Fire Service Today

Issue 3 and Volume 12.

Reader response to the magazine’s first Great Debate series continues in this issue: Are large capacity fire pumps worth purchasing or could the same money be better spent on other options such as foam systems?

We belatedly added a Vote feature on our web site with little chance to publicize it, but at this writing about 41 percent feel there isn’t much return on money spent on anything more than 1250 gpm.

Our web voting system was a little confusing as there were more than two choices. However, giving readers an opportunity to participate both by web voting and by sending written comments for publication seems a working combination. We have a few kinks to iron out, but here is a recap of the 2007 Debate Schedule.

Each Debate runs for three issues. Next month, April, we will publish the final readers’ comments about fire pumps and introduce a new topic.

Two knowledgeable fire service or industry people will present opposing views on the question Mid-mount vs. Rear-mount Aerial Apparatus. Readers may vote on our web site to register their opinion by supporting one side or the other. Those who feel strongly may submit a statement up to 500 words for publication.

In May, we will publish reader comments as well as observations from two other well-qualified chiefs, fire officers or industry spokespeople. In June, we will sum up the specific pros and cons brought out by the contributors.

The Mid-mount vs. Rear-mount Aerial Apparatus debate should bring out many points to stimulate further thinking, especially if your department is contemplating a new aerial within the next two years.

Regular readers of this magazine know we’ve often expressed a preference for mid-mount aerials. We believe that ease of spotting the truck on the fireground and the resulting greater overall maximum reach outweighs the shorter wheelbase and other claims for rear-mounts.

In less than eight years, Pierce orders for mid-mounts have gone from 0 to 40 percent of total aerials delivered. Ferrara reports that last year its aerial sales were 30 percent mid- mounts.

Is it that new fire chiefs are rediscovering the mid-mount aerial advantages well-known to their grandfathers in the 1930s through the 1960s? Whatever the stimulus, new orders for mid-mount aerials represent the fastest-growing change in apparatus preferences over the past few years.

Fire Apparatus magazine has made several additions to its staff. Lyn Bixby, who as a long-time staff member at The Hartford (Conn.) Courant has a share in a Pulitzer Prize to his credit, has been named Editor-In-Chief. His mission: tighten our prose and maintain a laser-locked focus on fire apparatus and emergency equipment news.

The changes Bixby brings will be very noticeable within two issues. Our objective is easier reading through concise editing. This magazine will zing!

Two new writers join Managing Editor Ed Ballam. They are journalist and volunteer firefighter Dave Smith, who just returned from covering the Compressed Air Foam System-CAFS Symposium in Texas, and Tony Lolli, whose background includes numerous feature stories for multiple magazines.

Fire Apparatus magazine reports only on apparatus and equipment and the companies which manufacture them – and that differentiates us from the traditional smoke and flames, training or management magazines. Strengthening the reporting staff will benefit our readers, advertisers and the magazine’s overall impact.

Continuing the topic of change, agitation among our own staff for more active page-one photos brings up another announcement. We will be paying handsomely for action photos of new apparatus working at fires. By new we mean pieces delivered within six months or so.

Check our web site,, for all the details. (The one thing you’ll never see us do is to lay type over a full-page cover photograph the way virtually all magazines on American newsstands do.)

The Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC) and Trade Show in Indianapolis, Ind., is set for April 16-21 at the Indianapolis Convention Center, which includes the RCA Dome where the Colts play football.

Close to 900 exhibitors will be spread over 340,000 square feet in four connected buildings. Training sessions for fire department instructors begin early in the week, then the trade show opens Thursday, April 19, and runs through Saturday.

Expect some entirely new product lines. Pierce Manufacturing introduced its Velocity and Impel chassis lines at the IAFC show last September, so they will have a full exhibit of apparatus on these new platforms.

It’s also time for Pierce’s largest competitor, E-One, to bring forth something exciting in April. At least that’s what we hear from some E-One dealers who should be in the know.

FDIC is the country’s top fire trade show. If you are thinking about making any major purchase this year or next, it is the show to attend. Look for E-One and Pierce back to back under the dome with other major manufacturers, including Rosenbauer, Ferrara, KME, Sutphen, Seagrave and Marion, nearby.

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