We searched for over 2 years to replace the 1996 Dodge as our rescue. The bed on the Dodge started getting bad in 2010. It rusted through in the wheel wells into the compartments. This was patched, but there were serious concerns with cross members. During a thorough cleaning, we also found where the front of the bed in the center was rusting through as well.
The 1996 was purchased with the intent of replacing it every 10 years to keep our main medical vehicle as reliable and trustworthy as possible. The unit turned 10,000 miles in July. This shows that it is not the cab and chassis that we worried about, but the bed. This was kept in mind in our search for a new unit.
Our search came down to finding a used vehicle with a custom rescue bed, or replacing what we have with something very similar – a 4 door truck with a contractor box on the back. In the end, we determined that the custom bed would be a great asset and last a lot longer as it is aluminum. The cost per year of ownership was determined for both options and a maximum price for a used unit was calculated. We then successfully bid on the unit in South Carolina, getting it for less than the maximum amount we had determined.
As this unit will be our new QRS/Rescue, the primary functions will be as the quick emergency medical response vehicle. We recently obtained licensure through the state and this unit will proudly wear the certification stickers showing that we are a licensed agency. The new rescue will carry everything necessary for basic life support including an AED, bandages, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, backboards, splints, and many other medical items to ensure that we can properly care for those that we serve. It will also carry our extrication equipment, air bags, hand tools, and many other small items.
The new truck also expands our capabilities. This unit has a winch, on board 5,000 watt generator, and a light tower. All of these are things that we have not had on the Dodge. There are also several slide out trays that will make accessing what is carried much easier. These allow the tools to be brought outside of the vehicle without lifting them in a confined are. it also enhances the visibility of what we carry as the contents of the compartment can be brought outside the truck without rummaging through everything.
We are very excited about this new unit and would like to thank all of you for your generous support that has helped us to afford this truck. There is still a lot that we need to do with the truck and it will all cost money. If you feel that you can afford to, we would greatly appreciate any donations to help us pay for this addition to the Lander Volunteer Fire Department.