HISTORY OF REHAB 255

Washington County Emergency Rehab 255 is a support unit manned by volunteers.  This unit responds out to emergency incidents supplying food, drink and rehab support to EMS crews on the scene.  We supply assistance to Fire & EMS personnel as well as Police on extended incidents.

   
1970'S Washington County’s Rehab 255 has been serving the community since 1985; but it’s history dates back into the mid 1970’s.  Back then a loosely knit group of volunteers from local businesses manned an old bread truck from Manbeck Bread in Hagerstown as a  food service truck.  This truck was taken out to serve coffee and sandwiches on long incidents.  With lack of participation from the original volunteers, use of the unit died out and the truck was placed in to storage for nearly ten years.
   
1985

In the mid 1980’s, a group of volunteers from Hagerstown REACT approached the Washington County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association with plans of reviving the concept of the original food unit.  Starting in October of 1985 the original truck was placed in-service as Unit 255.  Hagerstown React Volunteers ran the unit under direction of the Fire & Rescue Association with 13 members.  The unit did not have a station of it’s own.  The Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway allowed 255 to use a bay in their old fire station on Lexington Avenue now known as their Social Hall.  Unit 255 ran it’s first call on October 28th in 1985.

   
1986 In 1986 Unit 255 was under direction of Chief J.C. Horn appointed by the Fire & Rescue Association.
   
1989 In 1989, a change was called for.  With changes to the Social Hall in Halfway, the unit needed a new home.  At this point the unit was kept at Washington County Civil Defense Company 28 located on Frederick Street in Hagerstown.  The unit was kept outside at the station in their parking lot.
   
1990

In 1990, members began planning for the replacement of the first unit.  The original truck ran for 5 years before being replaced by a former food service vehicle previously used by Howard County.  The volunteers put in many hours to prepare the new unit for service as Unit 255.  In September of 1990 the unit was ready and was placed in-service.  With the additional resources added to the new unit, Unit 255 personnel along with Company 28 officers worked together to back room in a back bay so the unit could be moved into the building.

   
1991

In 1991, the volunteers moved forward within the Fire & Rescue Association.  Before this they were simply a committee within the association.  This was the year for change.  On January 20 of 1991 the first set of officers were elected to Unit 255 including the election of Chief J.C. Horn.

   
1994 In 1994, personnel were noticing problems structurally with the current unit they were running.  Planning between the members of Unit 255 and the Fire & Rescue Association began planning.  The Washington County Fire & Rescue Association authorized the freezing of all of the remaining operating budgets totaling in the amount of $24,000.  This amount along with a donation from the Association’s account of $16,000 was authorized to be used in the emergency purchase of a new unit to replace Unit 255.
   
  On March 11th of 1994 the food service truck from Howard County was placed out of service.  Due to structural and mechanical problems the vehicle was unsafe to use.  Rehab personnel along with the Fire & Rescue Association began work to find a replacement for Unit 255.  For the next four months, volunteers from Washington County Civil Defense Company 28 stepped up to assist Rehab Personnel allowing them to continue serving the County.  WCCD Co.28 would supply a unit with a driver allowing Rehab 255 to supply food and drinks to emergency personnel.
   
  On March 13th of 1994 the Association purchased a Jayco Recreational Vehicle.  The unit was stripped of all unnecessary furnishings.  The unit was then modified and retrofitted with emergency lights along with additional counter space, a refrigerator, freezer, soda machine and a coffee maker.  As work was done to retrofit the unit it self, changes were also taking place in the mission statement of it’s purpose.
   
  On July 5th of 1994 the members of 255 and the Fire & Rescue Association placed the Jaco RV in-service as Rehab Unit 255.   From this point on the unit began taking on new meaning.  To most of the firefighters in Washington County the unit has been known as “THE FOOD UNIT” or “THE BURGER BUGGY” for years.  Now the unit was starting down the path of being able to supply support to EMS on the scene.   The Washington County Commissioners formally dedicated the unit on August 2nd in 1994.
   
1997

On August 29th of 1997, Rehab 255 personnel would face a new change with a new home.  The Rehab Unit was relocated to Washington County Emergency Services Air Unit 25’s Station located on York Road in Halfway.  After sharing a home with Company 28 for over seven years, the Rehab Unit needed to relocate.

   
1999

In January of 1999, Rehab 255 elected a new Chief to head up the department.  Chief Terry Smith took over command of the unit.  Terry led the group as call volumes began to grow higher each year.  Over the years the call volume has gone from four calls in the first year to an average now between 60 and 80 calls a year.

   
2008 In August of 2008, Rehab Officers and Fire & Rescue Association began their planning into a new rehab unit.  Officers met on and off through out the year researching different style trucks and checking with different manufacturers to see what can be done.  Officers used their knowledge gained over the past 14 years running as a Rehab Unit to design this unit specific to their needs on emergency incidents. 
   
2009 On September 17th of 2009, The Washington County Fire & Rescue Association placed an order for a Freightliner rig through Krammes Kustom Body out of St. Claire Pennsylvania.  After bids came in from different companies, Krammes was able to work with the specs put together by the officers of Rehab 255.  Some of the specs included an exterior bathroom, water tank locations as well as the placement of a refrigerator and freezer units along with a bottle cooler. 
   
2010 In June of 2010, Krammes Kustom Body took delivery of the 2011 Freightliner Chassis.  Washington County Fire & Rescue President Glen Fishack traveled up to St. Claire to inspect the newly deliver truck.  With deliver of the truck comes final planning and designing for the new unit.  Rehab Officer met multiple times with Krammes to finalize the body designs keeping in mind future expansion on unit needs.
   
 

On September 29th of 2010, Officers from Rehab 255 traveled to St. Claire to see the progress of the new Rehab Unit.  They got their first look at the new unit prior to the pain or fabrication of the box area of the unit.  The officer sat down one last time with Krammes and finalized their design of their expectations for the unit.

   
  On November 30th of 2010, President Fishack from the Association along with Assistant Chief William King traveled to St. Clair Pennsylvania one last time for a final inspection of the unit, which was 95% complete. 
   
  On December 10th of 2010, The Washington County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association took deliver of the new Rehab 255.  Upon delivery of the unit it was taken to Advanced Graphix located in Chambersburg Pennsylvania.  Advanced Graphix was selected to handle all striping of the new unit and applied all lettering and graphics including the new logo for the rehab unit designed by 255’s EMS Lieutenant Dixie Pierce. 
   
2011 On January 1st of 2011, the command of Chief was passed on from Terry Smith to Bryan Stallings.  Terry Smith stepped down after 12 years as Chief of 255 and continued to serve as Assistant Chief
   
  On January 16th of 2011, Officers and Members of Rehab 255 were proud to announce that the new Rehab 255 was in-service at 18:00 hours that evening.  The 2011 Freightliner is equipped with commercial grade kitchen equipment, misting fans, cooling chairs, pop-up tent along with food and drinks.  The unit is also powered by a 20kw generator and equipped with power awnings on both sides of the unit.