A record crowd of enthusiasts, topping more than 20,000, attended the 2006 Lancaster County Firemen’s Association’s annual Fire Expo in Harrisburg, Pa.They attended to view hundreds of displays featuring the latest in fire apparatus design and accessories associated with trucks and fire fighting.
Careful planning and exact mapping was necessary to ensure visitors didn’t miss seeing all the vendors of interest.
The Harrisburg expo is different from other shows in that it has no “hands on” training or classroom sessions. Also, all attendees pay seven bucks each to enter the displays contained in the four large exhibit halls.
From the very modest start of a conference in a local high school, to the outdoor exhibits held at a local amusement park (where it always rained) to the Pennsylvania State Farm Show complex where it moved when it outgrew the facilities in Lancaster County, the expo continues to be one of the best-organized and best-value shows for attendees and exhibitors alike.
A special “tip of the helmet” to John and Tina Alexander and all of the Lancaster County volunteers who give their time and efforts to make this annual event such a success. Having grown up in Pennsylvania in a department where the “Bulldog” was king of the apparatus, it is always nice to come back to see old friends and reminisce about how it used to be.
When viewing the apparatus on display, it is obvious that a lot of money is spent on trucks that are delivered to departments in Pennsylvania and the five or six state area surrounding Harrisburg. With somewhere near 2,500 volunteer departments in Pennsylvania alone, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of customers for the truck builders.
And the fire department’s country fairs, pancake breakfasts, chicken barbeques and other fundraising efforts provide the dollars for those special options, like bells, Roto-Rays and the like. It’s the stuff that separates their trucks from those of their neighboring departments and, more importantly, wins parade trophies.
The pictures with this column tell the story better than words can. It is always amazing to see the variety of apparatus colors at this show. About the only one color I didn’t see was pink.
One of the most complete and mission-capable rigs was the Rosenbauer rescue pumper from Kennett Square, Pa. The truck on display was one of a matched pair recently delivered to this southeastern Pennsylvania community.
In the accompanying pictures note the excellent chevron striping on both the sides and the rear of the truck. No problem here with visibility when the roll-up doors are in the “up” position. Speaking of being seen, every seat includes a high-visibility traffic vest for personnel working a highway accident scene.
Cameras are a special feature of these rigs. There are rear-facing ones so firefighters can see what is coming along side before they exit the truck.
There is also one that is directed forward – next to the turret – similar to those used in police cars. It captures the scene as the truck is approaching the incident and transmits the images back to the firehouse monitor and recorder. Among other things, this could be used to compare one incident tape with another to determine if the same vehicles or persons show up at multiple scenes. That would be an excellent tool in arson investigations.
The pumping system is comprised of a Rosenbauer multi-stage pump with high-pressure discharges, automatic foam proportioning and priming and low pressure discharges for preconnects and the cab-mounted monitor. The rear-mounted pump is not enclosed so that the operators can see the piping and controls.
Up on top, the “coffin” compartments enable storage of long tools, suction hose as well as life vests and an inflatable boat for swift water rescues. The motor for the boat is in a lower compartment for easy access.
Note also the excellent compartment organization and tool mounting. There is even an “oil dry” dispenser complete with a tube for filling 5-gallon buckets.