Last month we recommended that “anyone contemplating a new apparatus purchase within the next couple of years might find it worthwhile to drop by the Pierce exhibit” at the International Association of Fire Chiefs annual convention and trade show being held in Dallas. And we noted, “Something big is coming from Pierce…”
Well, as you can see from this issue’s Page One, Pierce announced a major shift in its product line, doing away with most of the model names previously offered.
Soon to be gone are the Dash, Saber, Lance and Enforcer designations. The all new, heavy duty Velocity custom cab and chassis equipped with a 525 hp engine and its less expensive, somewhat smaller, sister version, the Impel, with engines to 425 hp, replace all the present models except for the Quantum and the Arrow XT.
Both chassis versions start with 13.375-inch frame rails – the heaviest in the industry – and both have Pierce’s highly successful TAK-4 independent front suspension system.
And both chassis have significantly increased occupant protection systems featuring the first front seat air bags in any fire apparatus model, plus additions to its side impact and roll-over protection.
New seats have a superior SCBA security system and much longer seat belts mounted with twin retractors to simplify buckling up and encourage firefighter usage. Additional side impact curtain air bags are integrated into the seats to maintain Pierce’s leadership in safety features.
While many Velocity and Impel changes were inspired in meetings between firefighters and Pierce engineers over the last three years, the myriad of little changes in cab conveniences is what firefighters will appreciate the most.
New command center consoles for both the driver and officer, with a convenient layout of controls coupled with small things like sunglass holders and really large door handles for easy operation with a gloved hand, are useful on every run.
Both the Velocity and Impel have single-piece, bonded windshields with no center posts, providing increased visibility. They use three wiper blades run in unison by a single motor to sweep 86-percent of the glass area. This will be a really welcomed feature in the Northern states during severe winter weather.
In the cab mounting pockets for portable radios and a high-capacity 49,000 BTU air conditioning system add to crew comfort year-round. Pierce not only listened to its panel of firefighter advisors, but the company developed solutions to small in-cab annoyances.
A complete rundown of the Velocity and Impel chassis lines starts on Page One of this issue.
As 2007 approaches, we’ll be introducing some changes of our own at Fire Apparatus and Emergency Equipment magazine.
Our “editorial content formula” is being sharpened and more contributors from within the ranks of leading manufacturers will be writing about industry trends, recent developments and finding new solutions to old problems.
Our writers’ guidelines will prevent any specific product from being promoted, but readers will have the benefit of professionals in research, development and manufacturing discussing the state-of-the art stuff.
In addition we will begin a series of field incident reports that do discuss name-branded tools and component systems and how they contributed to the outcome of major emergency incidents around the country.
These reports will feature interviews with firefighters and officers or other responders describing the size-up, action plan, and field operations. Emphasis here will be on specific equipment items – described by make, model and part number in many cases – and how this gear was employed.
We’ll mention everything from the apparatus that responded, with photos and names of crewmembers, and report what difficulties they encountered as solutions were developed.
No other emergency service magazine has ever approached a subject in this detail, so it will be a challenge for our reporters and editors as well. We will be reaching out across the country looking for new writers to take reporting assignments in their areas, so people with reporting and writing skills who know fire service operations should contact us.