Special Delivery: Two Manufacturers Collaborate to Deliver Five Heavy Rescues

Alan M. Petrillo

Two manufacturers-Sutphen Corp. and SVI Trucks-recently teamed up to design, manufacture, and deliver five identical heavy rescues to the Columbus (OH) Division of Fire.

Scott Sanders, a lieutenant in Columbus’s Research and Development Bureau, says the 10-person vehicle committee, headed by Captain Steve Martin, met periodically and determined the next generation of heavy rescue truck that would meet the needs of the department. “We run all our rescues as heavy units, so we need room for manpower and all the equipment we have to carry-cutters, spreaders, rams, air bags, tripods, cribbing, air bottles, diving equipment, and the rest of it,” says Sanders. “Once we settled on the spec, we put it out to bid.”

Harry Sutphen, sales representative for Sutphen Corp., says that Sutphen had a prior relationship with the Columbus (OH) Division of Fire, which currently has 17 Sutphen pumpers serving as first-line engines and nine Sutphen SPH100 midmount aerial platforms as first-line ladders. “We were pleased to be awarded the bid, which we sold to Columbus as a Sutphen heavy rescue truck with an SVI body,” Sutphen says. He notes that Sutphen has collaborated with SVI Trucks for a number of years on various heavy rescue vehicles. “We sat down with Bob Sorenson, vice president of SVI Trucks, and the SVI engineers at Columbus Fire headquarters and got the vehicle to the way their committee wanted it,” he says.

Sutphen Monarch 73-inch cabs and chassis with 20-inch raised roofs
(1) The five heavy rescues built for the Columbus (OH) Bureau of Fire
by Sutphen Corp. and SVI Trucks are on Sutphen Monarch 73-inch
cabs and chassis with 20-inch raised roofs with SVI aluminum front
walk-in/walk-around bodies. (Photos courtesy of SVI Trucks.)

Identical Specs

The five heavy rescues were built to identical specs so there was a commonality as to placement of equipment, Sanders points out. “Our agreement in the beginning was that we would fine tune the trucks as we went along, and if an obstacle arose, we’d sit down together and work it out,” Sanders says. “Sutphen and SVI bent over backward numerous times to give us what we wanted and suggest what was best for our needs.”

Columbus Fire wanted all five rescues delivered completely equipped with all tools mounted, Sanders says, which meant that the department had to work closely with Sutphen and SVI engineers. “If we wanted to move a shelf or a piece of equipment that wouldn’t fit in a compartment, they figured out a way to accommodate us,” Sanders says. “Our guys sat with the engineers and built the entire trucks on a computer beforehand. We had to give them the name, make, and measurement of every tool that we wanted on the vehicles.”

Once the trucks were blueprinted digitally, with all the equipment placed, it was easier to adapt to changes, Sanders points out.

Sutphen Monarch 73-inch cabs and chassis with 20-inch raised roofs
(2) The Columbus rescues were all set up in identical fashion in terms
of design and gear location. Sutphen and SVI designed the location of
all equipment on slide-out trays and rolling tool boards under the
direction of the Columbus truck committee, and SVI mounted it all
prior to delivery of the five vehicles.

Identical Designs

The Columbus rescue designs are based on a Sutphen Monarch 73-inch- long cab and chassis with a 20-inch raised roof that seats six, Sutphen says. The wheelbases are 207 inches, the gross vehicle weight ratings (GVRW) are 44,000 pounds, and the units are powered by Cummins 450-horsepower ISX diesel engines and Allison 4000 EVS transmissions. The rescues also have 18-inch extended front bumpers with storage for portable winch systems.

Once the cabs and chassis were ready, SVI Trucks took over and fitted custom 3⁄16-inch aluminum front walk-in/walk-around bodies and ROM roll-up doors, according to Sorensen. He notes the exterior compartments include slide-out trays; tool boards; adjustable shelving; air bag storage; spare self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinder storage; slide-out cribbing storage; two Genesis hydraulic tool systems (one on each side of the rescues) including electric simo power units; hydraulic reels; and electric cable reels carrying 200 feet of 10/3 cable.

Lighting on the Columbus rescues
(3) Lighting on the Columbus rescues includes a Command Light
Knight light tower, FRC cab- and body-mounted LED floodlights, and
a Whelen LED warning light package.

Sorensen says the vehicles feature FRC cab and body-mounted LED floodlights, have Command Light Knight light towers, and carry Whelen LED warning light packages. The trucks’ interiors are accessed via the rear of the crew cab areas, leading to storage areass for dive suits, hand tools, and more storage and changing areas, all covered by separate air-conditioning and heating systems.

One of the challenges SVI faced in constructing the bodies was a potential issue with the vehicles’ overall heights. Bill Wood, SVI’s regional sales manager, says that Columbus Fire wanted all five heavy rescues to fit in any of its stations, and a couple of its older stations had some height issues. “They wanted the tallest truck interior they could get, so we ended up installing a low-profile air-conditioning unit, which improved the height profile,” Wood says. “One station was a big concern, but we found in the end we had several inches to spare.”

The upper decks of the units hold coffin compartments
(4) The upper decks of the units hold coffin compartments and are
accessed via fixed ladders at the rear of the vehicles.

Tool Mounting

Sorensen points out that SVI spent a lot of time on equipment mounting for Columbus Fire’s rescues. “We had one set of every piece of equipment shipped here for mounting purposes, and then the Columbus committee came out here with a general idea of where everything would go,” he says. “We worked with them and determined the precise locations in the compartments and how each piece of equipment would be mounted. Once the first truck was patterned, we duplicated that four more times for the other rescues.”

Sanders points out that the walk-in cab style means more space for the firefighters, more storage, and newer technology in the rescues. Delivery of the five rescues took place during the last quarter of 2012. “Our prior rescues were from a couple of manufacturers and were bought at different times,” he says. “We wanted a uniform rescue fleet, which is why we went with Sutphen and SVI. The firefighters who ride the vehicles are very satisfied with them and we believe we gave them the best tools for the job.”

The walk-in interior portions of the rescue truck
(5) The walk-in interior portions of the rescue trucks hold bench seats,
plenty of storage space, and areas for changing into specialized
equipment such as dive suits.

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.

Columbus (OH) Division of Fire

Strength: 1,570 firefighters, 32 stations.

Service area: Provides fire suppression, rescue, EMS, technical and water rescue, bomb squad, and urban search and rescue services to 240-square-mile city of Columbus with 791,868 population and mutual aid to metropolitan Columbus area of 1,742,798 population covering 399 square miles.

Other apparatus: 34 engines, of which 17 are Sutphen pumpers with 1,500-gpm pumps and 750-gallon water tanks and are advanced life support (ALS) paramedic units; 15 aerial ladders, of which seven are Sutphen SPH100 midmount 100-foot aerial platforms with 1,500-gpm pumps and no water tanks; 32 ALS medic ambulances; one hazmat unit; two bomb squad units; one incident support unit; one command unit; seven battalion chief vehicles; seven EMS supervisor vehicles; one safety officer vehicle; 14 boats.

Sutphen Corp./SVI Trucks Heavy Rescues

• Sutphen Monarch 73-inch LFD cabs and chassis with 20-inch raised roofs
• Seating for six
• SVI Trucks aluminum front walk-in/walk-around bodies
• Gross vehicle weight ratings of 44,000 pounds
• 207-inch wheelbases
• 34-foot, three-inch overall lengths
• 10-foot, four-inch overall widths
• 12-foot overall heights
• 20,000-pound front axles
• 27,000-pound rear axles
• Cummins ISX 450-hp diesel engines
• Allison 4000 EVS transmissions
• 18-inch extended front bumpers with portable winch storage
• ROM roll-up doors
• Command Light Knight light towers
• FRC cab- and body-mounted LED floodlights
• Whelen LED warning light packages
• 25-kW PTO generator systems
• Rear folding ladders to access upper body compartments
• Genesis hydraulic tool systems each side
• Electric cable reels with 200 feet of 10/3 cable

Price with all equipment: $717,000

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