By Chris Mc Loone
Every year as FDIC International approaches, we start receiving new product press releases and news releases about what is about to be introduced at the show.
Some companies choose to remain tight-lipped, while others tease the fire industry with what is about to enter the market. As the teasers and press releases begin rolling in, we’re able to get an idea of various themes the show will have. In recent years, multipurpose apparatus emerged as a major theme. In other years, water movement has been a major theme as companies began offering rigs for industrial firefighting. At FDIC International 2018, the prevailing theme was technology, but not what you usually think about.
We’re not talking about technology built into trucks like multiplexing systems or touch screens or electric valves. There was still plenty of that, but we’re talking about technology at a much higher level.
The technology this year is about bringing the Internet of Things to fire apparatus and helping to create smart vehicles. It takes telemetry a step further and enables predictive maintenance based on what information a vehicle is communicating to the platform a department chooses. Think about updates to vehicle components happening over the air based on information sent to and received from the cloud. Or, think about vehicle readiness reports generated based on information pushed from vehicles or notifying the apparatus manufacturer and its dealer when a rig has to be taken out of service with information on the problem automatically. These are only a few examples, and as the systems become more and more sophisticated, the possibilities are endless.
Cancer prevention continued to be a prevailing theme this year. Apparatus manufacturers have now joined in the quest to help firefighters reduce their exposure to harmful contaminants found at structure fires. At FDIC International 2017, we saw many products introduced for personal protective equipment (PPE). This year, fire apparatus makers introduced their concepts to incorporate the “clean cab concept” into their truck designs. The innovations can be seen on cab interiors as well as exteriors.
3M Scott Fire & Safety also announced two donations to organizations working to educate firefighters on cancer awareness.
From an exhibit hall standpoint, many displays were massive this year. In some cases, these larger booths resulted from mergers and acquisitions, while others were the result of the time being right for different companies to expand their presence at the show. For example, MSA and Globe joined forces on the show floor for the first time, as did 3M and Scott Safety as they revealed their new branding, 3M Scott Fire & Safety.
I would be remiss if I did not mention two losses suffered by the fire industry right before and during FDIC International 2018.
On April 17, 2018, industry leader Bill Darley passed away at his home. Darley grew the W.S. Darley & Co. family business into an international business in firefighting equipment and manufacturing, led by the third- and fourth-generation family today. He traveled to 135 countries; was a fire industry leader; and served on boards such as Liberty Mutual, Dominican University, and the Catholic Charities’ Brighter Futures and LOSS programs.
On April 26, 2018, Ernest Kussmaul, founder of Kussmaul Electronics, passed away at the age of 88. He founded Kussmaul Electronics (KECO) in a small shop in 1967. The business grew as it expanded its extensive product line known for solutions for the emergency vehicle market. He continued to engineer new solutions as company president until he retired in 2015.
Firefighter Safety in Apparatus
By Bill Adams
Each FDIC International is better than the previous. The 2018 show, with more than 34,000 attendees, was no different. Because there were no changes to NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, manufacturer innovations were purchaser- and self-driven. It is challenging to point out innovations from one manufacturer without offending others. Apparatus manufacturers are promoting intracab firefighter safety for firefighters by relocating outside the cab any equipment possibly carrying carcinogens. Interior materials, coatings, and fabrics are the big push now.
Although very large multipurpose pumpers with alternate pump panel locations were still shown, it appears short-wheel-based (WB) rigs with conventional midship-mounted pumps and operator panels are still popular—or making a comeback. In particular, the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department’s Engine 4 by Seagrave featured a 171.50-inch WB, and Seagrave’s FASTrack Series demo rig had a 184.50-inch WB. Marion had a pumper headed to Brunswick, New York, with a 182-inch WB. Spartan-ER showed a 182.50-inch WB rig for Kodiak, Alaska. Ferrara displayed a pumper for Detroit, Michigan, with a 160-inch WB. Detroit’s Squad 6, lettered “Heavy Rescue” with a 163-inch WB, was in the HME Ahrens-Fox booth. I think it’s a trend to go back to the basics—smaller, compact, and maneuverable apparatus.
Probably one of the smartest and long-overdue innovations was an onboard automatic extinguishing system to protect the undercab engine compartment on a custom fire chassis. Rescue 1 installed the system on a heavy rescue it displayed, and I believe it is the first installation in the United States on a fire truck. If you think about it, diesel engines run extremely hot in a very confined, enclosed area right below the crew’s seating area. Some fire apparatus can cost $1 million, and they are not immune to self immolation. I predict the system will become very popular. It will soon be adopted by all the chassis manufacturers and will no doubt end up in NFPA 1901 down the road.
The Fogmaker Engine Compartment Fire Suppression System uses a high-pressure water misting system (with foam) piped to 10 discharge nozzles around the motor. It has been used in Europe since 1995 in the mass transit industry. Its Web site says more than 17,000 systems were installed in 2017 alone.
Another noteworthy innovation addressing fireground operations is the pump panel layout Spartan ER supplied on a rear-mount aerial platform for the St. Louis (MO) Fire Department. There are three panels! LCD panels with tactile buttons and touch screens are located on the driver’s side pump panel, over the curbside front wheel well, and one in the platform. An operator can control the pump, discharge valves, intake valves, scene lighting, air horn, and tank levels from any of the three positions. Each panel can view cameras positioned to see locations not within line of sight. The panels are integrated with Spartan’s existing electronic system that shows the aerial’s rotation, elevation and extension positions, diagnostics, and interlocks. If running with limited staffing, this system allows the operator to quickly access pump controls on both sides plus in the platform. Let the salespeople explain the space-saving features on the rig, and let active firefighters expound on its advantages on the fireground. The concept is an excellent safety innovation, and I expect other manufacturers will follow suit.
Pierce introduced a new midmount platform in its Ascendant series, and HME Ahrens-Fox introduced a new cab designated the AF-1. HME Ahrens-Fox displayed its version of a small electronic touch screen pump operator’s panel. Manual controls are on the way out, and electronics are slowly taking over. Innovations directly addressing firefighters’ safety in apparatus design arebecoming as important as improvements in the design of their PPE.
Equipment, Components, Gear, and Apparatus
By Alan M. Petrillo
New versions of pumps, nozzles, PPE, apparatus, boats, and other firefighting equipment were highlights at FDIC International 2018.
W.S. Darley & Company introduced Darley’s Digitrol™ digital control panels, a Hydrant Booster™, a 1.5AGE 13HX portable gear-driven pump that delivers 23 gallons per minute (gpm) at 175 pounds per square inch (psi), and an Odin Hornet™ mini-CAFS system. Darley also showcased the Fireboy Zintex battery-powered carbon monoxide alarm; the Blast Mask SCBA breathing training simulator; the ozone-charged Darley decon unit; Leica Geosystems BLK 360 laser scanner for IR/thermal imaging; Drone Sense real-time video tracking; and drones from DGI, PSI, Yuneec, and FLIR.
New products at Task Force Tips included Bluetooth wireless monitor controls, the Tsunami RC industrial monitor, a DECON/pak for on-scene decontamination, and a six-inch remote control Vortex nozzle.
Elkhart Brass Company brought out the Chief Select-O-Matic XD nozzle, the RAM XD 500-gpm portable monitor that depresses to 14 degrees, and a manual Extender three-inch waterway that flows up to 1,250 gpm. FRC introduced the Spectra 950 5,000-lumen perimeter light, a 12,500-lumen low profile Crest Light, and a 360-degree camera system with an added DVR.
IDEX Fire & Safety introduced Captium™, a cloud-based fleet management and intelligence system, while Akron Brass Company brought out the Navigator 9330, Mini Navigator Pro, and Navigator Pro 2.0 valve controllers, plus the StreamMaster II with an integrated manifold and a redesigned SaberMaster combination smooth bore/fog nozzle. Hale Products introduced Flex Line, a revision of the gear boxes for four pump styles, while Class 1 brought out an integrated ESKEY/VMUX pump panel interface device.
Globe Manufacturing Inc. introduced the SupraFlex™ fire boot, the Globe particulate hood, and interface particulate guards on its turnout coats and pants.
MSA brought out the new MSA Hub that has WiFi and cellular ability to allow its G1 SCBAs to talk with tablets and laptops and the new XF1 Helmet that features integrated lighting and communications systems as well as options for two visors—a full face shield or more streamlined eye protection.
Other products seen at FDIC International include the Hero Drag, a ballistic nylon rescue system that folds small enough to fit in a bunker pant leg pocket, and Rescue 42’s new Shark-X cribbing and lifting device as well as its TeleCrib Jr. rescue strut.
Lake Assault Boats featured a new all-welded aluminum hull 22-foot RIB for shallow water use powered by a 200-horsepower Suzuki outboard engine and carrying a Darley 375-gpm Honda-powered pump and a Task Force Tips Thunder Fog monitor.
Summit Fire Apparatus showcased a rescue-pumper it built for the Winchester (KY) Fire Department on a Spartan Metro Star chassis and cab carrying triple crosslays, a trash line at the right side pump panel, and two hydraulic hose reels and a hydraulic tool compartment in the front bumper.
Firefighter Orientation on the Fireground
By Raul Angulo
Tools, equipment, and technology advancements to help keep firefighters situationally oriented on the fireground were a prevalent theme at FDIC International 2018. We do not teach firefighters to become lost and disoriented, but it happens enough that numerous inventors, many who are active firefighters, are developing ideas to address this problem to make the fireground safer for firefighters. Though new technology advancements may seem complicated, the thought process behind the solutions are still very basic.
Besides illuminated search ropes and strobe lights that can be attached to the tip of a ground ladder for better visibility, I noticed an emphasis and a return to “glow-in-the-dark” material. Phosphorescent material is a type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Phosphors radiate visible light after being energized—usually by exposing them for a short period to bright light like the sun or a powerful flashlight. Phosphors release their stored energy slowly over time in the form of light that we see as a yellow-green glow. The glow fades away after a few minutes but can last up to a few hours, depending on the concentration of the phosphorescent material and the darkness of the surrounding environment.
FotoLum® was one of many exhibitors showing high-visibility safety products. FotoLum® makes helmet trapezoids, crescents with all the various ranks, numbers, letters, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinder strips, and helmet shields. The phosphorescent identifiers are applied to 3M Scotchlite™ adhesive strips and secure to any piece of safety equipment or PPE.
By Paul Shapiro
FDIC International 2018 was another great year for water delivery equipment. The nozzle folks were showing their new lines with a great emphasis being placed on smooth bore tips this year. We now have 11⁄16- and 13⁄16-inch tips. These tips are designed to get decent flows at a reduced nozzle reaction based on a 50-psi nozzle pressure. It seems to be catching on because all companies are making them.
With fire hose, true inside diameter (ID) hoselines are now being manufactured that actually measure out to the exact ID based on what it’s supposed to be. A 1¾-inch line is actually a 1¾-inch line, allowing for a lighter weight hose when charged. Hose with very good kink resistance at low pressures is also what we’re seeing today. I think what’s happening is our fire service instructors are coming up with new concepts regarding handline flows, and the manufacturers are listening to them. The result of this is a great product. I’ve also seen a resurgence of two-inch hose made both with 1½-inch couplings and 2½-inch couplings. There is a large movement in replacing 2½-inch high-rise handlines with two-inch hose. And, of course, there is specialty type equipment such as certain nozzles that just keep chugging away and making a difference in water delivery.
Fire Apparatus Driver Safety and Training
By Chris Daly
This year, I once again toured the FDIC show floor seeking new ideas and equipment that may relate to fire apparatus driver safety and training. One of the first things I noticed was a large number of new fire apparatus built on a pickup truck chassis.
It is not surprising to see fire departments heading in the direction of smaller vehicle chassis. As fuel grows more expensive, and municipalities begin to recognize the wear and tear issues associated with running large apparatus on nonemergency incidents, we will most likely see an increase in the number of fire apparatus built on smaller chassis.
While the use of smaller vehicles is a great idea for many reasons, fire departments and administrators must be cautious. One of the greatest issues associated with smaller chassis is the possibility of overloading the vehicle and causing it to exceed the gross vehicle weight rating. While the vehicle may be designed to carry the proper amount of equipment when it is first delivered, there may be a strong temptation to add additional equipment in the future. This additional equipment, which was not considered during the original design phase, may cause the vehicle to become overweight.
Few departments realize that NFPA 1911, Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing, and Retirement of In-Service Emergency Vehicles, requires an annual weight certification. There are detailed instructions in this standard on how to properly conduct the weight certification. While some agencies may question how to complete such an “impossible” task, it is really quite simple.
Most districts have some type of business that uses fixed or portable scales. Such businesses include junk yards, scrap yards, truck stops, and landfills. Many agencies may also have access to a roadside weigh station that is operated by a state or county agency. Developing a relationship with these businesses or agencies will make an annual weight certification a much easier task.
Once the fire department finds a suitable location to conduct its annual weight certifications, it is important to make sure that these certifications are properly documented. After the vehicle is weighed, ask the weigh master for a copy of the weight ticket. Make copies of the weight ticket and keep one copy in a file drawer and another copy inside the cab of the apparatus. Should the apparatus ever be involved in a crash, this will allow the fire department to prove that the vehicle was properly weighed if a lawsuit should ensue. When the lawyers start knocking on the door, it is important to make sure each apparatus complies with NFPA standards.
Smaller fire department vehicles are useful tools that can increase firefighter safety and customer service. While these vehicles are useful tools, it is also important to ensure that the vehicles are maintained properly and kept in safe working order as required by state laws and NFPA standards.
New Product Impressions
By Robert Tutterow
When I was a kid, the new model cars for the coming year always hit the showroom floors on the same day. And, each year the new models were distinctively different. I remember riding the school bus on that special day and anxiously awaiting the morning ride by the local Chevrolet dealership. As the bus went by, we would all crowd to the left side to get a quick glimpse of the new models. When I returned home that day, my father would take me to the dealership to see the new models up close—and get a free Krispy Kreme donut.
That same excitement still exists today when I enter the exhibit halls at FDIC International. This year, there were several new products that I found worthy of discussion. The product that most impressed me was from an unlikely vendor, Manns Woodward Studios. This architectural firm was demonstrating a new program using virtual reality that takes you on a 3D tour of the interior and exterior of a new fire station before ground is broken. The level of detail includes the memorabilia you hang on the wall.
The most polarizing new product was MSA’s new jet-style helmet. The helmet provides side and back protection. It can integrate with communications systems and provides for hands-free lighting. And, it has built-in eye protection and built-in face protection that is not exposed to the products of combustion. MSA took this product introduction to a new level by hosting a riveting panel discussion with panelists from the United Kingdom and North America discussing the merits of both the jet-style helmet and the traditional helmet most commonly used on this side of the pond.
Globe introduced a new firefighting boot with an extremely slip-resistant sole. The slip resistance is not a topical treatment but a proprietary product developed by Vibram that is engrained in the sole. The slip resistance was demonstrated on the show floor by firefighters walking up an inclined slab of ice. And, the lightweight boot comes from the factory with a broken-in feel.
I was very impressed by the new Bauer Unicus 4i breathing air compressor. Using RFID technology, the compressor uses a touch pad to log every time a cylinder is refilled. And, it has the capability of monitoring the breathing air quality by sending the information directly to your third-party certification agency. The agency reviews the information and, if it meets the required criteria, sends a certificate of compliance to the department. There is no need to send air samples to the third-party testing agency.
The new HAAS Alert System is very impressive. It is a vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology that alerts motorists that an emergency response vehicle is their vicinity. It communicates with the popular WAZE app that many of us have on our cell phones. Purchase this technology for your vehicles and do a public information campaign in your community, and navigating through traffic will be a lot easier and safer. The technology also can communicate with traffic signals.
The most impressive product I saw from a startup company was the Northern Star directional guidance system that firefighters can place on the inside of their SCBA face piece, which provides north-south-east-west directional information like a compass. There is no on/off switch as it uses motion sensing technology for activation and deactivation. The product uses a gyroscope, has a small “watch-type” rechargeable battery, and sells for around $100.
Finally, another product that captured my attention was FireSolve. Released in February after seven years of development, it is a patent-pending wetting agent compared with other water additives such as many of the traditional foams that appear to quickly become unlawful because of environmental concerns.
Stay tuned for my future “Keeping It Safe” column on all the new products designed for contamination control.
Highlight of Fire Apparatus Year
By Ron Heal
A trip to FDIC to see all the latest on apparatus, loose goods, and services that are offered to the fire-rescue-emergency services agencies is the highlight of my fire apparatus year. I know the show is getting close when all my usual apparatus manufacturing contacts are not available because show preparations are underway. While the exhibit floor is only open for three days, many weeks and months of dedicated work are spent to provide this “must-attend” event.
After visiting as many apparatus manufacturers as possible, I came away with a consensus that there is a good increase in new orders. There is some concern about rising raw materials costs for steel and aluminum. For some smaller manufacturers, there is a concern for finding qualified skilled workers to build product—it has been a while since that concern has been expressed. The number of rigs and variety of customer-sold units on display seemed larger this year.
The official start for the show is at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. Heading for the Pierce display is a tradition. This year there was a large area completely curtained off in the Pierce display. What was behind the curtains? Pierce introduced the newest addition to the Ascendant™ line of aerial devices. The 100-foot midmount heavy-duty aerial tower platform quint was unveiled. Lisa Barwick, director of business development, aerial products, promoted the truck’s overall maneuverability, drivability, operator functionality, and serviceability. The five-section heavy duty steel ladder has an overall ride height of 10 feet 8 inches and a length of 41 feet 3 inches. Setup time is less than 30 seconds. Pierce also introduced CZConnect™, a telemetrics system offering vehicle readiness reports.
John Shultz, director of pumper and custom chassis products at Pierce, introduced me to the Pierce Carcinogen Awareness and Reduction to Exposure (CARE) initiative. This is in partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. This is the roll-out of clean cab features that support CARE. Easier to clean seats and interior surfaces, high-impact HVAC filtration, and warm-water rinse availability are features Pierce is including in production models to create a healthier workplace for firefighters.
A stop at the HME, Inc. display found a full selection of HME and HME Ahrens-Fox models. Richard Lagerquist, chief engineer, chassis and aerial products, explained the all new AF-1 cab and chassis configuration. The AF-1 cab is available for orders now. It features a one-piece glass windshield, new grille, headlights and bezels, and optional LED lighting. Instrumentation features the Glass Cockpit with “Virtual Engineer™” digital screens in a composite resin-infused glass cloth dash housing in black Zolatone finish. HME had a large display of its product line, including the HME SFO AWD wildland urban interface pumper with stainless steel body.
While “new” is the main focus at every FDIC International, I always enjoy finding the “old.” Once again, Seagrave included a vintage pumper at its display booth. A nicely restored 1926 pumper that served Cushing, Oklahoma, was a proud part of its display. It is interesting that Seagrave is a name in fire apparatus that dates to 1881. I am not aware of any USA manufacturer of fire apparatus that tops that date. Seagrave featured an Aerialscope, heavy rescue, 100-foot aerial, and two pumpers.
Last year at FDIC International, I rode to the top of Lucas Oil Stadium in a Bronto Skylift platform. While that Bronto unit was once again on display outside the stadium, I had advance information from a good friend in Winnipeg that Fort Garry Fire Trucks had just completed a Bronto platform quint. Steve Suche, government and export sales, Fort Garry Fire Trucks, told me that Fort Garry entered into a nonexclusive agreement late last fall with Bronto to market Bronto Skylift units in North America. Orders were placed for a Spartan Gladiator cab and chassis and a Bronto Skylift F116 RLP hydraulic platform. This would let Fort Garry have a complete piece of fire apparatus to show at FDIC International. Considering that all the components arrived in Winnipeg on March 7, the team at Fort Garry worked wonders to have a 116-foot aerial platform with a 2,000-gpm pump, a 350-gallon tank, and a 50-gallon foam cell on display at FDIC. The ride up in the Fort Garry/Spartan/Bronto was smooth as silk!
So Many Services to Provide
By Richard Marinucci
Anyone who attends FDIC International must come away with a sense of awe as to the breadth of the show. There were more than 34,000 attendees who participated in various training programs and on the show floor. One of the most impressive aspects was the diversity of services and products related to the mission of today’s fire service. It was in all aspects, from the vendor displays that included hardware and software to big-ticket items like fire trucks and management support products. The training programs were equally as diverse, providing classes for firefighters to chief officers and covering the gamut of potential service offerings.
Everywhere I went, from the hallways to the main convention area, Lucas Oil Stadium, and outside, I found crowds and learning opportunities. Besides showing their products or services, all vendors offered insight into their commodity and help in learning more so that good decisions could be made. Too often we forget that the vendor show floor is more than just a chance to see new things. It is part of the educational program, and the value cannot be denied. The biggest challenge is narrowing your search to the items of relevance to your organization. It is not humanly possible to spend any quality time at every space.
One common theme with many vendors and educational programs was firefighter well-being. There are more products and services that are working toward creating a more safe and healthy environment for firefighters. I realize that this is a dangerous business, and often there is little that can be done when people put themselves in harm’s way to help their communities, but clearly there is an effort to prevent the preventable. Undoubtedly, there is more information on the added hazards facing firefighters, including more risks for cancer, mental health and wellness, and physical fitness. It seems that everyone is trying to help in their own way. This is a good thing but also means that those responsible must perform their due diligence so that the product or service addresses their concerns and there are no unexpected consequences.
The use of technology continues to expand, if the show was any indication. Virtually every product on display sought to push its technological advances. This promises to help fire departments become more efficient and effective. But, as with any new venture, let the buyer beware. Make sure you have an issue to address and that the product adequately addresses the issue. You don’t need a solution for a challenge that doesn’t exist.
The modern fire service has become much more complicated, requiring more knowledge, apparatus, equipment, and service. This year’s FDIC International put an exclamation point on this fact. Clearly, the expectations and the challenges facing fire departments to deliver across many disciplines will be around for a long time. FDIC International remains the one-stop shopping place to find what you need.
Themes of Reducing Cancer and Minimizing Exposure Prevalent
By Carl J. Haddon
In thinking about the grand experience that FDIC International was again this year, I did find a wonderful recurring theme that seemed to grab my attention again and again. That theme was reducing firefighter cancer and minimizing our exposure to carcinogens while on the job. Although I saw a bit of it at last year’s FDIC International, this critical topic seemed to permeate the trade show floor this year.
I saw and spoke with manufacturer representatives like Tonya from Responder Wipes, which makes a specialty disposable single-use towel that is designed to remove and mitigate toxic soot and products of combustion from our skin that we pick up while on the fireground. In addition to the wipes, Tanya also showed me the company’s version of a turnout and SCBA decon/isolation bag designed to allow firefighters to doff contaminated bunker gear and SCBA on scene. The contaminated PPE and SCBA are easily zipped up into their own protective bags and taken back to the station for laundering. This practice is said to keep the inside of the rig from being continuously contaminated.
I also had a chance to chat with Todd from FireDex about its new particulate barrier hoods that help reduce our exposure to the “nasties” while fighting fire. In addition to its new particulate hood, which is designed to protect our head and neck from carcinogen exposure, we also got a chance to talk about its new turnout manufacturing campaign designed to help reduce the very critical issue of firefighter heat stress and related medical emergencies experienced by many firefighters each year.
Hernan and the boys from Hazard Control Technologies also grabbed me to share the firefighter benefits that can be gained from use of their encapsulator agent (firefighting water additive) known as F500EA. I was shown studies from Clemson University and others documenting how F500EA actively removes 98 percent of toxic carcinogens from soot and smoke! I have written a number of articles about the up-and-coming technology of true encapsulator agents; however, I had no idea that the science of this technology (at least for Hazard Control Technologies) was so well documented. I also learned that with all of the recent issues with PFOA and PFOS contamination in ground water from firefighting foams, true encapsulator agents contain NO flourines and are extremely environmentally friendly. Recognized by NFPA-18A, Standard on Water Additives for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation, this is firefighting technology that is likely to be a game changer.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not again mention the fantastic learning and networking experience that this event offers. FDIC International is a week of brotherhood and sisterhood that no firefighter should miss.