Chris Mc Loone
At the 2013 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC), the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association’s (FAMA) Technical Committee held one of its two meetings for 2013. The agenda included industry and FAMA updates, as well as naming the 2012 Chairman’s Award winner.
FAMA President Harold Boer started the meeting by introducing two guests from the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), Dennis Spice and Gavin Horn. Boer explained that the ISFI is looking to help FAMA through research on different projects and encouraged FAMA members to meet with them during the meeting.
Boer continued with an update from the association’s spring meeting. He reported that there were great presentations on both statistics and surveying that gave FAMA a good idea of what its members’ customers are asking for and how customers are getting information from manufacturers.
Another statistic Boer shared was that through 2012, the market has remained relatively flat. Based on this, he issued a challenge to the group. “When you are reviewing and proposing NFPA revisions and new proposals, take a look and decide if the cost/benefit ratio is justified,” he said. “Is there a problem? Is the proposed solution going to solve it? Is it worth the cost to do it?” He cited that there have been good examples of identifying problems and coming up with solutions. One problem was hose falling off trucks. “It was a definite problem,” he said. “We came up with a solution for it. It solved the problem and it was relatively inexpensive to do it. That was a very good solution.” He concluded, “Let’s be careful when we propose these new standards not to add significant cost to the trucks and see our market go down further. If there’s a problem, let’s address it. If it’s not, let’s have a recommended guideline.”
FAMA Initiatives for the Year
Roger Lackore, co-chair of the Technical Committee, presented FAMA initiatives for the current year, including the following:
• Reorganizing the white papers and resource sections of the FAMA Web site.
• NFPA 1901/1906 participation.
• Fire Department Safety Officer Association (FDSOA) Apparatus Symposium.
• Developing a Fire Apparatus Safety Manual.
• Publishing a quarterly e-newsletter.
A Fire Apparatus Safety Manual is a glove-compartment-sized manual that would cover all the safety issues around using an apparatus. Lackore called for participants to join the ad hoc committee to develop the manual. Plans call for this committee’s first meeting to be on July 25, 2013. The manual will be published through FAMA, and fire apparatus manufacturers can buy the books in bulk and send them with every apparatus.
Lackore also commented on FAMA’s involvement with the FDSOA’s Apparatus Symposium. The Apparatus Symposium turned a profit this year, and the FDSOA remains committed to continuing with the Symposium. “Our part of it is to try to provide presenters for those equipment- and apparatus-related topics,” said Lackore. “We’re providing recommendations. The FDSOA still has the final say on whether or not it likes the presenters. For each presentation this year, rather than just saying ‘here’s a topic,’ the committee sat down and created a detailed outline for each presentation and learning objectives.” He said that the committee determined the audience-spec writers or mechanics and service people, for example-and chose presentations to balance that out.
NFPA Process Update
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has recently transitioned to a new system for standards revision participation. Ryan Depew, the NFPA’s staff liaison to the technical committee on fire apparatus, provided a brief rundown on some of the new aspects of the system, encouraging attendees to participate in the process.
He stated that even though the committee for NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Apparatus, is maxed out at the moment in terms of members, anyone can participate in the process as the standard is revised. NFPA 1901; NFPA 1906, Standard for Wildland Fire Apparatus; and NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances, are all open for public input right now but will be closed on July 8, 2013. The meeting to craft the first draft of the revised standard will be September 9-12.
Another important note is that the NFPA is moving away from paper submissions where possible. All information about a particular standard is available online at www.nfpa.org, as well as the ability to submit comments on a standard.
The Technical Committee meeting culminated in naming the 2012 Chairman’s Award recipient. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the Technical Committee, and this year’s awardee is David Durstine of Akron Brass. “This is a great honor,” said Durstine. “For those of you who are new to the tech committee, this is a great opportunity for your voice to be heard and to be involved. It’s a great organization, and I really appreciate it.”
CHRIS Mc LOONE, associate editor of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, is a 19-year veteran of the fire service and an assistant chief with Weldon Fire Company (Glenside, PA). He has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years. While with Fire Engineering, he contributed to the May 2006 issue, a Jesse H. Neal Award winner for its coverage of the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery.