1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Chevy Astro Van as Command Vehicle?

    Has anyone considered using a vehicle like the all-wheel drive Chevy Astro van as a command vehicle. Suburbans and Tahoes seem to be the standard, but the Astro van seems to provide the same features at a cheaper price.
    I know the City of Brea California is using an Astro van for their Emergency Preparedness Coordinnator. It is outfitted with the same cabinet configuration in the rear as I've seen in most Suburbans, Tahoes, and Explorers.
    Any thoughts?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Roswell, GA, USA

    Thumbs up

    Hey, if it does the job they want it to, and continues to work well, who cares what the brand is? As long as the electrical system is updated to handle any additional load, it should work well for them. Possible additional benefit would be the side door(s) being larger than regular side doors on a Suburban.

    Rick Reed
    Do it right, do it safely, do it once.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    That is what our cheif drives. We call it the pizza van . We give the cheif a lot of crap about it, but it works. All the other FDs use Suburbans for their BCs ans Explorers for their DCs, so we standout.

    Alan Romania, CEP
    IAFF Local 3449

    My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We used to use a Ford E-350 window van (the longest one they made) for our command vehicle. It worked, but just didn't have enough space for everything we wanted to do. The biggest problems were not enough countertop or desk space for writing, poor ingress/egress (through the sliding side door), headroom was at a premium, and radio mounting configurations were somewhat limited. We are presently building out a 14 passenger bus (a used airport shuttle-type bus) as a command vehicle. It has 7 bench seats on each side of the aisle mounted with the backs against the windows, leaving a good bit of spce to walk. It has a rear storage area, a toilet, and is being equipped with a roof mount A/C - heater and a 6 kw generator. We will be putting in a large countertop/desk area, 6 mobile radios, portable radio chargers, additional lighting, land-line phone capability, shore line power inlets, cell/fax machine, and have a mini-library for things like hazmat reasearch materials. We're probably going to cover any flat surfaces inside with white enameled sheet metal, so you can write on them with china or dry erase markers, or use magnetic materials. Lots more room than the old van! When finished, this will hopefully put an end to the "command is on the pickup truck tailgate, front bumper extension, running board, etc."! It's a bear to write outside in freezing rain. It gets sent after the initial response, nobody has to drive it around on a daily basis. For smaller routine incidents, a van or Suburban would fit the bill nicely. On a bigger incident, the extra space sure helps. Good luck.

    R.A. Ricciuti, Firefighter
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ever considered a good used motorhome as a command vehicle. Not the big monsters but something that provides seating accomadations and room for a communications center. That is of course that the same vehicle is not being used on a daily basis. Just a thought. that's what we did for our region. A vehicle that is available to several FD's when requested that provides the necessary means to bring an incident to a conclusion

    Tim Bennett, Walden Fire Department, Ontario Canada

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just about anything that has a radio and a place the onfold maps/etc. can be used as a command vehicle. I my opinion the Astro is rather small and would be a tight fit around large or multi-company fires, or for prolonged times. You might consider purchasing a used ambulance and converting it.
    That way you have lots of room, plenty of storage and ussually a deisel and large alternator to run all the electronics. And in a pinch, could be used for EMS transport provided it had some basic gear on-board.

    As a point of interest, i've seen a Ford F-150 used a command post.

    Take care!

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