Pulaski County Receives Military High Clearance Vehicle and Partners with Local Industries to Ready It for Emergency Service and Disaster Response
Pulaski County officially added a new vehicle to its emergency response fleet by way of U.S. military surplus. The vehicle is considered a Military High Clearance Vehicle and is now the County’s most capable response vehicle when responding to an array of natural disasters. The vehicle is intended to be used during floods, severe winter storms and wildfire events.
“We are grateful to have been able to acquire this highly versatile vehicle and have this new capability added to our emergency response inventory, and it could not have been possible without the collective efforts of the Pulaski County Emergency Management Department and the Dublin Volunteer Fire Department”, stated Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator. “Our local industries understand the importance of having an apparatus like this available in times of need, and it is why I believe they were so willing to help us meet the federal guidelines of modifying it for civilian use.”
The vehicle was made available through the Federal Excess Equipment Program the Virginia Department of Forestry manages to help provide volunteer fire departments surplus equipment that is suitable for wildfire suppression activities. The Dublin Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) put in a request for a vehicle to be used to suppress wildfires as well as use for other emergencies such as flooding or winter storms. The vehicle was formerly in use and located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The Dublin VFD worked with Pulaski County Emergency Management to facilitate the inspection, pick up and transport of the vehicle from Fort Belvoir to Pulaski County.
“Once the vehicle made its way to Pulaski County, the real work began of transforming the truck into an emergency response vehicle for local use”, stated Brad Wright, Director of Emergency Management. “But before we could even begin that process, it was called into service to assist with a flash flooding event in the Town of Richlands where it and its crew was credited with rescuing and removing 16 people from flood waters. A few weeks later, it was once again called out when the Town of Pulaski experienced flash flooding. The truck and crew were credited with rescuing and removing another six individuals from flood waters.”
The process of turning the truck into a multipurpose emergency response vehicle has been a partnership between localities, agencies and even local businesses. The Town of Dublin career firefighters fabricated two surplus water tanks and pumps into one unit that will be mounted on a detachable skid. Pulaski County purchased the material to build it and Appalachian Machine of Dublin fabricated the skid unit with the tanks and pumps mounted on it.
The County’s Fire Medic crew, along with Special Operations Team members, assisted with prepping the truck to be painted. Fontaine Modifications took on the large job of detailing and painting the entire truck. They disassembled portions of the truck and painted it from top to bottom, doing an outstanding job of transforming the once camouflaged military vehicle into a fire engine red civilian life saving machine. Heytex generously donated a roll of material for a new tarp to be fashioned as a rear bed covering.