Franklin Township (OH) Sutphen Pumper-Tanker

Bob Vaccaro explains why, when the Franklin Township Fire Department started the process of purchasing a new pumper, it decided to downsize.
When the Franklin Township (OH) Fire Department started the process of purchasing a new pumper, it decided to downsize as many fire departments around the country have done in the past few years.

According to Chief Brad Moore, “Our response district is comprised of 40 square miles with a population of 5,400 and incorporates the villages of Shiloh and Felicity. It is primarily a rural area with four schools; small, light industrial areas; farmland; and numerous single-family dwellings.”

Moore says that only 25% of the coverage area has hydrants, “so, in most cases, we have to bring our own water on the apparatus. We decided to replace our 1985 and 1993 pumpers and combine their tools and operations on this new engine.”

In a perfect world, Moore says, the department would like to replace vehicles every 20 years but, in this case, that didn’t happen primarily because of budget constraints. “Our committee had worked on the design of this new vehicle for a few years,” he said. “We applied for a FEMA grant, which took four to five years to obtain for the purchase of this new unit. The grant really gave us some leeway in choosing the type of vehicle and its operation. It is certainly a big upgrade from what we are used to working with on our older units.”

Moore continues, “We really improved our operations with this new unit. Sutphen and its local dealer, Heritage Fire Equipment, worked with us to really get what we wanted in this new pumper.”

Traditionally, the department operated open cab apparatus, meaning the jump seats were open and did not meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 standards, according to Moore, who added that this time, the department chose to go with a Sutphen Monarch custom cab and chassis.

 The pumper-tanker is built on a Sutphen Monarch chassis. (Photos courtesy of Sutphen Corporation.)

 Rescue-style body with large compartments.

“It made it a great deal safer for our firefighters,” he says. “We designed this new engine to be a pumper-tanker. Our older pumpers had 1,000-gpm pumps and 500-gallon tanks.”

With the purchase of the Sutphen, Moore says the department really upgraded with a 1,500-gpm pump and a 1,500-gallon tank, adding that the new apparatus gives the department significantly more water to handle any initial attacks.

The new apparatus has larger compartments as well, providing more space for hazmat equipment, water rescue suits and equipment, EMS equipment, and extrication tools, Moore says, adding that the rig also carries the normal complement of engine company tools and fittings as well.

As the apparatus also serves as a tender, the Sutphen has a dump valve installed on the rear, which makes it easier to discharge the tank water, Moore says. It also carries a two-section 24-foot ladder, a 14-foot roof ladder, and a 10-foot folding ladder, he adds.

“Since this will be a first-out vehicle, we wanted it to be a one-stop shop for all types of alarms,” Moore says.

 Rear showing tanker-style dump valve.

 Officer side with large compartments and overhead ladder rack, with folding ladder and pike pole storage.

The new apparatus carries 150 feet of 1¾-inch hose on the extended front bumper, 1,000 feet of 4-inch supply line, 600 feet of 2½-inch hose, and two crosslays—one with 200 feet of 1¾-inch and one with 250 feet of 1¾-inch. “We think we have all the bases covered with this complement of hose,” Moore says. “Sutphen and its engineers and the local dealer really worked with us in the design of this new vehicle.”

Moore says the build turned out well for the department and it’s performing well during training and fires. He is certain responses in the district will improve as well as operations at all emergency scenes. “So far, operations have gone well for us and service after the sale has been great as well,” Moore says.

If you need to purchase a new vehicle for your response area, there are many considerations. If you are planning on having a 20- to 25-year replacement program, can you afford it with your budget? Are you planning well enough in advance so you have enough money when the time comes? Is applying for a FEMA grant one of the means of paying for it, or are you relying on a township, village, city, or fire district for the payment?

Don’t forget the amount of time you need to spend looking at local deliveries and various manufacturers and apparatus before you write your specs. Sometimes, you can gain new insight and ideas you might want to incorporate into your new vehicle.

Don’t rush into a large purchase such as this before you plan properly. Doing so will make the process a lot easier and give you less grief in the end.

BOB VACCARO has more than 40 years of fire service experience. He is a former chief of the Deer Park (NY) Fire Department. Vaccaro has also worked for the Insurance Services Office, the New York Fire Patrol, and several major commercial insurance companies as a senior loss-control consultant. He is a life member of the IAFC.

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