|The Lancaster County pumpers will be similar to this stock Contender by Pierce custom pumper. (Pierce Photo)|
The Lancaster County (S.C.) Fire Service is replacing about a third of its fleet with an order for 18 Contender apparatus from Pierce Manufacturing, Inc.
The contract calls for eight custom pumpers equipped with the company’s Hercules compressed-air foam system, eight rescue vehicles and two dry-side tankers that are scheduled to be delivered from June through August. The $5.4 million contract includes 140 Scott self-contained breathing apparatus, valued at around $450,000, according to Lancaster County Fire Service Director Morris Russell.
Lancaster County covers an area of 549 square miles and is located just south of Charlotte, N.C. The county’s 19 fire departments are comprised of approximately 300 volunteer firefighters.
Years Of Research
“Purchasing these vehicles involved years of research, and it was a true team effort with our county fire commission, county council and county administration,” Russell said. “We met with other departments, visited tradeshows, evaluated specifications and reviewed bids from 10 different manufacturers.”
An important factor in the decision was the performance of a Pierce pumper purchased nearly two years ago by one of the county’s volunteer fire departments.
“It was the first Pierce apparatus in the county,” Russell said. “Everything has gone fairly well with that one, and if it goes that well with the 18 new trucks, I could see us probably making a commitment in a few years to buy more from Pierce.”
He said the county’s plan is to replace another third of its fleet with its next apparatus purchase, and he said he is looking forward to finding out how well Pierce services its trucks.
Russell said the decision to equip the pumpers with CAFS was made after an in-depth debate.
Minimal Daytime Manpower
“It’s our belief that compressed air foam is going to be the tactic of the future,” he said. “We have minimal manpower in the daytime, and to me it makes life easier on the firefighter, the fact that the hose is lighter and there’s less water.”
In addition to Hercules CAFS, each of the eight Contender custom pumpers are equipped with a 400-hp engine, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a Husky dual agent foam system, roll-up compartment doors and a top mount pump house with a ControlZone pump panel.
The eight Contender rescues are built on commercial chassis, and each features a 310-hp engine, two-door cab, 16-foot aluminum body, roll-up doors, full-height, full-depth transverse compartments, slide-out and tilt trays, a 25,000-watt pto generator and scene lights.
Both Contender dry-side tankers are built on commercial chassis, and each has a 2,000-gallon tank, air-actuated dump chutes, a 2,500-gallon folding tank, roll-up doors, a 500-gpm pump and stainless steel plumbing.
Mike DuFrane, vice president of sales for Contender, called the order “a major vote of confidence for the Contender brand and its product, service and support network.”
On the other side, the Pierce contract was a milestone for Lancaster County.
“We were very proud of the fact that our council voted to spend five and a half million dollars to purchase this type of equipment,” Russell said. “It’s the biggest purchase Lancaster County has ever made.”
He predicted the next few months will provide some excitement.
“Our biggest challenge at this point,” he said, “is to get everybody trained on CAFS, and then push the new trucks into the system and pull the old ones out. So it’s going to be a long summer.”
Spartan Fire & Emergency Apparatus of Roebuck, S.C., is the local Pierce dealer.
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company based in Appleton, Wis., is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, minipumpers, elliptical tankers, and homeland security apparatus.
For information on Pierce call 920-832-3231 go to www.piercemfg.com.