To the Editor:
Alan Petrillo’s article on compact sin-gle-stage pumps in the March issue of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment magazine was well-written and thought provoking. I’d like to offer two related observations: PTO-driven pumps do allow pump and roll, but the pump speed is a slave to vehicle speed. Pump pressure corresponds to pump rpm, and often the vehicle must negotiate rough terrain at low speed, when high pump pressure may be needed. So PTO-driven pumps are not an unqualified blessing.
Also, the concept of a rescue pumper is a seductive one, but an ISO inspector has told me that if a truck is to be used both for fire suppression and for rescue (hazmat, extrication, etc.) and will carry equipment to help it serve both roles, then the truck will receive only half credit as an engine company. A fire department with many engine and rescue companies may not find half credit for one or two rescue pumpers to be much of a handicap, but the less-favored department may get sandbagged when it comes time for an ISO inspection.
One of my jobs as a rural fire defense coordinator involves helping to write specifications for the purchase of apparatus. One of my fire departments bought a tanker-pumper with enough compartment space to include rescue equipment, but then decided not to mount it on that apparatus after a consultation with ISO brought out the above information.
Rural Fire Defense Coordinator
Oklahoma Economic Development Authority