I don’t usually use this space to comment on what you will read on the pages of the magazine, but this time I’d like to call your attention to one story that is of importance to our readers who manage fleets that include ambulances—whether exclusively ambulances or fleets that include both fire apparatus and ambulances.
Many departments, when facing the need to replace an aging fire apparatus, have chosen to rechassis the apparatus—moving the body and other components like pump and tank from one chassis to another—when feasible. It is often less expensive to go the rechassis route. The same goes for ambulances. These vehicles pile on miles far quicker than fire apparatus do, and the wear and tear on the chassis is more severe than that of most fire apparatus. Ambulance chassis are often in need of replacement far earlier than the “boxes” they carry. Therefore, one way to save money is to remount the box on a new chassis vs. replacing the entire ambulance.
On the fire side, there has been guidance in the form of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, and NFPA 1912, Standard for Fire Apparatus Refurbishing. Until recently, there was little guidance for ambulance remounts or a way to indicate they meet a standard. The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) addressed this with its recent Ground Vehicle Standard GVS V2.0, which includes the newly developed GVS Remount Standard. Read about the new standard this month in “Remounts Defined: CAAS Releases National Standard for Ambulance Remounts.” If your department is considering a remount vs. purchasing a completely new ambulance, be sure to read this article to learn what your responsibilities as the purchasers will be and what the remounter is expected to provide at the end of the build.
As we move into the holiday season, kicking off with Thanksgiving at the end of this month, it goes without saying that we all must be more vigilant on the roads. Besides Thanksgiving weekend being a heavy travel weekend, the holiday shopping season also officially opens, and in many places the night before Thanksgiving is a popular night for imbibing a bit, meaning that all weekend you’ll find drivers with varying levels of alertness on the roads and generally more cars than usual. And, the traffic won’t stop until the end of the holidays when things calm down a little in the beginning of the new year. Be extra careful leaving the station, traveling to the incident, returning to the station, and backing in or pulling through. For volunteers, use caution responding to the station. As great as the holidays are, people are often far more impatient than once the holidays end.
Regular visitors to FireApparatus.com have by now noticed a number of changes that came about with a platform change. As with any new product rollout, there are bound to be a few bumps in the road as we and you get used to the new layout and some new locations for content. If you are having any issues with the new site layout, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, in October, the “FA Viewpoints” column answered the question: Does the rig dictate tactics, or do tactics dictate the rig? Both Bill Adams and Ricky Riley agreed that tactics should dictate the purchase. Reading their responses got me thinking about the “Clean Cab Concept” and how different opinions are about employing it. I have long contended that the concept, to me, is one with a number of components that purchasers are free to employ or not to employ. Many focus on removing self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) from the cab or not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to calls and donning it on arriving at an incident. Many with whom I’ve spoken get really hung up on the SCBA and PPE aspects, but it really all comes back to what Adams and Riley discuss in their responses. The tactics you must employ in your first due are going to dictate how a rig is designed. Firefighters in northern Vermont are not going to remove their PPE on a mid January night in subzero temperatures. And tactically, many departments have made the call to leave the SCBA in the cabs. Both are fine, and I urge people to look at the Clean Cab Concept as one spoke in an overall cancer risk reduction plan. Let the tactics dictate the rig’s design and your decisions on how to turn out most quickly and safely.