Ford Concept Rescues Tornado Victims

F-550 Rescue 1
If you saw any coverage of the most recent Chicago Auto Show, it's likely you saw a pretty concept fire and rescue 2012 F-550 in the Ford display. What you probably don't know is that just a few months later it had been on display at a local Rodeo outside Houston when a seemingly unending series of tornados hit the area. 

The New York Times has the full story of how this "concept" truck, built by a marketing company for Ford, got turned into a "reality" truck when people and lives in the near-by city of Arlington needed to be rescued. For the full story, click here

F-550 Rescue 2

F-550 Rescue 5

F-550 Rescue 4


What's the CA lengthy on that thing look like it is more than 84 inches

They tried f550's out here years ago. They didn't last. They proved to be always over loaded. 500 gallons of water is four thousand pounds all by itself. Few thousand for the bed. 1000 for crew. At least 500 for their personal equipment. Hose. And now you have to Still fill up those equipment boxes and try to drive it of road on dirty trails. it wasn't long before it was realized that only a medium duty would work.

I know I am getting off topic so im goona say sorry but I cant help but notice if Ford color matches the 2 bar grille and the the grill surround the front does look better.

Great story.

As a firefighter I would love to see one of these trucks on our department. Ford currently owns this market and I have only seen the rare excpetion, I personally have never seen a medium class truck used. These trucks are not all being used to haul 500 gallons, many are hauling 200-400 gallons and are much faster, lighter and less apt to getting buried than the medium duty trucks. The F350-F550 are a thing of beauty for most of the fireifghting world.

If it had Deaver springs it could haul 10,000 gallons of water + crew and equipment.

@ 5.3L LOL - I agree. The grill on these trucks look much better colour matched or with the bezell colour matched like the FX4.

This is a great story. Nice to see a "show bunny" actually work instead of look like it might work.
I do see a majority of smaller rescue trucks in this size with Ford badges. Anything bigger seems to be in the exclusive domain of Freightliner.

Sweet Rig! A close friend of mine was working in a Peterbuilt Plant when a tornado hit them that day. His tool boxes were thrown a hundred yards.

Should of left the chrome grill on, so when the light hits on it you can't see how ugly it is. The FDP here uses 1984 chevy 1 ton with 6.2L D for our brush truck. Most the other trucks are Macks. Have one ford with the pos 6.0L power joke, its always broke.

Seeing alot of emergency vehicles being GM products around central tx. most are ambulances and fire rescue trucks. They said reason being is that 6.0 and 6.4 fords were not reliable enough, so most were switching to the dura/alli combo, but the f450 and 550 were better for payload purposes.

Northern, we switched to freightliner medium duties. I haven't driven one. But my brother did as a engineer. He claims the difference was night and day. Lots of open grass land around town. There is no fear taking one of these medium duties where you don't want other equipment.
The f550, you were afraid they would bend in the middle.
City and county still use the smaller f550 equipped with less water and equipment designed too get onto areas others can't.
The freight liners are taller but about same length and width as the one pictures.
Open the hood and look at the massive engine and Trans. And you feel truly self sufficient.

As a first responder, I think that truck could be very useful, without even carrying a single gallon of water.

Super Dave,
There certainly are uses for it. But even hazardous waste response requires water. Also those beds weight a considerable amount. add five or six crew members plus their gear. Other gear. And the f550 can easily be over loaded.
Remember these trucks are rated empty. No bed. Subtract that huge bed and even 200 gallons of water and the additional fuel tank size. They are easily overloaded. A regular bed truck maybe a better option.
The freight liners are fast. And carry enough water to extinquish home fires with 1 1/2 Hose, with on board water in most cases.
Fast responses like that limit fire damage and saves lives

Unlike many one-off custom vehicles brought to auto shows, the 2012 F-550 is fully functional. Propelled by a 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel V-8 engine, the truck, with a 19,500-pound gross weight rating, features two thermal-imaging cameras, Doppler radar and a generator strong enough to power a small house, which can be used while the truck is in motion, Mr. Snyder said.

“We can raise a tower like the TV stations 37 feet into the air and can use thermal imaging to do searches of up to a half mile for heat sources,” he added. “Plus we have a high-rising night-vision camera that can be used day or night, and a set of oxygen tanks for backs.”

The truck is also outfitted with tires typically used for rock crawling, detachable 15,000-pound front winch bumpers, large video screens and about 113 different LED lights, which were useful in and around Arlington.

“They were used to light up either side of the street for tagging houses, checking them for condition or people who needed help,” Mr. Snyder said.

The truck’s handheld thermal imaging units were used for lighting, and tower imaging was used to scope out weather hot spots, Mr. Snyder said, adding that the truck was able to access areas that larger fire trucks could not. The F-550 hauled water, paint, gloves and other equipment for firefighters.

“We literally went to houses with nothing left but the basement,” he said. “This was something to me that was unbelievable, dead in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We looked at 124 homes that will be completely destroyed, what all was left.”

Sounds like the truck is set up more for search and rescue as opposed to fired suppression. Doppler radar and thermal imaging equipment plus generators will eat up some space. They do not mention water tank capacity. It must not be very large or were they refering to drinking water?

@Johnny Dose
I haven't seen any significant problems with any of the EMS units I've ever driven. In the mid "80's I had a Dodge Tradesman conversion die on me. Most of the problems I've ever encountered where related to the ambulance conversion itself. Problems with the electrical components for example. I did see a Chevy Ambulance dead on the side of the road 2 days ago. It looked like an electrical gremlin as well.

We have the medium duties at all stations along side the bigger engines. My brother worked 7 years before he was called to a fire were the two and a half inch hoses of a engine were pulled. The city has specialty vehicles for the type of instances where the one above would be used. I know there are a couple of hazardous waste trucks. But vehicals like those are not at stations. The crews are specialty t trained much like the crews at the airport have special training.
Empty that truck is eight thousand pounds. That leaves less than 12 thousand for load. When you start tossing on those wheels and tires that bed, wench and so on. You get over weight real quick.
As far as rock climbing over rubble. I wouldn't recomend it. To many nails and such that will just add those high dollar ties to the rubble pile. In that type of situation it's time to call in the dozer. We have a few of those handy for clearing grass and brush fires
Don't get me wrong. I think it is a great looking vehicle. You just have to understand it's limitations.
Vehicles in the station must be equipped to fight fires. They have to carry water.

I think it's a great concept car, its has functionality, its small, stylish with a host of great designs, and will surely bring an eye to the brand from the youth. The only question would be if it'll be too expensive for the target audience and if a possible product vehicle would be anything close to this design, not bland and boring.

Made in the U.S.A getting it done and saving lives, only Ford makes show trucks that can go from the showroom to hard work in the same day!

Or from the showroom to escaping the apocalypse in the same day!

Very nice vehicle..aside form having a bright color it has a good tool boxes also to place any types of vehicle tools..

The vehicle is really looking awesome!. Due to that dark red color its too cool and for making this one used heavy material as used in heavy trucks.

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