RONKONKOMA, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- When you spend your day on the road, your car, truck or van becomes your mobile command vehicle. It must provide the same – or better – tools and performance as your office, station or warehouse. Professionals who spend their lives serving the public need reliable vehicles built for their specific requirements; but that's not how cars, trucks or vans come off the lot. Traditional "stock" vehicles require technology and vehicle hardware retrofitting or "upfitting" to transform them into powerful, rugged police and sheriff's cars, field service trucks, fire chief SUVs and first-responder vehicles. Island Tech Services (ITS) (www.itsg.us.com), a leading provider of advanced technology, mobility and vehicle solutions, has created a Mobile Vehicle Upfitting Checklist to enable first responders, fire fighters, field service techs and law enforcement officers to asses the considerations necessary for incorporating vehicle solutions in their work to increase performance, efficiency and security.
"The process of developing the perfect mobile command vehicle begins with a discussion about the purpose for the vehicle and the needs of the driver and passengers," says Robert Gronenthal, CEO and Partner at Island Tech Services (ITS). "Some vehicles, like fire chief's cars, may serve double-duty as family SUVs during most of the week until called upon to report to an emergency."
Shelter Island Fire Department Gets an Upfit
That was the case for the Shelter Island Fire Department. The name says it all – it is sheltered from the rest of Long Island. While it's is a wonderful place to live and visit, you must first drive to the end of Long Island, and then take a 10-minute ferry ride from either the North or South Fork to get there. This often means the department must rely on its own team and gear for emergencies.
The Shelter Island Fire Department provided ITS with a stock, 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe – essentially a blank canvas – and ITS delivered a complete command vehicle for all-around coverage when responding to any emergency. The vehicle upfitting included installing a new LED lightbar, grill lights, headlight flashers, intersector lights, taillights, running board lights, rear quarter glass lights, trunk lighting and tail lights – ITS also installed a siren with siren control and speaker. That enabled the community to see and hear the fire chief in action. Inside, ITS installed a command box, radios and antennas, plus an aftermarket console with cupholders and lock box, and security system.
"ITS delivered to us a full-powered command vehicle that enables the Shelter Island Fire Department to better serve our community, while being connected to mainland Long Island even though we're physically separated," says Stanley Beckwith, Fire Chief, Shelter Island Fire Department.
Mobile Vehicle Upfitting Checklist
Gronenthal suggests, when seeking vehicle retrofits or vehicle upfitting, make sure the contractor you select can complete these seven simple guidelines for creating the ultimate mobile office on wheels:
- Make it functional. A design consultation is the first step for most vehicle upfits. During this meeting, provide your contractor with a list of your requirements. For law enforcement, will the vehicle be single operator or dual operator? Will your mobile computer need to be dash-mounted or removable tablet? Will you require mobile printing? How many radios will you require? Are there other special needs, like heart monitors, AEDs, drug bags, collars and boards in an ambulance? "Take your time in discussing the specific requirements of your vehicles," says Gronenthal.
- Make it safe. The vehicle must be safe for both driver and passengers. Technology, like rugged laptops, durable tablets and radios or specific hardware, like trauma kits or vertical-mount gun racks, must be properly installed to minimize movement or injuring passengers when a vehicle suddenly stops.
- Make it ergonomic. The inclusion of technology in a vehicle, whether vehicle-mounted or portable must be easy to store, easy to carry and unobtrusive when driving. It must use available space well. "You don't want a laptop jabbing you in the ribs all day and you don't want someone to have to twist or turn too much to view a screen or use a keyboard or printer," says Gronenthal.
- Make it reliable. All equipment incorporated in a vehicle upfit must be weather resistant, rugged or durable; it must operate under temperature changes or vibration. "A mobile command vehicle is not the place for delicate, home technology," says Gronenthal.
- Make it productive. When deciding on client-based or vehicle-based data connectivity options, consider whether the Vehicle Area Network created will be able to support multiple devices and its range of use – that is, how far can you take a device away from a vehicle and still be able to connect. If the vehicle must provide printing of invoices, reports or receipts, consider the power, connectivity and space requirements.
- Make it comprehensive. Your vehicle upfitting contractor must provide comprehensive computer and vehicle integration capabilities that are inclusive of service and support. "One of the greatest frustrations for many customers is when the tech guy needs to update something that affects the vehicle or the vehicle guy needs to repair something that affects the tech," says Gronenthal.
- Respond on-site. Your vehicle upfitting contractor must provide on-site service capabilities. They should be able to go to your vehicle location to make most common hardware repairs or equipment upgrades. "You don't want to waste precious vehicle in-service time transporting your vehicles back and forth to a contractor's off-site repair shop," says Gronenthal.
"There is much more to a vehicle upfitting then putting a lightbar on top of a car and decaling the doors. These are field-ready, mobile command vehicles that are often involved in your community emergencies," says Gronenthal. "Performance, safety and reliability are absolute requirements."
Want to Learn More?
- ITS offers a complete range of vehicle solutions that bring the power of your office to your vehicle. Learn more at http://ow.ly/Dcsw30gsaY9.
- Learn about the pros and cons of client-based and vehicle-based data connectivity options at http://ow.ly/FNEA30gsb2H.
About Island Tech Services
Island Tech Services (ITS) (www.itsg.us.com), is a leading provider of advanced technology, mobility and vehicle solutions to business professionals, first responders and public-sector employees throughout the country. For nearly 20 years, we have helped customers incorporate technology in their work to increase performance, efficiency and security. Our comprehensive and integrated technologies and services span from headquarters, to field techs, to command vehicles. For more information about ITS, please contact us at 888-614-2770 or visit http://www.itsg.us.com/
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SOURCE Island Tech Services