Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Issues Product Awards

Each year Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment magazine recognizes companies that have introduced new products that we believe will have a significant impact on the fire service.

Not long before his death last fall, Publisher Peter Jørgensen predicted in his monthly column that “2009 will be seen as a watershed year for high-capacity, do-it-all vehicles especially suited to the suburban and rural markets.” He highlighted two as impressive examples – the Braun Patriot fire/rescue/transport apparatus and Ferrara’s Multi Vocational Pumper, the MVP. They are this year’s winners for Best New Apparatus.

The Patriot from Braun Industries has a customized Super Chief module – a Type 1 medium-duty ambulance – mounted on a Spartan Furion chassis. The Super Chief has 73 inches of interior headroom and enough space for up to six crewmembers plus equipment, while the chassis boasts 21,000 pounds to 31,000 pounds rear gross axle weight rating.

The unit is outfitted with rescue equipment compartments and is able to carry up to 200 gallons of water. It can be equipped with a compressed air foam system (CAFS) that dispenses up to 15 gallons of foam through two 1-inch booster reels, one on each side of the module.

The Patriot is designed to respond to more than 95 percent of all emergency calls, whether EMS-related, light rescue or light suppression. Braun describes it as ideal for volunteer fire departments without the manpower to staff several vehicles.

Ferrara introduced its version of a near universal rescue-pumper with the MVP. It can handle fire attack, rescue and hazmat with its high-capacity, well-thought-out compartmenting.

The MVP can be ordered with a 2,000-gpm Hale Q-Max pump and up to 1,000 gallons on-board water, plus an integral foam tank.

Designed with firefighter safety in mind, the MVP features extra low cab step height, frame rail height crosslays, a low hose bed and lowered body height to make it easier to retrieve equipment. With available pump and roll, the MVP will flow 80 to 90 gpm at 150 psi while driving 2.5 miles per hour.

The MVP is available on all of Ferrara’s custom chassis with either an extruded aluminum or stainless steel body and water tanks up to 1,000 gallons.

High Flow Capability

The winner of the Best New Firefighting Tool for 2009 is Task Force Tips’ Jumbo Ball Gate Valve – distinguished by its high water flow capability, simplistic design and low maintenance.

Restricted flows have been the nemesis of many intake valves, and TFT has solved this problem with a 5 1/4-inch waterway that only has 3-psi friction loss at 2,000 gpm.

Available with threaded or Storz connections, the package includes polymer bearing rings for electrical isolation to prevent galvanic corrosion. TFT’s compact design with the company’s adjustable pressure relief valve meets the NFPA requirement that it should not protrude outside the running boards.

Fire departments that have tested the valve confirm the data published by TFT, reporting it approximates the flow of butterfly valves and outshines piston intake valves.

Drafting In Any Conditions

The 2009 award for Best Water Handling Innovation goes to Kochek’s new self-leveling floating strainer.

Floating strainers are not new, but Kochek has developed a self-leveling, lightweight aluminum version that makes drafting possible under almost any condition. Available with threaded, Storz or camlock connections in a variety of sizes, it has a balanced handle that makes carrying and deploying very easy.

A high intake ratio allows maximum flow rates, according to Kochek, while the vortex shield protects against whirlpooling. The new compact design is the most efficient and lightest on today’s market and provides for convenient storage.

Looking for an easy way to repack hose at ground level instead of climbing on top of the truck? Rosenbauer’s EZ Load Hosebed for aerials wins the 2009 award for Best New Apparatus Component System.

The company’s hydraulic hosebed brings the whole storage area from the topside of the rig down to ground level where hose can be safely, easily and quickly repacked. Simply flip a switch and hydraulic motors lower the 1,500-pound capacity hosebed to a convenient height. This new feature was designed for aerial ladders, but is also available on Rosenbauer pumpers.

In its lowered position, the top of the EZ Load is less than 48 inches off the ground, and the outside edge is less than 30 inches from the aerial’s body. It will hold 1,000 feet of 5-inch hose.

Smaller, Lighter Imager

The 2009 award for Best Life Safety Innovation goes to four companies ¬- Bullard for its Eclipse thermal imaging camera and Globe Manufacturing, Lion Apparel and Fire-Dex for their integrated harness personal rescue systems.

Thermal imagers have become smaller, lighter and feature-rich, and Bullard’s Eclipse stands out for its weight – 1½ pounds – its durability and its size – fitting in the palm of a large hand. It was designed to get thermal imagers into the hands of more firefighters.

More than 100 firefighters died in the United States in 2008, and, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, almost 20 percent of those deaths were a result of getting lost, trapped or caught in a fire.

While its features are limited, the Eclipse has one-button operation, quality imagery and a 1,000-degree temperature range.

It was developed to operate in support of – not instead of – larger and more advanced imagers, giving members of a crew the ability to see each other and to get out of a structure.

Last year three manufacturers – Globe, Lion and Fire-Dex – introduced personal rescue harness systems built into bunker pants, each with different designs, but all developed for one reason – to protect firefighters. Those systems are described on Page 20 in this issue.

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