May is springtime in Pennsylvania, and that means the rhododendron are in full bloom, the Amish are in the fields plowing and the Pennsylvania Fire Expo in Harrisburg (sponsored by the Lancaster County Firemen’s Association) opens for its three-day annual exposition of apparatus and equipment.
|Talk about a contrast in pump panels. Hats off to the folks at Alexis for the simple, easy-to-use design (left). As for the other one, sometimes fire departments ask for way too much stuff on the pump panel. (Fire Apparatus Photos)|
Since this is one of the most beautiful times to visit the central Pennsylvania area, I get an extra shot of excitement when I can include a couple of days at the expo with sightseeing and visits with my grandchildren.
|Summit’s R.E.D. Wagon, a remote evacuation and deployment trailer, can carry seated firefighters (inset) or Stokes stretchers or a combination.|
As mentioned in many of my previous columns, the colors of apparatus in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states keep the color palette managers quite busy. Who would ever think you would find two black pumpers (OK, one was very dark blue), several orange and white units, many yellow rigs and even one of those U.S. Forest Service pump-and-roll green jobs. I even saw an all-red pumper for Witmer, Pa., that Pierce had built.
|E.J. Metals made this four-seat wildland vehicle.|
Probably the biggest surprise was the return of American LaFrance to the show floor with two units. According to Harry Hahn, the general manager of ALF’s Corporate Sales and Service Facility in Ephrata, Pa., company officials have not moved any aerial production to South Carolina. They are planning to produce aerials and bodies in Ephrata with the 55 people currently employed. Makes one wonder if pumper body production may be also moved to Ephrata.
|One of the new Sutphen pumpers on display had a right side camera mounted on the headlight module. We are seeing more cameras on the sides and rear of our apparatus.|
Both Federal Signal and PowerArc had new electronic LED light bars on display. I would love to describe how they work, but the technology is well beyond my level of comprehension. I suggest you check out their Web sites or give them a call to get a first-person description.
|This is an interesting way to store a high-rise pack, looped over a mounting rod in a compartment. It looks easy to use and repack.|
There seems to be a lot of interest in smaller units that are capable of off-road firefighting and rescue. E.J. Metals and ASAP both have impressive lineups of these units. Just remember, they are limited in weight-carrying capability. The more equipment you add, the less water you can safely carry.
|Swedesburg Fire Company (north of Philly) recently put in service this Precision pumper mounted on a Sutphen chassis with a Snozzle articulating boom.|
Summit Fire Apparatus introduced a unique “Remote Evacuation and Deployment (R.E.D.) Wagon,” a trailer designed to remove multiple victims from a remote site or transport firefighters/rescuers to and from a remote site. Drawn by an ATV, the trailer can carry three Stokes wire or plastic stretchers or six seated passengers or a combination of stretchers and passengers.
|Pierce sold this large tanker to Witmer Fire Protection Association in Lancaster County, Pa. It looks like the fire department wanted one truck to do everything.|
Elkhart introduced an easy to install, compact, unibody, composite 10-inch dump valve (DV10P) for high-capacity unloading of tankers. The 10-inch valve can be mated with the company’s new QBEC 1C, an easy-to-understand and use valve controller. The composite should eliminate the corrosion problems we have seen on larger metal valves.
|This beautiful SVI rescue is destined for Sterling, Va.|
If you are looking for a compact pump and Class A injection system for smaller units, like pickups, FoamPro just introduced its Turbo Stream, ultra-high-pressure foam system. Powered by a 13-hp gas engine, it allows operators to choose injection rates from 0.3 percent to 3 percent with accuracy that meets National Fire Protection Association requirements. Be cautious, this size unit could have a place in your arsenal, but not in structural firefighting.
|Monroeville (a suburb of Pittsburgh) just received this new E-ONE TDA. Worthy of note are the well-placed steps leading to the tiller seat.|
Please take a minute to look at the pictures with this column for additional suggestions for your next rig. If you see anything out there that you feel deserves to be mentioned, send a picture and brief description to email@example.com. Stay safe!
Editor’s Note: Bob Barraclough is a 50-year veteran of the fire service and fire manufacturing industry. He is chief columnist for Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment magazine and a 20-year member of the NFPA 1901 Fire Apparatus Standards Committee. A principal organizer of the annual FDSOA Apparatus Specification Symposium, he is also a past president of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association. He serves as a consultant to Rosenbauer America and is called upon as an expert witness in litigation. His career includes executive positions at E-ONE, Hale Fire Pumps, National Foam, Span Instruments and Class 1.