08/05/08 119 W, 2 I - + 12 - 12 Big Orange / Cary EMS

Speaking of Cary EMS, took delivery of their first commercial truck-chassis ambulance some weeks ago. I believe it's dubbed "Big Orange." That, or I am simply remembering a line from Andy Griffith's classic comedy routine1 "What It Was Was Football." Lee Wilson took the below photo of EMS 54, as well as picture of their cool new District Chief vehicle. Memories of Emergency! and the LACoFD return yet again. See more photos.

Lee Wilson photos

1Well, I says "I believe I will have another big Orange." More about WIWWF. And check out this Capital Records compilation from 1993 for Griffith's best comedy routines, as well as a few fun songs.

Does anyone know the thought process behind this type of district chief vehicle? Seems like a great concept besides of using an suv.
[Adam Brown] - 08/05/08 - 14:51

Well may when things are slow they can put it in to service as a spare MAP unit changing tires on I-40.
guest - 08/05/08 - 16:49

That big orange box is fugly!
buckwheat - 08/05/08 - 17:12

Hey, I like it! It’s different and a good mix of the typical SUV and an ambulance. I’m sure it is a lot more practical and has an added flexibility for different applications (e.g. pulling boats, trailers, etc). Probably not the most economical vehicle in regards to fuel mileage, but which of our fire/ems vehicles even come close to having great gas mileage? Probably none. Nice vehicle Cary EMS!
RFD574 - 08/05/08 - 18:14

The trucks look great, I think. Obvious benefits of utility body versus Suburban-style is easy access to stowed equipment, and no danger of that same equipment flying forward in an accident. Alas, not as much surface-area for rear-facing chevrons.
Legeros - 08/05/08 - 20:24

They had simply outgrew the Durango that served as D-5. There was no room for much other than a driver. Got a chance to look at the new rig and it’s laid out well, provides great access to equipment and carries more for MCI situations. It’s a neat concept and I’m interested to see how it works out. I have heard that the lettering inside of the orange stripe will be changing to blue letters in the near future.

As for “Big Orange” that thing is a beast, and it’s always funny to watch somebody that doesn’t know about the air system open the back doors and watch the body drop! And at the least it’s visible!
CFP 7021 (Email) - 08/05/08 - 20:39

Cary are not the first to go to a meduim-duty chassis in Wake County. Garner EMS was first, and they’ve stayed with them. Rolesville took delivery of two medium-duty ambulances. They do have a lot of room for working in the back, and the driving is not that different.

As far as the district chief’s vehicle, I am all for it. Besides the safety advantages of not having the equipment flying at you, imagine, for a second, that you have a patient in the middle of the woods during weather. With the old SUVs, you couldn’t put the patient in the back of the SUV because of all the equipment. True, this doesn’t keep them out of the weather, but at least it’s faster than walking them out…
CJS (Email) - 08/06/08 - 08:13

Holly Springs had an International/AEV that was originally in New Hanover County. Smithfield had a medium duty Freightliner/ Wheeled Coach from 1996 to about 2005. FirstHealth of the Carolinas (Chatham, Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond, and Chesterfield (SC) Counties) used them from 1996 to this year. I think Cumberland and New Hanover use them, and Mt Pleasant Rescue (Nash County) had one around 1995-1996).

There are certain advantages- heavier duty chassis and drive train, the late 90s IHC/ NAVISTARS would turn on a dime. They allow a larger payload which makes them great for critical care transport units or fire-rescue-paramedic units. It is said that they are more economical in the long run.

They can have more room for work, allowing more room to move around. But there is a lot of evidence out there that to me, and only me, that we should not be moving around the back of a moving ambulance. These boxes are not made to any crash-stable standard that means anything (in other words they do not stand up to impact or rollover at all). How much room they have is all in the specs.

To me, the main drawback is the rougher ride. It is a medium duty truck and will ride like it.

It is a shame that the ambulance manufactuers have not seriously addressed the ride that a vehicle for this purpose provides to people with broken bones and such. Also, it is a shame that crash sturdiness has not truly been addressed.

OK, enough of the soap box.

They are pretty sharp trucks. I like the supervisor vehicle concept of a utility box better than an SUV.
DJ (Email) - 08/06/08 - 11:35

I’ve noticed several (larger sized) departments making a move towards using a utility truck/light-duty rescue vehicle for their Battalion Cheif and/or Supervisor vehicle. A few that immediately come to mind are:
Austin-Travis Co Texas: http://www.x635photos.com/displayimage-2..
Los Angeles CA: http://firechief.com/inservice/los_angel.. – Can’t locate the bigger pictures that I once saw.
Miami-Dade: http://www.local1403.org/index.cfm?dsp=g.. (apparently Miami-Dade likes the concept, they have taken more units: http://www.rosenbaueramerica.com/deliver.. )
Luke - 08/07/08 - 16:39

The newer light duty chassis-cab units are much more practical than the SUVs. They do, however, cost more upfront, which some city and county councils look only at the upfront costs.

The added safety of not having everything in the back simply stacked back there in an SUB is justification alone, at least to me. Also, you would tend to get a better support capability out of them, whether it is response support, ICS support, or a combination.
DJ (Email) - 08/07/08 - 16:48

Cary FD has ordered and taken delivery of at least one of the two replacements for their battalion chief vehicles. They are F-250 Crew Cabs and will replace 2 Excursions (one of which was totaled in an accident last year). Best I have heard is that they will have standard bodies, but some form of a camper shell and slide out tray/command system will be in place.
CFP 7021 (Email) - 08/07/08 - 18:49

The Los Angeles experiment of a utility body instead of their standard Suburbans has been abandoned. They only had one unit, and they didn’t like the results.

LAFD is wondering what they are going to do now that the Suburban will no longer be made with the hinged barn doors, only overhead lift gates.
harkey (Email) - 08/07/08 - 21:45

Here in Dekalb Co. we are in the process of ordering 25 of the Spartan/Furion chassied rescues similar to the Miami Dade units over the next 2 yrs., Appearantly admin. and motor maint. like the ease of maint. Vs. the new F-series trucks we currently run,and the turning radius is much better…And speaking of utility bodied squads here is a link to the units our Squad Capt’s run,they are staffed by a FF/Emt and the Capt/Firemedic and function as an additional resource for fires and respond to all shootings/stabbings/entrapments etc.They will also respond on alpha calls in place of an ambulance and decide whether transp. will be necesary.keeping ALS units in service….

Sq.7 https://dklbweb.dekalbga.org/firerescue/photos/7.jpg
[jdkay2839] - 08/07/08 - 23:06

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