special Delivery | Alan M. Petrillo
Michigan Fire Department Combines Functions into Rescue-Pumper
The Harbor Springs (MI) Area Fire Department, which covers a 100-square-mile area in Emmet County, including the resort community of Harbor Springs on the north shore of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, wanted to replace an older pumper and older small rescue truck with a single unit to perform both fire suppression and rescue functions. The department found what it wanted in a rescue-pumper built by Spencer Manufacturing.
John Cupps, Harbor Springs’s chief, says the department wanted a vehicle that not only combined fire suppression and rescue but also carried more water than its existing pumpers as well as more compartment space. “We were replacing a 1995 KME pumper and a 1998 utility box rescue truck and wanted a multifunction vehicle with a 1,000-gallon water tank and lots of room for our rescue tools,” Cupps says. “I had been designing the truck in my head for a couple of years and presented my ideas to Steve Buckner at Spencer, who told me Spencer was building a similar truck for the Haring Township (MI) Fire Department.”
MODEL TO FOLLOW
Buckner, direct salesman for Spencer, notes that Harbor Springs also wanted a rescue-pumper that had as short a wheelbase and overall length as possible and a tight turning radius. “When we met with them, we determined that they wanted a short Type 1 pumper that carries a 1,000-gallon water tank with enough compartment space for all their rescue equipment yet has the overall length as short as possible,” Buckner says. “They looked at Haring Township’s rescue-pumper and liked it but made some changes to the lighting, added a roll-up door over the pump panel, and modified the interior of the crew cab.”
Grant Spencer, vice president of Spencer Manufacturing, says the resulting rescue-pumper is built on a Spartan Metro Star SMFD (short medium four-door) custom chassis and cab featuring seating for two firefighters, a 167-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 28 feet 6 inches, and an overall height of 9 feet 7 inches. The rig is powered by a Cummins 450-horsepower (hp) ISL9 engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission and carries a Hale Qmax 1,500-gallon-per minute (gpm) side-mount pump, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 30-gallon foam cell, and a Hale 2.1A foam system.
Harbor Springs (MI) Area Fire Department
Cupps says that Harbor Springs had all seating in the crew cab removed, leaving only the driver’s and officer’s positions, and added storage cabinets to hold six self-contained breathing apparatus on the officer’s side and thermal imaging cameras, handheld radios, flashlights, and miscellaneous equipment on the driver’s side.
Spencer Manufacturing Rescue-Pumper
Harbor Springs did not spec any crosslays or speedlays on the rescue-pumper. Rather, it had Spencer install two Hannay hose reels, one on each side of the vehicle over the pump house, with each holding 200 feet of one-inch lightweight, flexible hose. The rescue-pumper has six 2½-inch discharges—two on each side of the pump house and two at the rear of the vehicle. Cupps notes that the rig’s hosebed has 500 feet of five-inch large-diameter hose, 800 feet of 2½-inch inch hose, and 400 feet of 1¾-inch hose.
Cupps says that all of the department’s engines carry foam tanks and foam systems because of specific hazards in its coverage area. “We have a lot of auto parts manufacturing facilities, which present us with a magnesium hazard,” he points out, “plus aircraft machining factories for engine parts, automotive components manufacturing, and shingle and siding manufacturing. Plus, we have a downtown business district, two marinas, and a high-end storage facility for large boats.”
Cupps says that the department filled a lot of the 250 cubic feet of compartment space that Spencer provided on the new rescue-pumper with its rescue tools, including battery-operated Genesis spreader, cutter, ram, and combi tool extrication tools as well as two large-capacity air bags and a full complement of rescue jacks. “We also have a battery-operated Genesis spreader and cutter on our 2008 Spencer pumper-tanker,” Cupps adds.
Buckner points out that on the wheel well areas of the rescue-pumper, Spencer built in turn locks that allow the entire wheel well to be easily removed for access or maintenance.
Cupps observes, “We got exactly what we wanted with the Spencer rescue-pumper. It’s exactly what the department needs to cover our district, as well as to provide mutual aid to three towns to the north that cover another 180 square miles.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.