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from Bob Vaccaro,
When it comes to being proactive in com- mand and control, The Suffolk County, New York Department of Fire Rescue and
Emergency Services (FRES) is no stranger. The
county has also been ahead of the game when it
comes to thinking outside the box with designing
vehicles that will serve the county in setting up a
command post and the equipment to do the job
right at an incident scene.
According to Joel Vetter, the chief of support
services, “FRES started the process of replacing an
existing command post vehicle approximately three
years ago. [See FireRescue, February 2005.] Our older
vehicle was a local event driven type of unit. It was
pretty much precomputer driven. No computer-aided dispatch (CAD), no repeater systems, etc.,” he
says. “It also was limited in mast height and weight.
We looked at refurbing the unit, but it would prove
to be costlier in the long run—around $300,000
last time we researched it. Plus, the older unit was
purchased in 2004. Technology has changed a great
deal since that time,” Vetter adds.
The other contributing factor was that if FRES
traded in the older unit now, it would still be able
to get good money for the trade.
The project was capitally funded and partially
grant funded. The department was fortunate to
have the county executive and the county legislators
on board to approve the equipment and vehicle.
Personnel could hand pick all the IT equipment
needed for operations.
“When we wrote the specs, we made them
generic so anyone could bid,” Vetter says. “We
looked at various vendors who delivered similar
vehicles around the state. We looked for a vendor
who had a history with the technology we would
be putting in this vehicle. This was a big plus for
us. We also looked for state and federal approval for
the IT systems that we looked at.”
“We chose MBF because they met our specs as well
as being a critical partner with the IT systems we
Interoperability Is the Word
MBF delivers an updated command post vehicle
to the Suffolk County (NY) FRES
The 2016 MBF command unit
for Suffolk County FRES built
on a Freightliner chassis.
(Photos by author.)
Suffolk FRES Specs
• Chassis: Freightliner M2-106.
• Body: All aluminum, remountable body.
• GVWR: 54,000.
• Overall length: 43 feet.
• Rear axle: Tandem.
• Engine: 350-hp Cummins Turbo Diesel.
• Transmission: Allison.
• Additional specs: EPS generator, Hilo masts,
Girard awning, MBF slide-outs, Whelen emergency lights, LED command light, Bard HVAC
system, equalizer jacks, MBF custom interior,
Flexco flooring, MBF custom equipment rack,
Weldon V-Mux, Kussmaul AC/DC monitor,
Avonit hard surface countertops, Motorola
radios, and MBF custom bumpers.