|This Rosenbauer aerial has a slide-out platform for the safety of firefighters loading supply hose.|
|A Seagrave pumper built for the Owings Mills Fire Department in Baltimore County, Md., is designed and equipped for very high flow capability.|
|KME displayed a low hose bed for easy access to hose and equipment.|
|This Rosenbauer tanker dump valve allows for discharge on either side or the rear. The pre-connected extension provides quick deployment.|
|Fire departments no longer need to rely on portable toilets for extended operations. The Porta-Lisa provides complete restroom facilities, including sinks.|
|Innovative Controls has developed an effective color-coded pump panel with striking good looks.|
(Part 1 of 2)
The 2010 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis was quite a success, considering the economy. The announced attendance of 27,474 exceeded most expectations. The array of new equipment on the show floors did not disappoint, either. Here’s what caught my attention.
The biggest eye-catcher was probably the new Oshkosh ARFF Striker vehicle in the Pierce exhibit. The unit has modern sleek lines like its European counterparts and an ergonomically designed cab interior. It is quite the change from the former “boxy-military-utilitarian” look.
Striker features “Pulse Technology” that delivers dry powder at an advertised “Mach 1” speed. This is enough force to penetrate into a fire and “bloom” to maximize heat absorption and quick extinguishment. The feature allows firefighters to remain at a safer distance from the fire. The fiberglass body enables the unit to be 2,000 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Oshkosh also states it has improved acceleration and braking.
Rosenbauer exhibited three units with features that stood out. The company’s tanker had a swivel-mounted rear dump valve cleverly designed to dump to the right or left or rear. An aerial platform featured a seat on the turntable for an operator with a breathing air connection for added safety. Another aerial was equipped with a slide-out platform with an access ladder, providing a safe standing area for repacking hose. The slide-out feature is similar to the “slide-outs” found on campers, RVs, and command vehicles.
In addition, Rosenbauer featured Idle Reduction Technology, a system that uses electronic controls to automatically shut down the engine while on-scene without the pump engaged. The auto shut-down simultaneously starts an on-board generator, which provides 8,000 watts of power. The unit powers the 12-volt electrical system as well as heating and air-conditioning. Rosenbauer says diesel consumption is reduced by about 75 percent during this mode.
It was very comforting to see portable restrooms on display. Portable John Inc. showed its “Porta Lisa” two-room portable unit on a single-axle trailer. Having seen portable toilets mounted on utility trailers, it was a relief to see someone had finally developed an integrated design.
The restrooms featured sinks, lights, mirrors, urinals and toilets. The exterior of the trailer had LED light indicators for “Occupied” or “Unoccupied.” The finish was very “upscale”. A logo with an image of the Mona Lisa states: “Porta Lisa – Artful Restrooms from People who Care.” The product sure beats the crap out of plastic rental units.
Sutphen showed an aerial platform with two swing-out Stokes basket arms that were neatly stowed beneath the floor of the platform, out of the way until needed. Each arm has a capacity of 250 pounds, and the stowed and deployable positions have well-designed positive locks. The feature illustrates that aerial apparatus are not exclusively for firefighting.
Innovative Controls displayed color-coded pump panel controls. The mix of color and chrome created a functional and – if I may say – beautiful pump panel. Color coding is considered a safety feature as it helps the pump operator quickly match pump controls with the corresponding gauges. Be aware that the National Fire Protection Association 1901 apparatus standard (Annex A.16.9.1) has a recommended color scheme for labels and discharges.
Do you need a winch? Warn Industries introduced an unusual way of anchoring a winch for fire apparatus. The design integrates a pad, where an apparatus’ rear dual tires rest, with a trailer hitch receiver for attaching a winch.
KME displayed an easily accessible hose bed that accommodated 1,000 feet of 5-inch supply hose. The overall height of the loaded hose was no more than 6 feet above the ground. The bed configuration also provided safe and easy access to two pre-connect attack lines, a Stokes basket, hard suction sleeve, Little Giant ladder and pike poles.
Seagrave exhibited a fully-equipped 2,300-gpm pumper purchased by the Owings Mills Volunteer Fire Company in Baltimore County, Md. The unit had amazing water flow capabilities. Truck committee members must have attended a large diameter hose school. LDH appliances, discharges and intakes were abundant. For large flow, the design was well done.
The Owings Mills pumper was visibly conspicuous with two Mars lights, a Roto Ray light and other lights mounted on the front. The Roto Ray had red, green and yellow lenses. It would be interesting to know the science behind this “spinning stop light” concept.
Tencate (formerly Southern Mills) showed its latest military fabrics. The company’s booth was indicative of the technology transfer the fire service receives from the military, and vice versa.
CTECH introduced its modular aluminum cabinetry for command vehicles and trailers. The company has been active in the racing industry and is now going for the fire service market. The modular design should be less costly than custom cabinetry. In addition, CTECH offers large mobile toolboxes on castors.
Editor’s Note: Robert Tutterow, who has 30 years in the fire service, is the Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Department health and safety officer. He is a former member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Department Apparatus Committee and is on two other NFPA committees, the Structural and Proximity Firefighting Protective Ensemble Technical Committee and the Technical Correlating Committee for Fire and Emergency Services PPE.