1. #1
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    Default Command Vehicle Cost

    Our department is putting in estimates for the upcoming tax proposal for our area. We are looking at purchasing a new command vehicle if the tax is approved. We do not need to spec a unit out now, but the powers that be want a general estimate of what this unit would cost (on the average). It will be in sevice for the next 15-20 years and will be used as a command vehicle/utility vehicle but should have enough power to haul rescue sleds and backcountry units up hills and mountain passes. Any suggestions on where to look for more info or what your department has paid for command or utility vehicles would be helpful. We will be going with a suburban type vehicle and not a truck. Thank you.


    I know I double posted this but I was hoping this area would have some additional insight. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    A lot of people have different ideas what a "command vehicle" should be. The first thing your department must ask itself is: is the primary use of the vehicle going to be for a command post, or will this primarily be a utility vehicle for towing and carrying equipment?

    If you're going to primarily use this as a command vehicle, then the first thing you need to look at is communications. Are your neighboring departments in the same frequency as you? Are they on the same band (VHF, UHF, 800MHz)? You may require two or more radios, and the space to put them. While we're talking about communications, you might require a dual-head radio, so you can have the some TX/RX capability in the front and rear of the vehicle. Why the rear? Read on...

    The rear of the vehicle is where you'll commonly have the command post. This would include a module that has locking cabinets, slide out trays, a place for radios/speakers/TV's/etc, an SCBA perhaps, EMS equipment, and other equipment you might need specific to your area. These modules can become very heavy, depending on the materials used and what you carry in in, so be careful of overloading the vehicle, especially if it's going to spend a lot of time off-road.

    Now, if this is going to be used more as a utility vehicle, you might consider a much smaller "command" area in the rear (if you use one at all), and focus on using the front of the vehicle as the command area. This would allow you to use the rear area to stow several people's PPE and other fire equipment.

    Before you can start talking cost, you and the department need to decide how elaborate of a command vehicle you want. I've seen full-size command vehicles run in the $75,000 range once they're fully equipped, lettered, lighted, and stocked. However, these are rigs that I would hardly expect to see riding across the terra-firma seeking lost hikers.

    Here are some links that might be helpful (in no particular order):
    Extendo-Bed
    FastLane Emergency Vehicles
    Odyssey Automotive

    These are just some photos and vehicles to give you ideas of what you may or may not want. Still have questions? Ask away...
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  3. #3
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    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only.


    Disclaimer aside, I'm "on the job" as well. So my perspective is coming from the point of someone who has done a few hundred vehicles, as well as having used them in the fire service.

    The first thing you need to do is take four sheets of paper. One for vehicle wants, and one for needs. One for equipment wants, one for needs. Start with the needs. What do you absolutely need on this vehicle? What do you need this vehicle to do? Flesh out those lists before you think about what "extras" you want to add.

    If this vehicle will be used as a response vehicle, think about what you need to equip it for safe emergency responses. Start with your NFPA lighting. To be compliant you're looking at a lightbar (assuming LED) with corner lights and at least 2-4 additional modules front and rear depending on the individual bar. Strobe inserts will out perform LED inserts in headlights and tailights. Point blank, no contest. Side lighting and intersection lighting with "linear" designed LED's are one of the most important things if you have busy roads, dense traffic, and lots of intersections. (...Even if you don't, still think about it). A 200 watt siren will help you be heard, consider adding a second siren with a "Rumbler" or "Howler" sub-woofer setup that will project the siren to make it be "felt" as well as heard. For a sufficient warning package, you're looking at around a $3000 mark if you don't re-use any existing products.

    Contact your local public safety agencies that you work with. What type of radio system is your PD using? What about state/county police agencies? Mutual aid fire departments? Make sure you can communicate with them! Plan for expansion as well. With narrowbanding and newer infrastructure coming in to place, now isn't the time to skimp on your dispatch and interoperability capabilities. There is federal money available to help you offset the cost of communications. Any radio that is sufficient for public safety use will offer dual-heads, alpha tags, multiple external speakers, etc. If your mobile license will allow it, get 110 watt radio drawers. You'll never know when you'll need it. Make sure you have portable radio chargers, as well as a room to charge spare batteries. (Being that I don't push a certain product line on FH.COM, I can't make specific suggestions. Contact your local radio shop and have a sit-down meeting with them. Discuss interoperability, future expansion, and any special considerations you need for your radio equipment)

    For storage and equipment, stay away from pricey brands like TruckVault and Odyssey. Yes, they are nice products, but cost way too damn much. There are many "commercial" products that will suit your needs. Harbor Freight, and other similar catalogs have modular solutions that can be mounted and secured in the cargo compartments of vehicles. You'll save hundreds, if not thousands, by going this route.
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    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

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    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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    Thank you for all of the replies. We are looking to have it be a utility vehicle first but have command capabilities. We would, as suggested, have comms in the front of the vehicle and room for equipment in the back along with a big block engine to be able to tow rescue equipment. I appreciate what I have read so far and if anyone has anything else to add, please feel free to do so.

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