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Red Cross unveils new emergency vehicle

Photo: John Wojcik, KSL Newsradio

SALT LAKE CITY — A new emergency vehicle has been unveiled in Salt Lake City, but it may not be staying here for long.

The Red Cross showcased a new ERV, or Emergency Relief Vehicle, at Brigham Young Historic Park Thursday afternoon.

The purchase of the state-of-the-art disaster relief vehicle was made possible through a donation by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The vehicle is intended to be a mobile feeding and delivery center in times of crisis.

Unfortunately, Utah is not immune to natural disaster.

“We’ve had major flooding, we’ve had wildfires,” explains Rich Woodruff, Red Cross Director of Communications. “So when you have those big events you need these vehicles to be ready and able to go assist as needed.”

While the vehicle will be stationed locally, officials say it can hit the road in any direction when needed.

“This particular one stays in Salt Lake [City], but is available for immediate deployment anywhere in the United States,” says Woodruff.

In fact, one of those circumstances could be arising this week.

“As we speak with a Hurricane threat looming off the coast of Florida, it’s very likely this particular vehicle could in fact be sent over there to help in the relief operations,” he says.

The vehicle is larger than the previous model, in order to help feed more people at once. Even with the increased size, the ERV is able to move around better in harsh conditions.

“So when you get into disaster areas, neighborhoods with lots of debris, what you have is a vehicle that is a lot more easy to navigate through some of these obstacles and get to the people that need the help,” says Woodruff.

According to him, 100 out of 297 total vehicles have been updated to the current ERV model.

Their goal is to eventually have the entire fleet updated.