Thanks in part to your generous donations, our new truck is now ready for rescues! Our old “Gray Ghost” Dodge Ram 1500 served us well, but it was eagerly awaiting its retirement and had one foot in the grave for a long time. We recently purchased this 2016 Ford F150 from a local dealership with 80,000 miles. Now that may sound like a lot of miles, but in reality we drive very few miles each year, so we expect to get at least 10 years of service out of this truck. It is very nice and powerful, with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 engine and 4-wheel drive, and is a welcome addition to our small fleet of vehicles.
Our budget dictates that we must always be mindful of our expenses, and we did the majority of the work to make this truck “rescue ready” ourselves. Our volunteers have varied backgrounds and experience, and this helps us to perform the variety of work required, including mechanical and electrical. Our team installed the trailer receiver, added the ladder rack, recycled emergency lights, sirens, controllers and radios, and wired everything up. The decals were purchased from Tracy at Oak Island Signs, and she donated her labor to install them. Thank you!
4482 is used by us for a variety of tasks. We normally store it disconnected from a boat at the station. This allows us to respond very quickly when the Oak Island Police Department or Oak Island Fire Department needs us to transport a patient off the beach. This is a common call we receive when a person on the beach needs medical transport and is unable to walk to the waiting ambulance. At the request of paramedics, we installed a 1″ heavy rubber mat in the bed to make it much more comfortable for the EMS workers, as well as the patient. We painted the mat white so that it does not soak up too much heat and is more visible at night. The ladder rack also provides a solid structure for police officers, firefighters, and our own team members to hold on to when the truck is moving, and will greatly enhance the safety of each first responder. In the past we had to be pretty creative to keep those in the back of the truck in the back of the truck, and not dumped on the road! We will also use this truck to tow our aluminum boat that is used for shallow water rescues, but can tow any of our boats with this vehicle. And since it is a quad-cab, it will be very helpful in cases when we need to transport up to 5 of our team members to a scene.
So, here is the new truck! Look for it on the beach or road near you soon.