EMISSIONS EQUIPMENT NOT COSTING BILLIONS
I read with interest the “Fire Industry Today” column by Richard Young in the May 2013 issue of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment. In the last couple of paragraphs, he references his position on diesel exhaust emission regulations. I must disagree with him. I wrote on this subject last year and expressed my support for the fire service reducing emissions from fire apparatus, which would result in significant reductions of firefighter exposure to harmful chemicals. This is not in dispute.
I am puzzled at Young’s assertions as he offers no analytical or technical support for his position. It has been necessary to use computers to diagnose diesel engines and automatic transmissions for more than 25 years (1988 Detroit Diesel DDEC 1, and 1987 Allison ATEC transmissions). To suggest that exhaust emissions equipment on fire apparatus is costing billions of dollars is irresponsible and just plain not so!
I have operated nearly 600 transit buses with DPFs or DPFs with SCR for several years. It is noteworthy that the SCR engines are actually getting better fuel economy than 2002 and 2003 model year engines. Sure, there have been a few problems, but we understand there are maintenance implications that we have successfully implemented with excellent reliability.
Owning nearly 700 Cummins engines affords me access to the technical people at Cummins. They tell me they have no reports of any engine shutting down or having a problem that caused a life safety situation on the fireground.
There is no question that there are increased maintenance costs associated with emissions equipment on any vehicle, including fire apparatus. But, that can be said for many things we use today. I believe the benefits are worth it.
Chief Operating Officer
Metro Transit, Minneapolis, Minnesota