Apparatus, Ciampo, Features, Rescues

Compartment Corner: Rescue 242, Wyckoff (NJ) Fire Department

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By Michael N. Ciampo

The Wyckoff (NJ) Fire Department is located in Northwest Bergen County and considered a metropolitan suburb of New York City. It was originally home of the Lenape Indians and it is believed to be named after an Indian word meaning “high ground,” which the town is located on with views of New York, New York in the horizon. Much after the Indians, many Dutch settlers entered the area and began farming the lands. Up into the late 1980s there were still a few farms left, but now only one is still functioning. The town is home to many commuters and suburbanites. The Wyckoff Fire Department provides protection to the township out of three fire stations: Protection Fire Company 1, Community Engine Company 2, and Sicomac Engine Company 3. The department runs six engine companies, one tower ladder, a rescue company, and two chief vehicles.

Protection Fire Company 1 is home to the department’s 2010 Rescue 1/Spartan fire apparatus. The fire apparatus responds to numerous types of runs throughout the township and into neighboring communities on mutual aid as a RIT or to assist on extrications on the heavily traveled Interstate 287 or New Jersey Route 208. Both of these thorofares have put members to the test with intricate auto extrications over the years. Rescue 242 is a 2010 Spartan Gladiator aluminum extrusion cab with a tandem axle chassis and a 24-foot stainless steel Rescue 1 walk-around box. Rescue 1 was founded in 1985 and is considered a premier manufacturer of heavy rescue apparatus. P.L. Custom Body and Equipment Co., which has been manufacturing emergency vehicles since 1946, is Rescue 1’s parent company. 

Rescue 242 is 42 feet long with a height of 11feet. It is painted white over red with a white, black, and red reflective stripe running along the lower side of the cab and then transferring to the midsection of the body of the apparatus. On the upper white section of the cab, a few distinct logos are attached: the unit’s logo—a design of a firefighter holding a hook and a nozzle over the number 1, in red brick design like the firehouse, with the Jaws of Life as the background—is located just behind the crew cab door, and an eagle with a ribbon in its talons with the words “Never Forget 9-11-01 DRH” is located above the chauffeur’s door. DRH represents the initials of Firefighter Dana Rey Hannon of the FDNY and the Wyckoff Fire Department, who perished at the World Trade Center.

On the rear box’s upper white section, the department’s patch is affixed; the patch is a replica of the Department’s 1904 Knott steamer being pulled by three Belgium draft horses and the date of organization, 1907. Besides beautiful gold leafing affixed to the whole vehicle, the department’s Web site is on the rear compartments of the apparatus. On the cab’s roof is a 9,000-watt light tower protected by a frame that is painted with the design of the American Flag and the word “RESCUE” across the front of it. The cab’s windshield has the words “We Support Our Troops” attached; many members of the department have veteran status and they’ve supported veterans with trips to Walter Reed Medical Facility to visit Wounded Warriors and have sent care packages to department members operating overseas.

The Rescue 1 body has roll-up compartment doors on each side of the apparatus and lower pull out trunk compartments mounted under the body. The rig has retractable awnings mounted on each side of the apparatus, which can be used for rehabilitation or a shaded command post. The Spartan cab seats eight firefighters with seven SCBA positions and FireCom headsets and intercom system for each riding position. The rear of the body has an access ladder to the upper section of the rig where there are coffin-style compartments. Also mounted on top is a specially made 20-foot extension ladder and 10-foot roof ladder that can be used at fires, trench rescues, or other emergencies. There is a customized roller bar that assists in lowering these ladders to the ground from the top of the apparatus. The apparatus rear compartment has a roll-out tool and equipment tray that is rated to carry 1,000 pounds Members have been able to remove some of the tool mounts on this tray and used the apparatus as a caisson rig for department funerals. The rig is also equipped with a Harrison hydraulic generator and a combination generator/compressor made by Van-Air, which powers two air reels for the air powered tools. The apparatus also carries a 9,000-pound portable winch, which has numerous mounting receptacles on each side of the apparatus. 

The left rear compartment is considered the primary extrication compartment, but the front bumper is also equipped with two pre-piped hydraulic reels with two extrication tools hooked up and ready to go. The decision to use which setup is primarily the officer’s as he arrives on scene and performs a size-up of the accident scene and determines apparatus placement. Looking at the front bumper compartment you’ll notice a hand-powered extrication saw is mounted on the front wall in a bracket for quick deployment. This front trough compartment has two Hurst tools in it: a cutter and mini-spreader powered by their own power unit.

Looking at the left rear compartment starting at the top left there are two metal “C” channel door jamb brackets, two hydraulic hose reels, three vertical bins for the 30-foot shorter hose storage and the stationary Hurst power unit. On the next lower shelf sit six polycarbonate boxes with easy grab handle cutouts. These boxes carry the following equipment: 

  • Box 1: Telephone pole cribbing.
  • Box 2: Emergency blankets.
  • Box 3: Assorted Hurst wrenches.
  • Box 4: Auto wheel cribbing.
  • Box 5: Hurst tool tips.
  • Box 6: Hurst tool chains and shackles.

On the upper pull-out tray, secured in pre-made brackets, there are three ram extensions, three rams of various sizes, one metal jaws auto chock, a Hurst “O” cutter, and Hurst MOC combi tool. On the lower pull-out tray sit another ram, a combination tool, and both of the spreaders. Take note that each tool is equipped with streamline quick connect coupling connections, and the shelf or bracket is labeled with the tool’s position. In addition, the tools are labeled with technical information such as spreading distance and pounds of force. On the right hand side wall of the compartment are controls for a Speedi-dry hopper, which discharges the material through a chute that is located on the underside of this compartment, and the power controls for the Hurst power unit. 

If conditions warrant that the tools are needed further than the length of the hose on the reels or there is a catastrophic failure of the system, a portable gas powered unit is located in the right rear compartment of the apparatus. This compartment also features an array of extrication equipment on the top shelf including another electrical Hurst power unit with two reels of hose, four large plastic step chocks for use at auto accidents to stabilize the vehicles, a crash bag with small hand tools, and a smaller brake pedal cutter. 

The Wyckoff Fire Department takes great pride in operating and maintaining its apparatus and having a well stocked rescue apparatus to meet the challenges it faces.

MICHAEL N. CIAMPO is a 30-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the author of “Compartment Corner” on www.fireapparatus.com. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC International Truck Essentials H.O.T. program. He wrote the Ladder chapter and co-authored the Ventilation chapter for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on www.FireEngineering.com.