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Chicago Auto Show concept comes to the rescue

Posted by: Mark Bilek

If you happened by the Ford Exhibit at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, no doubt you saw the F-550 Super Duty Rescue Truck. After a flurry of tornadoes devastated the Dallas area on April 3, Ford pressed the Rescue Truck into service.

Called the F-550 Super Duty Rescue Truck, the rig was built ground-up from Ford's cab and chassis for the Chicago auto show, held in February, to generate interest in Ford's commercial trucks. Since then, it had been making the rounds at events around Texas. Just a week before the tornadoes struck, the F-550 was on display at a rodeo in Houston.

Unlike many one-off custom vehicles brought to auto shows, the 2012 F-550 is fully functional. With a 19,500-pound gross weight rating, the Rescue Truck features two thermal-imaging cameras, Doppler radar and a generator strong enough to power a small house, which can be used while the truck is in motion.

Check out these quotes that first appeared in a New York Times article.

"We were scared when we took it out there, because it had never been driven more than three miles," Brad Snyder, vice president of marketing for NewScope Marketing, the branding and design company that customized the truck for Ford Motor, said. "It came through with flying colors."

"We had set up our command post there because we needed to evacuate 150 patients," Darryl Whitfield, who manages disaster services for the City of Arlington, said in a telephone interview. "The truck pulled up - I had no idea why it was there - and it looked like our truck. They said they were there to give us assistance."

"We can raise a tower like the TV stations 37 feet into the air and can use thermal imaging to do searches of up to a half mile for heat sources," he added. "Plus we have a high-rising night-vision camera that can be used day or night, and a set of oxygen tanks for backs."

The truck was deployed for 10 hours, until 2 a.m.

Check out the full story here: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/ford-show-truck-is-drafted-into-service-after-texas-tornadoes/

2012 Ford F 550 Rescue Truck

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