By Bob Vaccaro
See SVI Trucks in Product Connect
Published Tuesday, June 12, 2012
| From the August 2012 Issue of FireRescue
How many fire service leaders out there take rehab seriously? The answer should be all of us. NFPA 1584: Recommended Practice on the Rehabilitation of Members Operating at Incident Scene Operations and Training Exercises states, “Procedures should be in place to ensure that rehab operations commence whenever emergency operations pose the risk of pushing personnel beyond a safe level of physical or mental endurance.” This standard is probably the only real document dealing with rehab in the fire service.
If you don’t already, your department should have in place standard operating procedures (SOPs) for dealing with rehab. Now I’m not going to lecture you on how to do this. That’s entirely up to you. What I am going to do is introduce you to a department in Texas that has recently designed and purchased a new vehicle that deals specifically with this issue.
While most of us in the country have converted spare ambulances, cargo vans and other small vehicles to take care of providing rehab, the League City (Texas) Fire Department (LCFD) deserves a lot of credit for thinking outside the box on this new purchase.
About 10 years ago, LCFD Captain Mike Cornitius, who was also the chairman of the apparatus committee that designed the department’s new vehicle, oversaw the conversion of an old heavy-rescue to perform rehab. “The county we are located in had no provisions or resources for rehab and had minimal equipment,” he says.
About a year ago, the heavy-rescue was due to be replaced and the county asked the LCFD to specify its needs. “We had purchased another heavy-rescue in 2006, so we were covered in that aspect,” Cornitius says. “We decided to design a special-purpose vehicle that would provide for rehab as well as give the capability for lights and air.” To justify the expense, which would involve taxpayer funds, the LCFD provided information on the purpose and use of the vehicle to the city fleet management office, which owns the LCFD’s vehicles, gear and stations.
“So we wouldn’t offend, favor or segregate any specific dealer or manufacturer, the apparatus committee developed a design matrix that had all of the items we wanted included in the specs,” Cornitius says. “The only stipulation was that the manufacturer had to be listed in the Houston-Galveston Area Consortium (HGAC) we belong to for purchasing.”
Ultimately, the committee chose SVI to build the vehicle. “Not only did they meet most of the specs, but the local dealer, Metro Fire, was a dealer we had dealt with before and had great service from in the past,” Cornitius says.
The vehicle is stocked with all the features needed to deliver proper rehab, including:
- Two refrigerators
- Five-day ice chest to keep drinks and ice pops cold
- Four-bottle Bauer Cascade System that can be regenerated and can refill two SCBA bottles simultaneously
- 18' x 8' electric awning on the rehab side of the vehicle
- Smaller additional awning at the rear of the vehicle, used for refilling SCBAs
- Electrical reels
- Two Porta-Cool fans
- 40-kW generator with Command Light light tower
- Two 6' folding tables with 20 folding chairs
The county stocks the vehicle with Gatorade, water and energy drinks and bars. Because of the heavy reliance on power, the rig is kept on a shoreline inside quarters.
“Presently, the vehicle responds on special calls, not only in our own district but throughout the Greater Harris County area as well,” Cornitius says. “We are a full volunteer fire department with a paid chief and run roughly 800 alarms from five stations. All of our members are trained in the operation of the vehicle.”
The LCFD has used the vehicle several times since delivery, and has even traveled to Galveston—a 17-mile run—for the unit to help out on a major emergency. “The local dealer, Metro Fire, helped us a great deal in the design, as well as the engineers at SVI,” Cornitius says. “All of our concerns were dealt with in a timely manner, and service after the sale was excellent.”
A Final Word
When you are contemplating buying a special-purpose vehicle, planning is critical. This is especially important when you are dealing with a city or county that provides tax money for the purchase. Not only do you have to design the vehicle with special specs, depending on what the vehicle is used for, but you may have to convince a city government why you need the vehicle. The LCFD did its homework. Not only did they build a convincing case detailing the need for a vehicle to provide rehab to their local firefighters, but they were willing to share the response of the vehicle countywide.
Sidebar: Rehab Unit Specs
- Spartan Metro Star 10" raised roof MFD cab/chassis with 12" extended front bumper and seating for eight people
- 18' long, 3/16" formed aluminum walk-around body
- 425-hp Cummins ISL engine
- Allison 3000 EVS transmission
- Two LED brow lights, cab storage cabinet, radio charging unit, flashlights
- Curbside and rear awnings
- 1,000-lb. slideout tray, 250-lb. out/down tray, 400-lb. slideout tray
- Bottle storage module (nine bottles)
- Folding table/chair storage module
- Two refrigerators
- Electric cord reel
- Side-recessed LED scene lights, cab roof-mounted Command Light Knight 2
- Bathroom: toilet, sink, storage cabinet, LED lighting, roof mounted A/C unit, control panels, 12-volt panel
- Air system: Bauer BP-13H breathing air compressor (13 SCFM at 6,000 psi), four 6,000-psi ASME air storage cylinders, Bauer CFSII-2S SCBA fill station
- Delivered weights: front 14,500 lbs.; rear 16,180 lbs.; total 30,680 lbs.
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