It has been just over a year since a fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids were put to use with the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Service. During that year, the Lifeguard Service estimates that 77 million people visited the beach, and they made over 10,000 rescues.
But perhaps the most important report came from Scott Davey, Section Chief for Lifeguard Services, who said “Ford vehicles enabled us to bring these people home safely.”
The Ford Escape Hybrids racked up some impressive numbers at the one-year mark on the job. The vehicles saved an estimated 10,000 gallons of gas during that time, providing 75-percent better fuel efficiency than previous lifeguard vehicles. The Lifeguard Services estimates that they’ve saved almost $30,000 in fuel costs.
This video captures the experience of use the Ford Escape Hybrids in the words of the lifeguards themselves.
The customized Escape Hybrids enable L.A.’s lifeguards to efficiently stow rescue gear and protect it from the elements, said Fernando Boiteux, the department’s northern section chief. Based on input from the lifeguards, Ford designers removed 60 percent of the rear seat on the driver’s side and replaced it with a rescue equipment storage unit – an aluminum box with specially designated spaces for important emergency equipment, such as defibrillators, trauma boxes and oxygen tanks. The remaining 40 percent of the seat was left intact in case the lifeguards had to transport someone, such as a lost child.
Ford designers also outfitted the Escape Hybrids with a custom-fit roof rack for the lifeguards’ paddle board and spine boards. The vehicles were painted a vibrant yellow – iconic for lifeguards – and then detailed with authoritative graphics and finished off with dark wheels.
The lifeguards use four-wheel-drive Escape Hybrids, which deliver outstanding fuel economy of EPA estimated 29 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.* The lifeguards also use six F-350s and two F-250s along with other specialized vehicles.