Fire Fighters Convert New Van to Aid Unit
Members of the Tukwila, Wash., Fire Department wanted a new aid unit, but they were not able to find one that met their requirements and was within range of department funds.
After spending several months looking at other units, they decided that they could build an aid car cheaper and with the same, or better, quality as those produced commercially. With 28 emergency medical technicians in the department, there were a lot of ideas on how to build the unit. Several floor plans and cabinet layouts were drawn and submitted to get opinions on the concepts. After arriving at the one acceptable floor plan, Fire Fighter Dave Hansen was put in charge.
To accommodate the desired floor plan, a CMC Van Dura chassis was purchased locally. Next, a side door was cut in and hung. This was bought from a local trailer manufacturer.
Having an electronic background, Hansen was able to complete the wiring for all the exterior and interior lights within a month. Each light required fusing and an independent backup system. Next, using material 1-inch thick, a complete frame was built inside the van box. To this, sheets of brushed, stain-resistant plastic were attached. All the compartments were made of wood and overlaid with plastic and clear plastic doors were installed. All compartments are removable for cleaning and transfer to the next unit to save on the cost of construction.
The aid unit contains a built-in oxygen system, H.E.A.R. radio system, walk-a-round stretcher and breathing apparatus. The finished unit has a replacement value of $32,000, as established by the city’s insurance carrier.
The time for construction was approximately 400 man hours. Assisting Hansen were Lieutenant Sacha, Fire Fighters Kohler and Green.
The total cost for materials was $11,875. With the sale of the old aid unit, after the new unit was put in service, the cost of the new unit dropped to $7875. Not only was the cost of the aid unit very acceptable, but this was one case where the fire fighters didn’t complain of its quality or design.