Aerials, Apparatus, Company, Rescues

Spartan Chassis Releases Advanced Safety System

Issue 11 and Volume 17.

Sean Hettich

In 2010, there were 4,380 injuries to personnel either responding to or returning from a fire. Spartan Chassis has always been on the cutting edge of fire truck design and occupant safety. The company reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the men and women who serve our communities with the new additions to its Advanced Protection System (APS). These additions include eight air bags in the cab with four air bag positions, large side curtain air bags, outboard sensors that control air bag deployment and protect cab occupants from side-impact collisions, and the company’s intelligent seat belt system.

(1) Spartan’s outboard sensors are mounted at the outer perimeter of the
cab, providing a “zone of safety” inside the cab. Each sensor
communicates back to the restraint control module that monitors which air
bag should deploy and under what conditions.
 

Multiple Air Bag Deployment

Spartan’s outboard sensors protect occupants from multiangle impacts in the cab. These sensors are mounted at the outer perimeter of the cab, providing a “zone of safety” inside the cab. Each sensor communicates back to the restraint control module that monitors which air bag should deploy and under what conditions.

The outboard sensors allow for faster deployment of air bags and protect occupants from side-impact collisions, rollovers, and occupant ejection for all persons in the cab. Spartan’s air bags also protect cab occupants from side impacts, a need the company recognized after looking at crash statistics that show that many fire truck accidents occur at cross-sections at an intersection.

Enhanced Air Bag System

Spartan’s additions to the APS also include upgrades to existing air bag standards through five innovations. For example, APS full side curtain air bags protect occupants from a side impact or a rollover event. The system also includes large front side air bags, and each of Spartan’s rear side air bags are custom-sized for the crew area of every cab the company builds, with its largest rear side air bag covering seven times the area of the existing standard.

Driver knee air bags lock the lower body in place so the upper body can be slowed by the seat belts and caught by the steering-wheel-mounted air bag. This protects the driver against contact injuries resulting from hitting the instrument panel or other interior points of contact. The system also includes officer side knee air bags.

(2) APS full side curtain air bags protect occupants from a side impact
or a rollover event. The system includes large front side air bags, and
each of Spartan’s rear side air bags are custom-sized for the crew area
of every cab the company builds, with its largest rear side air bag
covering seven times the area of the existing standard.
 

Intelligent Seat Belt System

The final element in Spartan’s APS is its new intelligent seat belt system, which pulls the occupant into the seat in the event of an impact or rollover. These intelligent seat belts have pyrotechnic pretensioners in the retractors instead of just a buckle. Spartan validated that pretensioners in the retractor provide more force during the initial lock. After the occupant is pulled into the seat, load limiters release some of the webbing to control the occupant’s deceleration into the air bag system. These new seat belts help control the strain on each occupant while reducing pressure on the chest and torso, reducing seat belt-related injuries.

These new air bag and seat belt advancements complement Spartan’s other safety features like reinforced cab structure, electronic stability control, safety lighting, and tire pressure monitoring to complete the Spartan APS as an advanced occupant safeguard system.

SEAN HETTICH is the marketing and PR specialist at Spartan Motors. He joined the Spartan team to help enhance its marketing department, starting with the launch of the APS.