The “Shining City Upon a Hill” Gets a Shiny New Mobile Command Center

Boston Fire Department’s New Mobile Command Center is a Testament to Teamwork
Written in collaboration with the Boston Fire Department
July, 2021

Boston is a city full of amazing sights, rich history, and attractions to be enjoyed. Visit Fenway Park, one of baseball’s oldest active ballparks in the country, and get a close-up of the famed Green Monster. Enjoy a brew at Cheers while sitting on Norm’s stool. Do you want to try the local delicacies of Beantown? Crack open a fresh lobster claw, dive into some New England clam chowder, or enjoy a helping of those famous baked beans. Maybe you’re interested in history! Take a walk down the Black Heritage Trail, the Freedom Trail, or the Path of the Presidents and learn about one of America’s oldest municipalities. Not only is it home to many historical landmarks and innovations, is also serves as the state’s capital and is the most populated city in Massachusetts.

Likewise, the Boston Fire Department is currently the largest municipal fire department in New England, serving almost 700,000 people within a 47-square-mile area. Boston FD has always been a trailblazer whether they are updating their technology or adjusting their protocols as times change. For instance, did you know Boston FD was the first paid fire department in the United States? Recently, the fire department worked with LDV to create a new mobile command center to better coordinate efforts during response calls while on scene.

Previously, Boston FD had utilized an LDV-built trailer for communications. With growing staff and equipment needs, the department started investigating other options, such as moving into a larger vehicle. Other departments around the area have used LDV to build custom vehicles for their needs, which led Boston to see what LDV could offer as far as a mobile command center.

“Boston’s team members had some specific needs with the truck. We offered some solutions and ideas they may not have considered. We collaborated with them throughout the design process so they walked away with the vehicle they wanted and had everything they needed to be successful while out on a call.” – Chris Coulter, LDV Mechanical Designer

Pre-COVID, members of Boston’s staff were able to visit LDV’s Burlington, Wisconsin facility, giving them the ability to work in person with LDV to sketch out the design of the vehicle. This proved to be an advantage as Boston FD’s vehicle was built throughout the pandemic. Boston’s Radio Supervisor, Joe Brooks, believes the timing of their tour and the tour itself gave them a great start on their project.

“We traveled to LDV’s facility which is immaculate and so well organized. Not only did we get to see other mobile command centers at various stages of the build process, but we also got to speak with the LDV staff working on them. Everyone at LDV is very good at their job and took the time to explain what they were doing in each particular truck. It was a very impressive operation and tour.” – Joe Brooks, Boston FD Radio Supervisor

During their tour of LDV’s facility, Boston began collecting ideas from other mobile command centers at different stages of the build process. This tour was followed by a day with LDV’s CAD designers, who impressed with their ability to quickly update drawings and make suggestions that Boston FD hadn’t even considered for their mobile command center.

“This process is nothing like buying a car. You do that maybe, what, once every five or six years? For a mobile command center, it’s typically twenty to thirty years before we buy a new one, so we weren’t as familiar with what new and different features are available, unlike your team who gave us great suggestions that we hadn’t even considered for our vehicle.” – Joe Brooks

By the end of their trip, Boston FD was able to walk away with CAD drawings and a complete vision of their new mobile command center.

One of the must-haves for Boston Fire’s new mobile command center was a functional layout for the staff to work within. This meant making sure there was a divide between the conference and communications rooms. The communications room features corner communications stations between the workstations on each side of the vehicle, providing easy access to radios and eliminating the need to mount them under the cabinets.

In the conference room, there are flip-down bench seats, a corner workstation, and multiple spider-base task chairs that flank a fixed conference table, making the space ideal for collaboration between team members. With two sections serving two different functions, the ability to separate them from each other was incredibly important. With the added feature of magnetic closure pocket doors on a heavy-duty track, this makes privacy easy to achieve.

“The communications room can get very loud with a lot going on, and we didn’t want them to have to compete with other staff trying to have a meeting. We wanted to make sure there was a way for us to separate those two areas if needed. The way the vehicle is laid out is perfect for this.” – Joe Brooks

Boston FD was adamant about including LDV’s exclusive flat-floor slide-outs to maximize the interior space of the vehicle as well. With previous vehicles purchased from other manufacturers, slide-outs had proven to be an issue with some even requiring to be bolted in for use. With LDV’s flat-floor slide-outs, Boston FD not only has a smooth floor to work on but can deploy the slide-outs with the touch of a button on LDV’s Intel-I-Touch™ vehicle automation system. Intel-I-Touch consolidates numerous systems into one touchscreen, providing the ability to start up and shutdown the vehicle with the touch of a button.

Boston FD is excited to emerge post-pandemic so they can use the vehicle for different events they had planned, such as showing it off at the next regional command post rally. Their mobile command center is a great example of customizing a fire apparatus to fit their organization’s needs and will serve their municipality for years to come.

“Boston Fire Department has an exceptional new mobile command center that is going to serve their community well. It was an honor to get to work with one of the most admired fire departments in the country and provide them with a beautiful new vehicle,” – Dan Schwabe, Sales Specialist

Take a walk through this impressive mobile command center ⬇️