Based in Belgrade, Mont., Acela Truck typically manufactures fire and rescue trucks — but COVID-19 has changed things.
Federal agencies have tasked Acela with making up to 200 mass fatality portable morgue trailers.
The Disaster Portable Morgue Units (DPMUs) are refrigerated trailers and shipping containers used to expand mortuary capabilities. They are specifically designed to address the problems inherent with the makeshift semi-trailers currently in use, and have a 20-year life expectancy.
Each unit has low-entry floors and ramps, seamless interior surfaces and expandable racking systems that accommodate various equipment.
To make it happen, Acela halted its truck production lines and retooled its manufacturing capabilities for the next 60-90 days.
Now, Acela is ramping up production, adding shifts and hiring up to 20 new skilled production staff. They are also working with more than 30 outside vendors.
The company has implemented an aggressive cleaning and disinfecting program to keep its employees safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.