The past few installments of the Apparatus Architect we reviewed some of the history of cab design and the most recent innovations that have lead to improved vehicle performance and increased safety for personnel. It is unfortunate that given the current economic conditions, many municipal fire departments have been unable to take advantage of these technological advances as budgets for capital projects have been reduced to the point where new apparatus purchases have had to be put off. On the positive side, some departments have been able to upgrade their fleets with single or multiple unit purchases using alternative funding methods and strategic planning to promote the need for new apparatus.
Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania the Manheim Township Fire Rescue Department was formed in June of 2007 combining the resources of three independent fire companies. Prior to consolidation of the Eden, Neffsville and Southern Manheim fire companies, each organization was responsible for the purchase of any new apparatus with a large amount of private fund raising needed for each unit. A strategic plan was developed and approved in August, 2009 which in part laid the ground work for an initiative which would provide for new pumpers which would be set up identically including a dedicated reserve engine.
Under the direction of Chief Rick Kane, Manheim Fire Rescue formed an apparatus committee with members from each of the three fire companies with representation from several surrounding departments that expressed interest in purchasing a standard engine apparatus. Over a period of several months the committee members met to determine the major features that would be incorporated into the new standard design engine and visited a number of departments in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia that had taken delivery of new units. The result of the process was choosing Pierce Manufacturing and its local representative, Glick Fire Equipment Company to provide the new engines using the State of Pennsylvania Costars cooperative purchasing program.
In addition to the four new engines, the strategic plan called for the acquisition of two mini-squad units, one of which would be equipped with a small engine driven fire pump and tank. These units built on Ford F-550 chassis would be assigned to the Eden and Southern Manheim stations to respond to EMS calls and other minor incidents to reduce wear and tear on the engine and ladder apparatus. All six vehicles were acquired using the manufacturer’s leasing program which enabled the department to take advantage of pre-payment options.
Each of the pumpers was built on a Pierce Arrow XT chassis with a wheelbase of 176.50 inches and an overall length of 29 feet 7 inches. Keeping the overall length of the engines was an important component in the overall design, while providing seating for six personnel and equipped with a 2000 gpm single stage pump and 500 gallon water tank. Safety and maintenance components that were integrated into the apparatus include independent front suspension, reinforced steel front bumper, cab down view mirror, chassis lubrication system and cab headset intercom for each seating position.
Each of the engines are equipped with six preconnected attack lines including a 100 foot 1.75 inch trash line and two crosslay 200 foot 1.75 inch lines which are connected to discharges located on the pump panel directly below each line. The rear hose bed was set up to carry 1200 feet of 5.00 inch supply line, a 400 foot long apartment line, a 250 foot 2.50 inch attack line together with a 300 foot 3.00 inch line used to supply a Blitz Fire monitor. An additional 300 foot, 300 inch hose bed can be used to supply sprinkler connections or used in conjunction with the standpipe packs carried on the right side of the body.
These well designed engines are planned to provide a fifteen year life cycle for the department and will initially be rotated every ninety days among the three stations to balance out use due to differences in incident response with the highest mileage unit going into reserve status. The Manheim Township Fire Rescue engine apparatus were specifically designed to be a structural fire fighting unit which would allow standardized equipment and hose line locations which would greatly enhance safety, training and fire ground operations.
Developing the department’s strategic plan enabled the three fire companies to coordinate their efforts in many areas and under the guidance of Chief Kane and his staff they were able to convince the Township that advancing and improving fire protection could be accomplished with the financial backing of the community. Well planned and executed programs can be achieved despite what might seem as insurmountable challenges when fire service personnel work together to achieve a common goal. The Manheim Township Fire Rescue Department is an excellent example of what can be achieved in this fashion.
The Freeland Fire Department is located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania and protects the Borough of Freeland and surrounding communities with their fleet of two engine, ladder truck and utility support unit. The department was formed during 1989 as a result of a consolidation of two fire companies whose origins dated back to 1883. The department has in the past operated a number of custom chassis apparatus including several four wheel drive pumpers which provided access to the hilly terrain areas within the first due area during winter weather.
The department relies heavily on local fund raising to support department operations and apparatus purchases. Unlike many locations where the fire department is fully tax supported, the volunteer members in Freeland are justifiably proud of their apparatus which are largely funded from contributions and various fund raising activities. These efforts have resulted in some of the most unique and well designed engine apparatus that over the past years have provided many years of reliable service. As an example, the new Engine 55, a 2011 KME Predator Panther pumper replaced a 1974 FWD pumper which had more fire attack capability than many new apparatus.
The department’s apparatus fleet is under the guidance of Chief Engineer Cal Herring who is responsible for the maintenance and testing of Freeland’s units. Over the years the department has operated with four different used aerial ladder units which were extensively rebuilt and modified for use by the department. The new Engine 55 was a result of several years of planning with the department’s apparatus committee, after visiting several manufacturers’ facilities and evaluating new apparatus deliveries in the area.
Particular attention was made to reviewing the fire pump piping arrangement with the 2000 gpm fire pump to insure that each of the nine preconnected attack lines would provide the required gpm flow with minimal friction loss. Prior to placing the new engine into service each of the discharges were flow tested using the department’s hose and smooth bore nozzles ranging in size from 1.00 inch to 1.25 inch to verify the friction loss and required pump pressure.
Engine 55 is built on a wheelbase of 193.00 inches with an overall length of 32 feet, 5 inches and carries a 750 gallon water tank. Coordination between the department’s apparatus committee and KME provided for a well designed engine that carries a full compliment of engine company equipment including a pre-piped Stang gun and two tailboard mounted portable ground monitors. The Freeland Fire Department uses 2.00 inch hose for attack lines with Engine 55 carrying 1700 feet of 5.00 inch supply line together with several 150 foot long 3.00 inch set back lines equipped with a water thief.
Both the Manheim Township Fire Rescue and Freeland Fire Department’s set out to design and specify engine apparatus that would carry basic equipment, hose and attack lines to produce needed fire flows at various incidents. While combination rescue engine apparatus may meet the needs of some departments, these two departments developed specifications to provide short wheelbase engine apparatus with multiple attack lines and enhanced safety components which would meet the needs of their response areas.
Photos for use in AA Part 54:
Part 54 #1:
Engine 201 is one of four identical Pierce Arrow XT pumpers operated by the Manheim Township Fire Rescue Department. Note the unit number plate which can be changed for vehicle identification.
Part 54 #2:
Standpipe packs are carried on a tray under the ground ladders on the right side of the body. New York roof hooks are mounted on the rear of the cab for easy access.
Part 54 #3:
The Manheim Township engines are equipped with L-shaped 500 gallon water tanks to provide for a low hose bed with three attack lines. The rear body is equipped with scene lighting with a traffic arrow stick mounted above the hose bed.
Part 54 #4:
The Freeland Fire Department placed this 2011 KME 2000 gpm pumper into service equipped with front intake, discharge and scene lighting around the perimeter of the unit.
Part 54 #5:
Engine 55 carries an assortment of appliances including rural water supply equipment and hand tools with all equipment mounted within the body compartments
Part 54 #6:
The Freeland engine is equipped with nine preconnected attack lines including 3.00 inch lines for leader lines and to supply the tailboard mounted portable monitor.
All photos by Tom W. Shand
Firehouse Magazine January 2012
By Tom W. Shand and Michael Wilbur