Manatee County, Fla., has a mass evacuation vehicle that also serves as a staging and cooling station for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team and firefighters — without having to purchase an expensive new vehicle.
The public safety team identified the need for this hybrid vehicle, and Paul DiCicco, public safety EMS chief, and Matthew Case, CEM, fleet division manager, met and discussed an alternative to commissioning a combination mass evacuation vehicle. Case explained that such a vehicle would be high in cost and have a long production lead time.
“We knew we had two transit buses that have exceeded their lifecycles in their current application, but would be a good fit in this lower utilization assignment,” Case said.
Fleet staff took two 2004 Gillig transit buses and upfitted one with cots, air conditioning, emergency lighting, and custom department decals. Since being deployed March of last year, Raptor 1 has already been used as cool-down station for firefighters and EMS staff and was deployed as aid for the 10K race, Case said.
The second vehicle is expected to be completed later this year.
"Cost savings was huge, when we considered the purchase of a new or used bus with unknown maintenance history. We were able to just transfer the buses from our transit division to the Fleet and work with the EMS/Public Safety on the upfit," Case said. "Maintenance of the buses are performed by Manatee County Fleet Services so we already knew the assets had perfect maintenance there whole life cycle. It was a win-win for all divisions and the community."