Appendix B - EMERGENCY! Trivia
D5W is a mixture of Dextrose (5%) and Water
TKO is To Keep Open, or basically a saline solution run just enough to keep
going, making things easier for the docs when they get to the hospital and
want to start other drugs because they won't have to find a vein, etc.
Amps of sodium bicarb, IS ampules of sodium bicarbonate. It's used to treat
Now tell me what engine they were restoring for a parade (third
season?), which was subsequently destroyed at the scene of a
Which dummy script-writer decided they wouldn't carry a portable?
Let's be fair here -- the script was written in 1973 or so.
I don't know for certain, but I don't think a lot of LACoFD
paramedics carried HTs with them when they were off-duty in 1973,
when commercial-grade portables came in two types -- HT's
(commonly known as "bricks" because they were larger than a brick
and about the same weight) and the PT "lunchboxes." The HT had a
nominal battery life of 2-4 hours (squelched down, no-transmit),
and the PT had 3-5 hours (the big-box radio used on-scene in
Emergency was a PT in a different case). Either type cost the
equivalent of $800 or $1000 today.
In fact, during that same period, my father was a homicide
detective with LA County Sheriff's Dept, and they only issued him
a radio when he had a specific need for one, because there were a
limited number of them. If the law-enforcement agency couldn't
afford spares to give to on-call detectives, it's unlikely that
the FD would have had one to give a couple of off-duty paramedics
going to drive in a parade!
Hope you have a copy of "The Paramedics", a JEMS book from
about 1979 that has all kinds of stuff about the show.
(Actually, I think it was published by the folks that did
"Paramedics International", which became JEMS in the 1980's.)
Mayfair ambulance, if I remember right, was the commercial ambulance company used on
There never was a Mayfair ambulance company in SoCal. The vehicles
you saw during the entire run of EMERGENCY! were from the film
rental unit of CHASCO (California Hearse and Ambulance Sales Company),
a division of Van Nuys, CA based Snyder Ambulance. The Mayfair signs
were attached by the property department at Universal Pictures Television.
I worked as an EMT for Snyder and had a couple of film car assignments, but
long after EMERGENCY!.
FYI: CHASCO film car units were (along with Schaefer) used regularly in
CHiP's and many other popular series of the era.
Appendix C - EMERGENCY! Equipment Manifest
The following information is excerpted from the EMERGENCY! Equipment Manifest, compiled by Paul Keenleyside <firstname.lastname@example.org> with some information provided by George Ashley and Mike Myers. Used with permission of the author.
Emergency! Equipment Manifest - a spotter's guide to the cool equipment.
Consolidated from e-mails, observances and memory.
The information comes from many sources and is also based on personal
EMERGENCY! EQUIPMENT AND APPARATUS
ENGINE 51 (1972 to 1974)
The first Engine 51 was 1965 Crown Firecoach 1000 gpm pumper unit which
was an actual unit assigned to the LaCoFD as Engine 60. The Firecoach
with her trademark front and overall "looks like a fire engine should"
looks was the "stereotypical" fire engine in the minds of Hollywood film
producers as many were used in all types of film products. Crown
produced several types of equipment, the pumper, which was originally
available in the "open cab" configuration, and the closed cab
configuration. The Closed Cab was a later updated model of the Firecoach. At the time of the
open cabs, the Closed Cab was most noteably used for "boom and basket" apparatus
such as the Snorkel (Truck 127). Truck 127 was a for real unit
stationed at Station 127 (which we see as Station 51 in Emergency!). The
Closed Cab was also deployed in pumper appplications. The Closed Cab
Crowns can be seen in the industrial fire featured in the pilot. Closed
Cab Crown pumpers are a regular feature in many Emergency! episodes.
Crown fire engines, and most noteably Engine 51 were mostly powered by
gasoline engines made by Hall Scott. They have a distinctivie "rumble." The
engine power mated to (what was aboard Engine 51) a standard shift 4
speed gearbox. In 'Boot', one has a rare opportunity to "ride along"
in the first few minutes of the response to the tanker accident as the
camera is as as close to Mike Stoker as it can get. As Stoker is driving
the engine one can hear the engine as he shifts through the gearbox.
There's through different episodes view of the cab left (Mike) and right
(Captain Stanley) so there's a complete view of the cab in the show.
The Hall-Scotts are inline 6 1090 cid or 935 cid (Engine 51 had a 935
cid engine). They are huge, heavy, low-revving torque-monsters. The
Crowns came mainly with the 2 larger engines, to drive pumps of
1000-2000 gpm range. To compare most North American cars at that time
had engines ranging from 200 cu in (found in the Ford Maverick,
Valiants, and similar sized cars) to 450 cu. (found in Oldsmobile Delta
88's, Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals, and also in muscle cars such
as the Barracuda, Corvette, Mustang, Mustang/Shelby, and Camero.)
The rigs with these Hall-Scott engines required the most attention from
mechanices. The Hall-Scott engine was a high HP output machine that had
to burn premium leaded gas. They had a chain driven overhead camshaft
which gave little trouble but had a weak crankshaft. Every so often one
would break a crank and have to be towed back to the shop. Some of the
the Crowns also had a reputation of backfiring and were always on
downtime in the shop.
A not-so-fondly remembered LACoFD chief spec'd and ordered some Crowns
with anemic 478 cid Waukesha engines back in the 60's, in an attempt to
get more trucks at the same budget allocation. They were know as the
"Toyopet" Crowns, after the first Toyota Crown import automobiles
(pieces of junk!) that were sold in California at the time.
LA County also had at the time Seagraves, Internationals, FWD engines.
The snub-nose at the tunnel in the pilot and also at the camp in 'Brush
Fire' was one of 2 late 50's Calavar-FWD all wheel drive brush rigs. To
complete the dieselization of the fleet, LA County began phasing in new
equipment to replace the Crowns which were unless still active stations
were reassigned as backup units. In the pilot and first season
episodes, one can see many of the older equipment that LA County had at
the time, as all were actualy units in the fleet. Truck 8 in the pilot
movie is a Seagrave. An Engine 51 Seagrave can be seen (briefly) in
the arrival at the smokestack at the beginning of 'Botulism' (where a different electronic siren is
Crowns were sold not only to LA County but to many southern California
fire departments such as Pasadena, and Compton.
The lights found on the Crown apparatus were usually of two types. One
is the familar revolving red light found on the front top center of the engine. This
was the Federal BeaconRay. The BeaconRay was a light that found its way
to police cars, and other emergency equipment in the 1960's and 1970's
before the Federal Twinsonic squarish light bar started to appear. The
other is a "red spotlight" also found on the front top center of the
engine. This type of lamp was found on both open cab and closed cab
Crowns, and was called a "Mars Light." When switched on by the engineer,
it oscillated back and forth. A closeup of it is part of the drama
unfolding in the pilot as Station 10 starts to respond to the industrial
The oscillating lamps seen on Engine 10 and Truck 10 in the pilot are
these Mars lights (the plate on the base reads "The Light From Mars"!).
Another unit in the pilot Engine 268 which appears in the industrial
fire in the pilot also had one of these. Another unit that had one of
these is a Seagrave pumper that appeared briefly in one episode as
Engine 51 (could have easily been a backup engine) The Mars lights
were made in Chicago, IL, and were a standard LACoFD warning device
until the Federal BeaconRay more-or-less replaced it.
It was been written that the Crown Firecoach was the "favorite" of the
two engines featured on Emergency!. It was the only one that was
mentioned by its name in the show (mentioned by Chet in 'Drivers' when an
expastered Johnny Gage came up with an idea to catch civilians not pulling over for their squad).
Up until the late 1950s, open cabs were the norm throughout the entire
United States. In general, Fire Departments only started covering or
enclosing the cabs in large numbers after the civil disturbances that
took place in the U.S. during the 1960s. People would throw trash and
bricks from rooftops; covering the cabs was the easiest way to shield
Only within in the last 5 years has fully enclosing the crew
compartments become an accepted standard. If you see an engine or
ladder with a partially covered cab in the Southern parts of the U.S.,
it is a safe bet it was built prior to 1995.
Engine 51 (Engine 60) currently resides at the LaCoFD Museum where there
is talkabout taking her on as the next resortation project as she is a
bit rough around the edges. Engine 51 was a featured appearance at an
Emegency event in October 1998. There is information that the Crown Firecoach is to undergo
restoration next year.
In the early 1970's LA County began a program to complete dieselization
of its entire fire apparatus fleet, and tendered for additional units.
In 1971, Ward LaFrance won a bid for 46 new 1250gpm triple combination
pumpers for LA County FD.
Crown (based in L.A.) produced fire apparatus for many departments, but
also as a sideline manfactured buses. Many of these were school buses.
American kids probably rode in one to high school (Canadians didn't have
that luxury as the trusty Blue Bird with squeaky seats teeth jarring
ride ear splitting gear shifting and heaters that didn't work in winter
and when they did, steamed up the windows and in summer steamed up the
passengers were used in most school districts) A Crown bus looked like a
Closed cab LACoFD engine a the front with its rounded face and two piece
windshield. Crown discontinued its fire appratus line in the mid 1970'sand for a time focused on its bus products before going out of business in the early 1980's.
Engine 51 (1974 to 1978)
Delivery began in late 1972 with rigs arriving about one or two a week.
These were the beginning of the complete dieselization of the LACoFD
fleet. One story given about Engine 51 was that Chief Houts suggested to
Bob Cinader that since the County was getting all these new Wards, that
the show should reflect that fact. Universal Studios went along withthat suggestion and contacted Dick Gergel, president of Ward LaFrance
and arranged for a LACoFD look-alike to be used in the show. This unit
was put on a "driving tour" across the U.S prior to arrival at
The tour itself is described in an excellently written "ride along" at:
Engine 51 made her debut on the second episode of the third season
called 'The Old Engine'.
E-51 is a 1000gpm triple combination P-80 "Ambassador" model powered by
a Cummins NH855 250hp naturally aspirated diesel engine driving through
an Allison HT-70 power shift transmission. The LACoFD rigs were 1250gpm
triples powered by Cummins NHCT295 turbocharged Diesels driving through
Allison HT-70 5 speed manual transmissions. They had 500 gallon booster
tanks as did E-51. In their outward appearance both E-51 and the LACoFD
rigs were identical. All the County Ward rigs plus E-51 had Federal Q2B
sirens and Grover "Stutter-tone" air horns.
There are many views of Engine 51 both inside and out from many angles
around the cab and in several episodes the fan gets to "ride along" as
Mike Stoker powers up the engine, and we get to see him as Captain
Stanley would sitting in the Captain's seat as the engine approaches the incidents. There's with
different episodes different views from Mike powering up the Engine, a look view from both
Marco's seat and Chet's seat, the instrument panel (which is by design
below Mike's knees). One can get a 360 degree view all around inside the
cab by watching episodes. In one of the earlier episodes in Season 6
(1977) the viewer is treated to a detailed look at the instrument panel
and a rare closeup look at the Federal siren where one can actually see
the fins inside the siren just before it spins up (cover your ears!)
Additional Ward LaFrance units can be seen in later episodes, most
notably Engine 73, and 114. These units are almost identical to Engine
51 and were actual LA County Fire Department units.
Ward LaFrance built fire equipment for many departments and along with
the now famous P80 "Ambassador," WLF also had a "Diplomat" and "Senator"
model. Ward LaFrance went out of business formally in 1979, but a few
employees tried to keep it going for a year or so, unfortunatly without success.
Although out of business, there is a Ward LaFrance website. The address
Engine 51 (1979 - )
Once Emergency! was completed, Engine 51 sat in Univeral's lot for a
time as a movie prop vehicle. She made another appearance in the movies,
having appeared for a very brief time as the engine responding in 'The China Syndrome'
(Columbia Pictures). However the siren and airhorn dubbing is markedly different
as the engine approaches the freeway on ramp just before Jack Lemmon
peels out in his BMW. (low tonal "moan" and yelp cycle with compressed
airhorn, not the higher pitch Federal siren and Grover Stutter tone).
She was then sold by LA County once Universal was finished with her. to
the U.S. Parks Service and has been on station at Yosmite Park
California. She was to be returned to LA County to retire at the LA
County Fire Department museum after completing service at Yosmite Park.
Excellent reading regarding Engine 51's duty at Yosemite Park can be
read through this website:
Universal and LA County were well aware of the huge success of
Emergency! and because of it, two things happened. Station 127 was
remained the R.A. Cinader Station, in memory of the late R.A. Cinader.
LA County also renumbered its fire station at Universal from 60 to 51.
Fans not aware may get a bit confused as Station 51 as it is today is
not the same Station 51 that was in the show. Station 51 used outside
shots and apparatus bay shots from Station 127 which is located next to
I-405 in Carson City. Inside shots were done on the Universal Studio lot
in a mockup of the station.
Current Equipment at Station 51 (Universal) are KME and GMC Patrol unit.
Equipment at Station 127 (aka: Station 51) is also KME purchased
equipment (engine and truck) and a GMC Battalion Chief Suburban.
Squad 51 (1972 to 1978)
Squad 51 was a 1972 Dodge D300 1 ton with specialized body. Universal
had two of these. One was furnished by Chrysler (as per credits in the
show) the other was a unit from the LA County Fleet. Squad 10 (featured
in the pilot) was a real LaCoFD 1970 Dodge 1 ton. These two vehicles
had all the fittings as the real squads at the time did, but the
Motorola radio with 51's was never switched on. We also
see a 1970 Dodge in 'Mascot', 'Botulism' and also in 'Nurses Wild'. The
1970 Dodge has a center hood depression and on each side has louvers.
The 1972 Dodge's hood is more "flat." Of interest to fans is that the
Dodge Squad 51 furnished by Chrysler was not an actual member of the LA
County fleet but was set up as a look-alike. It's this vehicle that is
the star of Project 51 and the recent journey to the Smithsonian.
The other item that sets Squad 51 (1972) from Squad 51 (1970) is the
unmistakable grille. The Dodge 1972 model had the "slit grille" which
featured lots of chrome. The 1970-71 Dodge model years featured a
"quartered bar" grille that also had the turn lights set into the lower
left and lower right quadrants. Below the white quartered bar grille
were slots for additional cooling air for the radiator. This from a
distance causes the 1971 Dodge to have a top "long" grille, and a lower
"short" grille. This becomes apparent as the two model year Dodges are
used interchangably in the first season, even on the same run. The
engine aboard the Squad was probably the largest V8 offered by Dodge for
the 1 tons which would have been a 400 cu in.
There were actually three Squad 51's used, the last one provided in
We see the Squad from all sides inside and out, and with Johnny
tinkering with the tape idea inside the cab, we get pretty close to the
dash, and also close to the engine compartment when John and Roy do
maintenance work We also get to see how strong the hood is as Roy
accidently forgets John is still head down over the engine when Roy
drops the hood on Gage.
Squad 51 featured the trademark Federal Twinsonic Light bar and
electronic siren. In later episodes a European "high-low" two tone
enhanced intersection siren is heard. This featured a seperate air
compressor mated to two air horns. LA County experimented with this
setup in real rigs, but it became unreliable and was never replaced. A
ride along in 'Not Available' (Season 6, Episode 12) features the "high-low"
airhorn intersection siren. The siren actually wasn't there, but was dubbed in by Universal based
on real ones used in Squad equipment.
The radio aboard the Squad is a Motorola VHF radio used at
the time by many fire and police departments. (it's also used on
Adam-12). The equipment was there, but the radio calls were dubbed in.
Squad 51 was retired after the series ended and spent her days at the LA
County Department museum. She made an appearance at an Emergency! get
together in 1998. Word was that the squad which was used quite a bit in
the show was a bit rough around the edges and because of it, she went
through a complete refit this year. The vehicle restoration was
exceptionally superior in every detail.
The resortation process is described and pictured in fascinating and
exquiste detail at the Project 51 web site, as is the tour and
festivities. The web site is:
One minor error can be seen on the remade licence plates that are
affixed to the exceptionally restored squad. It was that the original
plates on the squad had to be turned in at the time Squad 51 was retired
from active duty. So new ones were made.The serial is indeed correct
(The "E" doesn't stand for Emergency the show, but rather "E" for county
exmept vehicles, a series issued to fire equipment at the time - the
999007' is within the correct serial range) but California used on its
1956 black on yellow series base plates more rounder dies - particularly
on the 9's and zeroes to press the serial numbers than the extended
squarish letter style as one sees on the restored squad's front plate.
The black on yellow plates were superceded starting in 1969 by yellow on
blue base plates, and later with the currently used red/blue on white
base plates (for passenger plates beginning with "1" in 1982 and
currently in the "5" series for new registrations).
The Manifest previously appeared in it's entirety in this FAQ. Due to Paul's continued research and modification of the Manifest, and it's subsequent increase in size, the complete version of the Manifest has been removed from the FAQ. The most up-to-date, complete version of Paul's EMERGENCY! Equipment Manifest can be found at http://modena.intergate.ca/personal/pl8s/E!Manifest.htm.