Plano Upgrades Its Fire Apparatus Fleet

Sturdy mounting of the mobile data terminal is a must. Don’t leave this up to “Ralph the Radioman.”
Sturdy mounting of the mobile data terminal is a must. Don’t leave this up to “Ralph the Radioman.”
Plano's pumpers have a distinctive lime yellow sign board above the compartments on both sides of the rig. Dual pre-connects are located behind the striped front bumper (Fire Apparatus Photo by Bob Barraclough)
Plano’s pumpers have a distinctive lime yellow sign board above the compartments on both sides of the rig. Dual pre-connects are located behind the striped front bumper (Fire Apparatus Photo by Bob Barraclough)
The hose bed walkway is easily accessed by lowering the ground ladder storage rack. The access ladder is certainly safer than little fold-down steps. Notice how visible the entire rear of the vehicle is due to the striping
The hose bed walkway is easily accessed by lowering the ground ladder storage rack. The access ladder is certainly safer than little fold-down steps. Notice how visible the entire rear of the vehicle is due to the striping
PAC tool mounts are used for the installation of hydraulic rescue tool equipment. (Fire Apparatus Photos)
PAC tool mounts are used for the installation of hydraulic rescue tool equipment. (Fire Apparatus Photos)
The pump panel is well done. No discharges or inlets. Good use of flow meters and pressure gauges. The yellow handle controls the deck gun at the top of the rig.
The pump panel is well done. No discharges or inlets. Good use of flow meters and pressure gauges. The yellow handle controls the deck gun at the top of the rig.

When I moved to Plano in 1986, there were 50,000 residents, give or take a few. Most of the major streets were two lanes, but with enough space to expand to six if and when that was needed. The infrastructure was in place for the schools, parks and police and fire departments to support a city of 275,000.

Fast forwarding to 2010, I realize that the planning done by the mayor, city council and the city manager was outstanding, as the current population is in the neighborhood of 270,000, and we have most all of the amenities we should have to comfortably support a city of 275,000. In short, Plano is a great place to live.

When you talk about planning, Chief Hugo Esparza and Plano’s fire department do that very well. They have a replacement fund that allows engines to be retired after 12 years’ service and aerials after 15 years.

As most of us know, to meet the 2010 Environmental Protection Agency propulsion engine requirements, the cost of each apparatus ordered after Jan. 1, 2010, increased approximately $10,000. In order to avoid the new charges, Plano fleet services and the fire department got together and developed a plan to consolidate future purchases and move up orders for seven engines and three trucks prior to January 2010 to avoid the significant up-charges.

Building seven engines at one time should ensure a great deal of similarity between the units. The truth is most manufacturers have problems in building multiple units that are identical, but chassis and engineering costs are reduced if multiple units are purchased at one time.

There are some upgrades that are included with these pumpers that you should be aware of. They are as follows, but in no particular order.

After five years of having air packs mounted in the body, the department decided to move them back into the cab, where they are now mounted in Bostrom Secure-All seats. Insider information indicated this was at the request of the firefighters.

A Sturdy Mount The computer is on a sturdy mount in front of the office. Too often, this mounting is slip-shod and can easily come loose in a rollover or crash.

The cab includes both 120-volt and 12-14-volt air conditioners. It does get hot here in north Texas, and the 120-volt system cools the cab and drugs while the unit is in the station. A sturdy tree guard protects the roof-mounted unit.

I like the low midship-mounted turn signals to alert adjacent traffic that the unit is changing lanes or making a turn.

The cab has two 120-volt brow lights, which have been a well-accepted option. Each rig is equipped with a 10,000-watt generator in order to provide ample 120-volt power at the scene or for the brow lights while trying to find a house number.

The Pump Panel The pump is a FoamPro-equipped rear-mounted Waterous 1,250-gpm single-stage with Class A foam being able to flow through front bumper pre-connects (1-3/4-inch) and a midship pre-connect, as well as the remote control Akron deck gun. I like the tank level lights on either side of the cab. There are two 3-inch discharges at the back of the rig.

The pump panel has no discharges or intakes for the engineer to work around, over or under. The Akron electric valves work nicely with the combination flow/pressure gauges.

Several items caught my attention at the rear of the engines. First was the walkway alongside the 5-inch hose. Repacking hose is very safe and easy to do. Just drop the hydraulic ladder rack, fold out the easy access ladder and move up to the walkway. No more ballerina steps for access to the top, and you have a stable platform to stand on and pack the hose. Moving the ground ladders to a fold-down rack allowed the bottom of the 5-inch hose bed to be dropped 13 inches.

Power for all the pumpers is from Cummins ISL-300 engines and Allison EVS 3000 transmissions. This is a nice package that saves considerable money over the bigger Allison, which is required with larger horsepower engines.

The General Division of Rosenbauer America has completed and delivered two of the pumpers with five more under construction. Rosenbauer’s Central and RK divisions have completed and delivered the three 109-foot quints.

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. Barraclough serves as a consultant to Rosenbauer America and is called upon as an expert witness in litigation involving fire industry products. His career includes executive positions at E-ONE, Hale Fire Pumps, National Foam, Span Instruments and Class 1.

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