By Bill Adams
Trade shows like the Fire Department Instructors Conference are forums for apparatus manufacturers to introduce their new innovations. Regional shows present great opportunities to observe rigs that are close to what local departments are actually purchasing. Pundits can be somewhat analytical when looking at various manufacturers’ new rigs, however, they must tread very carefully at regional trade shows because the fire chief and his whole crew might be standing next to the new rig being criticized! We should remember fire departments are purchasing rigs and equipping them for their own response district—not yours.
Photo 1: This rear discharge is equipped with a 2½-inch gated wye—a great idea. I’m sure the combined desired flow from both outlets was “precalculated” by the fire department, written into its purchasing specifications, flow tested, and certified by the manufacturer. The bottom lip of the rear step running board compartment has been notched to allow the LDH to slide underneath protecting the hydrant makeup from the elements—another good idea.
Photo 2: This rear-mount Rosenbauer pumper has five 2½-inch and 3-inch rear discharges all connected to preconnects located in removable trays beneath the main hosebed and protected by a roll-up door. The preconnects, ground monitor, and LDH hydrant makeup are easily accessible from ground level. Note the siamese just ahead of the ground monitor. This rig’s rear end is busy but functional.
Photos 3 and 4: Sutphen’s customer specified blue and black chevrons on this tanker. It has a wide and deep usable rear step. A closer look at the hosebed shows a bed of purple-colored hose—not too common.
Photo 5: This E-ONE customer specified an orange pumper. The two 2½-inch hotel packs carried on top of the curbside running board compartments are color-coded to match the rig. The real benefit is the hose loads are easily accessible.
Photo 6: Electrically operated “slide-out” dump valves are common on the sides and rear of rigs. This rig has a flip-up door protecting the valve from the elements—simple and smart.
Photo 7: This Spartan ER has a functional back end including a low hosebed, and three preconnects are attached to three of the four rear discharges. The rear LDH inlet is located at frame rail level where it’s easy to reach. Notice the large hand holes at the top of the hosebed dividers with a split-tube type reinforcement. This type of reinforcement helps (but does not eliminate) hosebed dividers that are unsupported at the rear from flopping in the breeze.
Photos 8 and 9: Before the invention of equipment compartments, extinguishers were mounted on the running board. It looks like mounting them outside is making a comeback. Who would have thought people are taking stuff out of compartments so firefighters can grab it and go? The two on this tower’s front bumper are color coded to match the rig.
Photo 10: Another low hosebed with four discharges are the rear—all preconnected.
Photo 11: Imagine sitting in your compact car at a stop light and you look into the rearview mirror and see this big Western Star bearing down on you at warp nine—airhorns and Q blast away?
Photos 12, 13, and 14: Local sayings are prominently displayed at trade shows. Route 36 and Highway 6 obviously do not run through big cities. Probably safe to say the tanker is not refilled from a wet hydrant.
Photo 15: Coming too close to a door jam or side swiping something may cause major pump damage.
Photos 16 and 17: This Pierce is simple but very well laid out. One 2½-inch and two 2-inch rear discharges are preconnected to slide-out hose trays located beneath the main hosebed. On-the-beam slide-in extension and roof ladder storage, storage for two pike poles, and storage for two tripod type telescoping light poles is also supplied beneath the main hosebed—all protected by a door. There’s a full-body-width hosebed, coffin compartments on the right-hand side, and an access ladder to reach it all. A hidden benefit is full-depth full-height side exterior compartments.
Photo 18: Another simple rear end with three discharges. What is unique is the method of attaching the hosebed dividers to the upper rear horizontal grab rail. If you want your adjustable hosebed dividers secured at the rear of the bed, you have to specify it and how you want it done. If it is not in writing, you may not get it or have no recourse if you get it and don’t like it.
Photo 19: This rig is only going to carry a single hotel pack (hose load) on top of the running board compartments. So, they enclosed and put a simple lift-up treadplate door on the unused portion to keep “stuff” protected from the elements. Use every inch of space.
Photo 20: There is not enough room between this “crank style” handle and the pump panel to put your finger let alone a gloved hand. Hopefully, the fire department will and has enough room to roll the valve to prevent “finger jamming on the job.” Too bad “finger jamming” isn’t addressed in purchasing specifications.
Photo 21: 4 Guys Fire Apparatus, as standard, paints the plumbing and interior of the pump compartment the same color as the rig’s exterior.
Photo 22: This rig has a 2½-inch direct tank fill located down low where it is easily reached from the ground.
Photo 23: NFPA 1901 says a minimum of 50 percent of the rear of a rig must be covered with red and yellow reflective chevrons.