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For several years the fire fighters in Silvis, Illinois, tried unsuccessfully to find funding for a Special Applications Vehicle (SAV) to fight grass fires and other community emergencies.
That's why when they recently received a SAV, donated by John Deere, it created so much excitement in the department, Silvis Fire Chief John Winters said.
"It was a great surprise to be presented with the SAV," Winters said. "John Deere has always been a great supporter of the local community and this, once again, shows the company's dedication and support of emergency services."
Winters said the vehicle will be used at controlled burns to ensure fires don't get out of control, to fight brush and grass fires, and it will be used to respond to emergencies at the annual John Deere Classic golf tournament.
"In the past, if there were a fire, it would have been necessary to drive a fire truck across the golf course," Winters explained. "With this SAV on site, hopefully, we can get to the fire and extinguish it prior to having the need for a full-sized fire engine."
Deere also recently donated SAVs to the Silvis Police Department and Unity Point Health, a hospital system in the Quad Cities, to help first responders do their jobs effectively.
The four passenger Police vehicle for the Silvis Police Department comes equipped with a fully enclosed Tektite HVAC cab, cargo bed, TOMAR emergency lighting suite, siren and PA.
"We had a missing child a couple of years ago—she was found—on one of our nature trails," said Silvis Police Chief Mark VanKlaveren. "This vehicle would have been perfect for this detail. We would allow other towns to use the vehicle for similar functions."
The EMT vehicle for Unity Point Health features an extended cargo bed designed to accommodate various full-length stretchers with an integrated L-Track for secure transport. Additionally, this SAV features an emergency lighting package, a forward-facing attendant seat with direct patient access and an integrated vehicle Occupant Protection System (OPS) to ensure the safety of all on-board passengers.
Adam Sowells, UnityPoint Health – Trinity EMS Systems Coordinator, said the vehicle will be used to provide emergency care at special events, such as the Quad Cities Marathon.
"This special John Deere SAV is truly a great solution in providing pre-hospital and emergency care," Sowells said. "It offers first responders the tools they need to quickly treat and transport patients to an appropriate site of care."
The Silvis Fire Department's vehicle features a uniquely designed extended cargo bed. The front of the bed houses a QTAC fire suppression skid while the rear of the bed allows for additional firefighting gear and equipment. Additionally, the Fire SAV comes equipped with emergency lighting and heavy-duty winch.
Winters said there was one thing he didn't expect and that was the SAV's fire-truck red color.
"I was surprised to see that it wasn't green," he said with a laugh.