Member companies of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) have created many useful resources for the fire service in recent years relating to safe fire apparatus. Areas that have seen an influx of informative materials are the buyer’s guides created by members of the FAMA Technical Committee and its subcommittees.
Technology integration has been at the forefront in developing and designing fire trucks for many years. This growth in technology comes from many sources and many reasons. Much of the technological advancements are to provide safer, longer lasting, easier to use, and easier to maintain emergency vehicles. Many manufacturers also use technology as a means to differentiate their products in the marketplace.
Whatever the reason, let’s face it—today’s fire trucks are an integration of many technologies that can be confusing to an apparatus committee trying to specify the newest addition to its fleet.
FAMA comprises member companies that manufacture fire apparatus and apparatus components. One of its missions is to educate the fire service about safe fire apparatus. In recent years, FAMA members have been working diligently to create buyer’s guides to help inform the fire service about the various functional areas of fire apparatus. These include topics such as pumps, emergency lighting, scene lighting, suspensions, auxiliary braking systems, occupant protection, seats, batteries, alternators and chargers, and foam proportioning systems, to name a few.
These buyer’s guides offer a noncommercial look into the details of the subject and many times call out the pros and cons of various types of systems and components. FAMA buyer’s guides can help educate those who are new to buying and selling fire apparatus and help create questions to ask your apparatus salesperson as you move along the path to purchasing a new rig. Even the seasoned apparatus purchaser is likely to gain insight on newer technology or at least may see things from a different perspective.
Each buyer’s guide delves deep into the topic and may provide photos and drawings to help represent the topic in a no-nonsense way. Representing the latest technology as well as tried and true methods and product designs, the buyer’s guides can be great tools whether you are specifying the most basic apparatus or need to have all the bells and whistles.
OTHER FIRE SERVICE RESOURCES
Along with the buyer’s guides, many other useful resources are available to help guide you. There are Fire Apparatus Common Safety Signs, offering many signs that can be used on the apparatus to meet certain National Fire Protection Association criteria. The Safety Sign artwork is available to download for printing to add or replace safety signs as needed on new and existing apparatus. Graphical symbols are becoming more common on everything we use, including fire apparatus. There is a document that shows many common symbols used universally as well as those that are specific to emergency apparatus.
There are also various research study reports as well as several white papers and a user-friendly weight and cube calculator tool to help determine what weight capacity and cubic space requirements may be needed for your next apparatus.
FAMA member companies will continue to create new guides on topics not yet covered and keep the guides that have been published current. If there are topics you would like to have covered, contact FAMA at FAMA.org. FAMA is committed to being a one-stop shop for apparatus-related information.
FAMA also urges emergency responder agencies to reach out to apparatus and component manufacturers to get more detailed information on their specific products and how they are best used. Member companies’ Web sites and sales and technical staff can be great resources on their products. A member company directory is available at
FAMA is committed to the manufacture and sale of safe, efficient emergency response vehicles and equipment. FAMA urges fire departments to evaluate the full range of safety features offered by its member companies.
DOUG MILLER is the cochair of the FAMA Technical Committee and served as the Pump and Plumbing subcommittee chair for more than 10 years. He has more than 27 years with Task Force Tips, with more than 20 years as OEM account manager. He has served for more than 30 years as an active member of Center Township (IN) Fire Rescue. He has written articles for fire service magazines and presented various apparatus-related topics at national and international forums.