Special Delivery: Heavy Rescue Is Right Fit for Otsego County EMS Rescue

Alan M. Petrillo

Otsego County is located in northern Michigan, closely situated between Lake Huron on the east and Lake Michigan on the west, with the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula just to the north.

Otsego County EMS Rescue, in Gaylord, Michigan, is responsible for all rescue and emergency medical services in the county, which covers 608 square miles and protects a population of 20,080 that swells by 20,000 people on winter weekends and up to 45,000 on summer weekends.

(1) Otsego County (MI) EMS Rescue replaced an 11-year-old Hackney rescue with this new Hackney Heavy Rescue on a Spartan MetroStar LFD chassis with 24-inch raised roof and 191/2-foot heavy rescue body. (Photo courtesy of Otsego County EMS Rescue.)

Choosing the Rig

EMS Rescue had operated a Hackney heavy rescue for 11 years, but it was getting worn and needed replacement. Jon Deming, Otsego County EMS Rescue chief, says the department had such good service from the rescue that there was no question its replacement would be another Hackney heavy rescue. “We are owned and operated by the county of Otsego and controlled by an EMS board of directors,” Deming says. “The county does the financing and purchasing, while we decide on the type of apparatus and equipment we need to do the job.”

Deming says that the department had several concerns it wanted addressed in its new heavy rescue. “We wanted a cab with a raised roof and adequate heating in it so that in winter weather our crews could get inside and stand upright in the cab,” Deming pointed out. “Lighting a scene also is a very important element to us, so we wanted to be sure we had enough lighting on the new rescue. Safety is another aspect, so we chose to have Hackney’s automatic staircase put on the rescue so we could get to the compartments at the top of the vehicle safely but not compromise the storage compartments at the rear of the truck.”

Brian Bingaman, Midwest regional manager for Hackney, says the automatically deploying staircase is electrically operated by a 120-volt motor that extends it to the ground but doesn’t interfere with the back compartment on the rescue. When the staircase is stowed, it nests in the walkway at the top of the rescue, so coffin compartments can be fitted on the top.

(2) The Hackney heavy rescue for Otsego County EMS Rescue features 11 compartments with roll-up doors and drop-down step platforms in the left and right front compartments. (Photo courtesy of Hackney.)

Bingaman says Hackney built the new heavy rescue on a Spartan MetroStar LFD chassis with a 24-inch raised roof, a 19½-foot heavy rescue body with 11 roll-up door compartments, and 24-inch-deep recessed roof compartments. The vehicle is powered by a Cummins 450-hp ISL9 diesel engine and Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission and carries an Onan 25-kW generator. “Otsego County wanted winch receivers on each of the four corners of the vehicle for rappelling and tying off onto the vehicle for stabilization,” Bingaman says. “We attached 10,000-pound winch receivers directly to the lower frame rails to handle the 9,000-pound Warn winch.”

In the body, Bingaman says Hackney installed its roll-up doors that go up and across the interior top of a compartment instead of rolling up into a ball container at the top front. “That type of installation allows us to put in transverse compartments and also allows the mounting of hose reels at the front of the compartment,” he notes.

For scene lighting, Deming says the department chose a Will-Burt NightScan light tower recessed in the forward roof with six 900-watt MagnaFire floodlight heads. Six Whelen 12-volt halogen scene lights are on the vehicle-on the upper left and right sides of the cab, upper left and right sides of the body, and two on the upper rear of the body-as well as a Whelen PFA2 Pioneer LED flood light on the front of the cab.

The truck also carries a Whelen 72-inch UltraFreedom LED light bar, Whelen LED warning lights in upper and lower zones, LED tail lights and clearance lights, and LED compartment light strips recessed vertically at the outer edge of each compartment for full lighting of interior shelves and trays.

(3) The Otsego County heavy rescue has Hackney’s Automatic Deploy Staircase that deploys in 35 seconds and does not obstruct the rear extrication tool compartment. (Photo courtesy of Hackney.)

Built for Self Sufficiency

Deming says Otsego County’s previous rescue carried an SCBA refilling station onboard that didn’t get used much, so it wasn’t duplicated on the new heavy rescue. “We replaced it with a 60-gallon stored energy compressed air foam system (CAFS) made by American Fire Equipment,” Deming says. “It will make 600 gallons of finished foam and discharge at a range of more than 50 feet.”

Deming notes that Otsego County EMS Rescue operates in a county covered by five volunteer fire districts and that the farthest distance EMS Rescue has to travel is 21 miles one way. “We have to take all the equipment we need with us,” he says, “and must be self-sufficient for the first hour.”

The Hackney heavy rescue is outfitted with four hydraulic hose reels for connecting to rescue tools-two in the extended front bumper and one on each side at the rear of the body. “We sometimes have extrications going on both sides of the road,” Deming points out, “so we wanted to be flexible in the placement of our hydraulic reels. We also have redundancy with our rescue tools in that we carry a portable gasoline-engine-driven unit for those times when we have to use our tools well off the road. We tried to build redundancy into each of our systems. So if one thing fails, we have another way to do the job.”

Responding in winter weather conditions, such as icy roads, was a major consideration. So, Otsego County opted to have OnSpot automatic chains installed on its new rescue truck. “Not long after we got the rescue in service, we were going up an icy hill on a Friday afternoon when the truck started to slip,” Deming says. “We dropped the OnSpot chains and the truck went up the hill easily.”

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.


Otsego County (MI) EMS Rescue

Strength: 32 paid full-time firefighters (16 paramedics, 16 EMTs), one station.

Service area: Provides rescue and EMS service to the 608 square miles of Otsego County, Michigan, with a population of 24,080 that swells by an additional 20,000 persons on winter weekends and up to 45,000 additional people on summer weekends. The region is a favorite for golfing, skiing, snowmobiling, and recreational boating and water activities on its inland lakes. Interstate 75 runs up the middle of the fire district, and state highway M-32 crosses it from east to west. Commercial and residential areas dominate the coverage region, including several big box retail centers.

Other apparatus: Ford F-350 chassis rescue with utility body carrying Hurst hydraulic tools; Ford F-550 rescue pulling a hazardous materials and command trailer; International medium-duty water rescue truck; fleet of seven ambulances: three Ford Type 1 by Wheeled Coach, two Braun medium-duty, one LifeStar medium-duty, one 4WD Miller McCoy Type 1.


Hackney Heavy Rescue

• Spartan MetroStar LFD chassis with 24-inch raised cab roof
• Hackney 19½-foot heavy rescue body with 11 roll-up door compartments
• Two rear-facing and two forward-facing rear seats in crew cab with EMS medical cabinet and locking roll-up door between rear-facing seats
• Cummins ISL9 450-hp diesel engine
• Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission
• OnSpot automatic snow chains
• 28-inch extended front bumper with two hydraulic hose reels and pre-connected Hurst tools
• Two Hurst hydraulic rescue tool hose reels in upper rear compartments
• Federal Q2B mechanical siren in center of front bumper
• Two Hadley air horns
• Federal electronic PA4000 siren with two bumper speakers
• 10,000-pound receivers under front and rear bumpers and left and right side body with 12-volt winch power connections
• 9,000-pound Warn portable winch
• Transverse tunnel in top of forward wheelhouse compartment for Stokes basket and four long backboards
• Transverse tunnel in aft wheelhouse compartment for Little Giant® ladder
• Recessed wheelhouse compartment access steps fore and aft of rear wheel opening and access step bar across rear wheels
• Drop-down step platforms in left and right front compartments
• Auto Deploy Staircase (ADS) for safe roof access
• Nine SCBA spare body storage tubes in right aft wheelhouse compartment
• Oil dry hopper holding 80 pounds of granular material
• Electrically deployed full body length awnings on left and right side of body
• Will-Burt NightScan light tower recessed in forward roof with six 900-watt MagnaFire floodlight heads
• Six Whelen 12-volt halogen scene lights
• Whelen PFA2 Pioneer LED floodlight on front of cab
• Whelen 72-inch UltraFreedom LED light bar
• Whelen LED warning lights in all upper and lower zones
• LED recessed compartment light strips
• 25-kW Onan PTO generator
• Two 240-volt cord reels with 200 feet of 10/4 cable
• 3.3-cu.ft. refrigerator
• Electric-rewind utility air hose reel

Price without equipment: $442,742

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