So the adventure continues for me in the Logistics Section for my department. An old Fire Captain, turned loose in the office. What a concept. The latest research I had to do was spec-ing out a new Tahoe and Suburban for our line Battalion Chief's in regard to both communications equipment and emergency lighting. I'm starting from scratch here but have just completed the R&D on the components and it's that info that I am sharing with you today... Failure to prepare is preparing for failure... Hopefully, I've my homework here. Please feel free to send your thoughts on this design which was developed by one of our best field Battalion Chief's. This post includes both the materials listing (sans any labor costs) and what the vehicle looks like using these components. This vehicle is designed to be a working vehicle and in my opinion is a very strong design model for others to copy. TCSS, SB Mike

Santa Barbara County Fire Department Battalion Chief's Command Vehicle

Add On's for Communications, Lighting, Command and Control...

Headliner Mounted Mini-Speaker for Scanner
Havis-Shields Co. Center Console (
*You need to also order a mounting bracket and trak mount for the console.
Console Add-Ons: Map Light, (2) 12-volt power sources and install two radio heads, unitrol siren control and radio frequency scanner (with 800mHz capability).
Rear Lift Gate Hatch: Installed LED Amber Warning Lights (only visible when hatch is open)
Grill Lights Red/Red Split
Side Lights (2) on Front Fenders
Headlight Flasher Unit
Kenwood Radio 12-volt Charger
Bendix King Radio 12-volt Charger
Cole Hersee Dual Battery Selector and Disconnector Switch
Battery Cables (25-feet estimated for hook-up)
Lug Nut Ends (6) attached to the Cables
Kenwood TK-790 UHF Mobile Radios (2) with Control Heads (Front & Back)
Unitrol Siren and Emergency Lighting Control Unit
Bearcat Trunk Tracker Scanner
and more...




This is what we will be using in the future for command boxes. One important point to consider about these (and why we have to wait and budget for them) is that they cost >$3,000.00 each. But they are worth every penny. You get what you pay for here. I am sure many of you have been using these for years.

Views: 8404

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Sorry to have missed the previous text--I haven't actually seen this in use yet, but will keep my eyes open. I'll try to forward you a photo if I find a rig that has this.

Nice set-up. Looks like most of the interior work was done by a crafty firefighter? How is all of it mounted and bolted down in case of a rollover?

We have the same set-up less the front wood box betweeen the seats in a Suburban as well. Our rear working Command Center is a commercially built workstation but basically the same idea. We have the LED warning lights on the bottom of the lift gate for rear warning, a LED night light mounted on the inside of the rear door to allow more working light for night ops. And the rear canopy for added protection from the weather.

Question: Whats up with the light bar on that modern rig? Did that get moved from another rig? I would have expected a high end low profile light bar from CalFire

While the photos depict a full back seat, the area behind the rear seat and in front of the command box easily holds the PPE and SCBA should three people or something else be required to be put in the rear bench seat. Driving our two most distant stations takes roughly 02:45 hours. There is a distinct comfort factor involved here. The vehicle that you describe would be cool for our departments Logistics Officer. I would appreciate seeing what the slide out looks like and how you set it up. Why reinvent the wheel? Who knows, maybe we will change from Suburban''s to trucks... Thanks so much for the input. ms
The Battalion Chief who designed the car is also a contractor... Everything is well thought out. You ask an excellent question about rollover protection. These command boxes are custom built and installed / mounted to the flooring and side areas of the rear and onto the floorboard in the front.

The new BC Vehicles will have the additional LED's in the rear hatch and a light for night ops in the middle of the rear interior headliner area. Haven't seen a rear canopy, but it's an awesome idea, specially when it's raining.

* Do you use it for shade as well?
* How long does it take to set up?
* How much room does it take up for storage?
* How much does it cost?
* How do you secure the bottom of the rear canopy to the ground?
* How do you mounted it to the rear hatch and rear of the vehicle?
* Are there permanent attachment points?
* Have they held up well?

Also, we are not CalFire, we are a contract county with CalFire responsibilities in the state owned lands. That being said, the opinion in these days of budget justifications ended up retiring the old BC vehicle and taking the equipment off of it and putting it on the new one. Things are getting pretty slim lately and it was purely a fiscal decision. The new BC vehicle and those constructed thereafter will all have the newer more "flashy" bling style lightbar...

Any chance you can post a photo of:

1. Interior LED Work Light to show how much light it puts out. Here's an example of the light output for the one that I specified for the rear compartment.

2. Rear hatch LED Warning Lights.

* Do you use only Amber colored LED warning lights on the hatch or do you include Red or both?
* Can you post a photo showing where you mounted the LED lights?
* Can you post a photo showing the lights working at night?

I know I'm asking a lot here but a new standard is being made and I'd like to be able to use your data to justify what I am trying to accomplish here.

Thanks brother. SB Mike
The Battalion Chief who was assigned this vehicle did the design, layout and supervised where both communications and lighting equipment was placed. This included the organization and stocking of his personal gear as well all the "chief stuff" he needs to have on hand. SB Mike
Does he ever have to take this vehicle off road for anything?

If he does you might want to think about putting a winch on it we put one on our brush truck that mounts in a tail hitch and can be moved to the front if needed.
I also noticed the flash light the flash light next to the scba and was wondering if you have a charge mounted in the vehicle for it?
Good eye turkman! I now have noted that I did not spec a rechargeable flashlight for the new rig. And as for the winch, I would like to eventually see all the burbs provided with a front crashbar that has room for some off road lighting and perhaps a winch. I don't think they want to have that much weight but it's a great discussion item. Thank you so much for you input here. It is very much appreciated. ms
Mike, as promised here is a pic of my car's radio set-up. I haven't had a chance yet to label the radios.

HAHAHAHA... Sorry I couldn't help it.

Here's the inside of "Air Force One" as some of my fellow members have dubbed my ride.

First picture shows the basic installation using the Havis Shields console made specifically for the 2003 Explorer. There are three radios covering low band, VHF and UHF frequency ranges. Low band mic is on the drivers’ side. The UHF speaker is just above the floor while the low band speaker is “temporarily” mounted to the siren faceplate because the original one burned out. Light control is accomplished by the Able 2 switchbox seen just behind the wheel. This controls the roof mini-bar, grill lights and headlight flashers individually. Since all radios are configured for ignition switch control, the 4th switch position turns the radio equipment on and off without the need for a key in the ignition.

The second pic shows the mess from the passenger side. Microphones are UHF, VHF and PA from left to right with the VHF speaker mounted just above the floor. Just today I added the switched cigarette lighter outlet on the top right of the console to run the Garmin unit on the dashboard. Also note the black binder in the driver’s door pocket; this is “the book” containing pre-plans, master address file and maps of adjoining districts. The corresponding pocket on the passenger door contains a NYS drivers’ manual and the 2008 ERG. (Also the 2004 version since I can’t bear to recycle it just yet.)

The third pic shows a top view of the console. The top (low band) and bottom (UHF) radios can be configured as a cross-band repeater link by pressing the RPT buttons on the respective control heads. Any programmed LB frequency can be repeated on any programmed UHF channel, and vice versa, as the situation demands.

Finally, I was hoping to do some work on the garden today, but I couldn’t really find it. I think it’s somewhere in this picture:

The horizontal structures are leftover 2 x 10 boards with about 6 inches of snow on top. Think it’s too early to plant the carrots? :o)
Very nice install, Ted. Very clean. Is the mobile a remote mount or did you recess it into the console?
Real Firemen Drive BIG RED TRUCKS

Reply to Discussion


FireRescue Magazine

Find Members Fast

Or Name, Dept, Keyword
Invite Your Friends
Not a Member? Join Now

© 2018   Created by Firefighter Nation WebChief.   Powered by

Badges  |  Contact Firefighter Nation  |  Terms of Service