Reaching New Heights in Emergency Response Vehicles

Arlington Heights Fire Department Enlists LDV for Twin Custom Equipment Vehicles

When the Arlington Heights Fire Department needed a custom specialty vehicle manufacturer to build two new equipment vehicles for their department, they enlisted LDV to bring their vision to life. We leveraged our unparalleled design and manufacturing expertise to create two highly-customized equipment vehicles to assist the AHFD at different scenes including fire, EMS, and special teams rescues among others.


Built on Ford F-550 gasoline XL crew cab 4×4 chassis, the aluminum body of each vehicle was fabricated from scratch as were the custom heavy-duty running boards, aluminum rear bumper with Diamondback serrated plank tread surface, and the cab console for electrical distribution equipment and controls. The main challenge LDV faced with these vehicles was designing around the fire department’s equipment storage needs while maintaining the intended use of the vehicle. Multiple designs were created to determine if the design reflected how the tools are used and not just how they fit within a storage compartment. Every inch of each vehicle is accounted for with tools grouped together according to emergency scenes they are used at.

“These were very customer-driven projects. The department had specific requirements for each compartment. Tools and equipment are grouped together based on the type of rescue call. We then designed and built the trucks to be exactly what they needed.” – Andy Waag, Product Design & Development Engineer


While the main purpose of the vehicles is to house AHFD’s various tools, they also need to accommodate their staff. The crew cab of the vehicle was reconfigured by removing the backseats to make room for a divider. This created separate compartments for items such as the staff hats, coats, and other personal equipment they use on a scene. Other compartments inside the cab house emergency medical service equipment that must be temperature controlled including monitors and suction bags. Multiple 110-volt outlets provide electricity for extra lighting, electronics, laptops, phones, and special tools. Due to volume concerns with the custom Grover Air Horns, it was decided to outfit them under the 12,000lb. Warn™ M12-S Heavyweight heavy-duty winch affixed on the front of the vehicle. Dual telescoping light poles are affixed to the front of the box and raise quickly to illuminate the area while a complete emergency light and siren package was also integrated.

“Firefighters know how they need to use the tools. We designed the truck around how they use them; not just how the tools will fit.” – Nate Petersen, Sales Engineer

An underbody pull-out diamond plate step has been integrated into each side of the custom body. Enclosed in an aluminum cassette, these steps help staff safely reach equipment stored higher in the compartments. Custom-fabricated vertical slide-out tool boards and aluminum box pans shelves create easy access while grouping together tools based on the type of emergency they assist with. Interior compartments have been coated with Zolatone™ for protection while areas that are more heavily used have been coated with Line-X™ for durability. On the rear of the vehicles, dual doors open to water rescue equipment storage as well as an aluminum box pan tray. The 43” flip down step has been configured so the step is low, allowing staff to easily step up onto the vehicle while providing access to the tools above. Adjustable shelving allows the department to adapt the compartments to new tools they acquire in the future.

“This vehicle is utilized for all facets of emergency response for AHFD. The personnel will be responding to special teams needs, accidents involving extrication, fires and special EMS calls.” – Scott Remer, Senior SSV Sales Specialist

The dual equipment vehicles created for the Arlington Heights Fire Department demonstrate the AHFD’s attention to detail and LDV’s impeccable design and fabrication capabilities. Learn more about these highly-customized specialty vehicles and others by visiting our website or speaking with a sales specialist to find out more information.