Built to Survive!
The Survivor Truck Can-Am Defender
At any moment in time, each and every one of us might find that we need a little help. That need for assistance can range from grandma needing a jar opened, to the extreme scenario of a lone hiker stuck out in the backcountry, leg broken, with no way to extract themselves from the unforgiving wilderness. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of the latter, fortunately there are groups of people that dedicate themselves to being ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and go; equipped with a deep knowledge of the land they are operating on, the proper tools and equipment, and the training required to know-how to utilize those tools.
These search and rescue organizations, crews, and individuals are all leaning more and more on UTVs as a tool for both search and extraction. They are lighter weight, more compact, and often are more maneuverable than their truck and suv counterparts. Starting with the right UTV, you’re able to build out these machines with everything needed to run a successful search and rescue operation, and this Survivor Truck Can-Am Defender built by Steve Ellis of Urban Garage in Prescott, AZ is a perfect example of what can be done when pure utility and extreme versatility are the main focus behind the build.
The 2017 Can-Am Defender is a perfect platform to start with when building a pure utility vehicle like this. The reliable and smooth power ensures that the rescuers don’t become the rescuees, and the factory equipped winch allows them to get over or through any obstacle that stands in the way of completing the mission. Add to that a set of Elka Suspension Stage 3 shocks that were specifically valved and sprung for the added weight of this rescuing machine to keep the ride smooth and under control, while putting the power to the ground is handled by the 30×9.5-14 STI Enduro XT/S tires wrapped around the durable STI HD9 Beadlock wheels. All of this together allows the crew to be comfortable and safe while saving their valuable energy for the potentially endless hours of searching that lay ahead.
As the search continues, the Survivor Truck Defender is equipped with many features that will not only help the crew find the patient quickly, but also makes them stand out so the patient can see and hear them coming. Feniex Industries supplied the emergency lighting with a Fusion Mini on the roof, Fusion 600 light bar on the front, and T3 surface mount lights on the corners. All of this works together through a single controller and floods the surrounding area with light, helping the crew see, while letting the patient know that help is on the way. This also lets bystanders know that they need to get out of the way for a quicker response time.
The Golight Stryker LED spotlight is mounted on the roof and controlled remotely from the cab, 370 degrees of rotation and 135 degrees of tilt allow the crew to really narrow down the search area making sure no nook or cranny of the environment goes unseen. Rigid Reflect mirrors help light the path ahead, while a 10” Rigid LED Scene bar floods the work area at the back of the Defender. A clear line of vision at night lets the driver move quickly and safely through the trails, and it’s clear to see that Steve at Urban Garage really thought this build through to be an effective search vehicle.
A massive amount of lighting is not the only way to find a person; as the crew navigates through the search area, the on board Power Bass sound bar doesn’t just play sweet tunes to keep them awake and moving, it also doubles as a PA system. Calling out to the patient lets them know someone is coming, and if able, they can yell back to help the crew find the exact position.
Once on scene, time is of the essence. The crew begins to evaluate the patient, looking to locate injuries and determine the level of treatment required prior to transport. Dropping the tailgate on the custom Urban Garage AZ bed gives the crew access to a full EMS med kit on board, enabling them to apply any time sensitive first aid that may be needed. Once the patient is stable, they can be loaded into the Sked Stretcher to ensure the body is secure for extraction. This custom bed was specifically designed to securely hold a full size person on the stretcher, letting the Can-Am do all the work transporting the patient out of the wilderness.
Taking it one step further, Urban Garage designed the bed to be extremely versatile with a full head rack that is home for the two Scott SCBA cylinders, as well as two fire extinguishers. With fires becoming an unfortunate normality on the west coast, the Survivor Build is a great way for fire crews to get the necessary supplies to the guys on the front lines. Light, agile and powerful, it will go more places than a full size truck could dream of, and with the SCBA cylinders attached to full face masks mounted in the cab, the crew can breathe easy as they head into the unknown.
Knowing that problems can arise while operations are underway, the custom bed is outfitted with two spare tires, as well at the equipment necessary to change them out quickly and efficiently. Extra space has been integrated into the bed to leave room for all the personal equipment, food and water, or mission specific supplies the crew may need for each individual operation. The fully stocked steel bed is mounted to an electric ram powered by a second Odyssey battery; it tilts back at the press of a button leaving the engine bay open and accessible, making it quick and easy to perform maintenance or repairs in the shop, or while out on the trail.
No matter if you are exploring nature by foot, UTV or 4×4, so many of us are looking for ways to escape the urban jungle. Breathing fresh clean air, soaking in the smog free sun rays and decompressing from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often forget that things can go horribly wrong. We are thankful that Firemen, Forest Service, Rangers, and Search and Rescue crews are there and prepared for the unexpected. With companies like Urban Garage creating custom vehicles like this one, you can rest assured that if the unexpected does arise there is help coming your way, and they are beyond prepared. We all need a little help sometimes…
This build is dedicated to Jim DeLozier (1967-2018)