In 1925, our founder, William S. Darley, met with Henry Ford in a historic meeting where they struck a deal that allowed our company to build a fire truck on a Ford Model T chassis. The first of hundreds began rolling off our production line in Chicago in 1926. This fire truck disrupted the market by offering a vehicle at a price less than 50% of the price of the custom-built firetrucks like American LaFrance, Ahrens Fox, Mack, REO Speed Wagon, etc., and is on display at our corporate headquarters in Itasca, IL.
Almost 100 years later, Darley and Ford have partnered again, this time with a state-of-the-art command vehicle that is helping to connect wildland firefighters on the scene with specialized technologies including LTE communications blending, satellite communications, mesh network, in-vehicle power system, edge computing, interactive tablet devices, first responder and asset tracking, VTOL drone, video streaming, modular roof rack system, and more.
The vehicle, based on a 2023 Ford Bronco Badlands with the Sasquatch off-road package, was donated by Ford through its Bronco Wild Fund endowment to the National Park Service (NPS) in Bandelier National Monument to help protect Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico.
The command vehicle will allow NPS firefighters to communicate more effectively and coordinate their efforts more efficiently when responding to wildfire risks in Bandelier National Monument. The vehicle’s mobile command center serves as a reliable command and communications hub to conduct operations.
“It was critical that we created a platform that is resilient and offers enhanced communication capabilities,” said Darley COO Peter Darley. “Wildland firefighters and disaster area first responders have a lot on their task list so we designed the system to ensure they can maintain consistent communications
no matter where they are in the country without worrying about which network is working.”
The donation of the vehicle is part of Ford’s ongoing commitment to supporting wildland firefighting efforts. “We know that wildfires are a growing threat, and we are committed to doing our part to help communities stay safe,” said Dave Rivers, Ford enthusiast brand manager. “This donation is just one example of how we are working to support wildland firefighting efforts.” Darley is working with Ford on a second vehicle (recipient to be announced). Preview the vehicle here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFMCBAtjnT4