Vermont Gets Disaster Response Vehicles

EmergencyResponseVehiclesESSEX JUNCTION - Vermont has purchased two brand new pickup trucks for emergency response situations.


From fighting fires atop mountains, to search and rescue missions - the trucks are equipped to handle it all. They're also designed to assist in chemical, biological and nuclear emergencies.

"We have some [interoperability] that we have never had before," said Dan Dillner, a Protection Forester with the State of Vermont. "We've always had pickup trucks, and during the key spring fire season and fall fire season we would carry some basic equipment--but this kind of is carrying the equipment in a much more organized fashion," he said.

The trucks are identical - and at a glance, they may look like regular pickups on the outside.

On the inside, however, they're equipped with thousands of dollars worth of emergency response equipment. Some of the details and specs, as provided by the state, include the following:

- Heavy duty ¾ ton truck with towing capacity for fire trailers
- Off-road capable with winch
- High visibility decals with emergency lights
- Utility cap for equipment storage
- Communications that include P25 digital radios and the UHF and VHF National Interoperability channels. These field programmable radios are equipped with onboard computer programming software.
- GIS mapping capability in remote locations.  Ability to upload real-time incident mapping data to State Emergency Operations Center or Agency of Natural Resources GIS lab.
- Inventory of wildland firefighting tools and equipment
- Monitoring equipment for CBRNE emergencies.
- Capable of towing communications, DECON mass care/med surge trailers.

The purchase of the trucks mark the first time the state has two dedicated units ready to handle a variety of disaster situations.

"Up until then it was just personal vehicles," said Firefighter Jeff Campbell of Washington County. "Anytime there's a risk of a hazmat scene or something like that if they need to tow equipment there's vehicles dedicated to do it and it's one less thing that the fire department has to worry about."

The trucks were purchased using federal Homeland Security grant funds. Officials said other states experiencing emergencies may also request the units from Vermont.

"Vermont is not immune from CBRNE incidents and we need to be ready for any such event," said Keith Flynn, the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. "One thing we have learned as Vermonters is the benefit of preparedness and planning - and this is an example of that."