By Chris Mc Loone
I recently had the chance to visit the USSC Group’s headquarters. In a way, it was like coming home again. USSC is located in a building formerly used by National Foam, which is where my grandfather worked after retiring from the Philadelphia (PA) Fire Department. I hadn’t been inside the facility in years, and it was impressive how much USSC has invested into creating a modern, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. I don’t remember exactly why there were fire trucks on the factory floor in the National Foam days, but I was a kid who loved fire trucks, and I had a blast climbing all over them when my grandfather would bring me there to look around.
This time around, I sat down with Steve Toren, vice president of sales for USSC Valor Seating, and Joe Mirabile, president of USSC. Toren was gracious enough to participate in the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment “Five Questions” column. Visit www.fireapparatus.com for bonus questions answered by Mirabile.
1. What are the most frequent requests you receive regarding seating for fire apparatus?
The top requests we get are related to the following: durability of our upholstery-fabric and foam. Our VALORTech XD Upholstery is the most durable in our industry. It is military-grade fabric with an antimicrobial protectant that significantly resists pathogens and carcinogens. Additionally, the foam is a high-grade material formed based on pressure mapping to provide the utmost comfort and durability. All of the covers are removable and replaceable and maintenance-friendly. The seats are built for fleet service to be able to simply and effectively clean them and replace parts over the life cycle of the vehicle.
2. How challenging has it been to enter the ambulance seating market?
Our entrance into the emergency medical technician (EMT) seating market has been very exciting. We have received tremendous feedback and a level of excitement from the EMT market on the product. We have seen a very strong acceptance and desire from the majority of ambulance builders to use our product because of our tireless validation and testing and, most importantly, response to voice of customer during the three-year development of the seat.
3. What is the most important aspect of a Valor seat?
The quality and overall durability in every aspect of this made-in-the-United-States product-designed to significantly exceed all pertinent standards: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Society of Automotive Engineers, National Fire Protection Association, etc. Seat suspension is air-ride, electric, and mechanical. The ultra-durable seat structure borrows from our military-grade heritage. And, our upholstery.
4. Is there anything in the pipeline you can talk about?
We are developing business at all levels: OEMs, OEM dealers, and numerous end users with great success.
5. What keeps you up at night?
Assuring that we provide every first responder with the safest, highest quality seat in our industry-exceeding their expectations in every possible way.