder storage on roof for 14-foot roof ladder and 24-foot two-section extension ladder with deployment rollers on edge of vehicle roof
• 35-kW PTO generator
• Command light tower with six 1,500-watt lamps and backlight feature
• Two tripod portable flood lights on left rear of body
• Three MagnaFire 900-watt flood lights, one on each side and one at rear
• Four Whelen 90 series LED scene lights, two on each side and two at upper rear
• LED strip lights recessed into side walls of all compartments, partitions and coffin compartment lids
• LED ground lights around perimeter
• LED Traffic Advisor light bar on upper rear
• Whelen LED warning lights
• Whelen electronic siren
• Color rearview camera
• Two-bottle SpaceSaver SCBA fill station
• Four 6,000-psi DOT air storage vessels
• Electric rewind hydraulic hose reels for Hurst tools mounted in upper rear with slide-out hose roller guides in front of each reel
• Electric rewind utility air hose reel
• 2.4-cubic-foot 120-VAC refrigerator operating from shore power or generator
• Oil dry dispensing hopper in left and right wheelhouse skirt panels
• 10,000-pound winch receiver in front bumper and left and right sides of body
Price without equipment: $327,800