In the last installment of The Apparatus Architect we reviewed some concepts for maneuvering through the bid procurement process to insure that your department and community will receive competitive bids for your next piece of apparatus. Much of the groundwork that is established early on with your committee will pay off dividends in the end with a smooth delivery and acceptance process for the vehicle. As taxpayers are becoming more sensitive to large capital expenditures we need to do our homework to provide for a logical and accountable process from start to finish. While the financial picture may not look bright for the immediate future this is no reason to sit back and forestall your vehicle acquisition program. A detailed assessment of your fleet with a well developed fleet replacement plan will insure that the needed apparatus and equipment will be available to protect your community. An Apparatus Architect can provide you with a Fleet Evaluation and provide your fire department with a detailed Fleet Replacement Program. With this in mind in this article we will focus on several departments who have recently placed into service well designed engine apparatus to meet their specific needs.
The La Plata Fire Department in Charles County, Maryland operates from a single station staffing two engines, a rescue engine, tractor drawn aerial ladder, tanker and brush unit. Under the command of Chief Jason Moore the volunteer department responds to over 1400 alarms each year in their first due area as well as other areas of Charles County. The department had sought to replace their twin 1988 Pierce Lance pumpers with vehicles that had a short, maneuverable wheelbase with a low hose bed for advancing attack lines.
The department apparatus committee met with several prospective manufacturers and after the bids were evaluated awarded a contract to Pierce Manufacturing for two Arrow XT pumpers. These units were constructed on a 169.50 inch wheelbase with an overall length of just thirty feet. The engines are carry a 1500 gpm pump, 500 gallon FDNY style water tank and are equipped with six preconnected attack lines together with supply line beds for 3.00 inch and 4.00 inch hose. The apparatus bodies are fabricated from stainless steel with extensive tool and equipment mounting. Each pumper is equipped with several safety components such as front down view mirrors, back up cameras, reinforced front bumper and LED warning lights. These new pumpers prove that “Bigger is not always better” and are a good example of well designed engine apparatus. While some departments continue to “supersize” their apparatus the officers and members of the La Plata Fire Department worked diligently to design a pair of practical, short wheelbase units to meet the needs of the community.
In upstate New York the Syracuse Fire Department operates with ten engine companies, six truck companies, a rescue company and several aircraft rescue apparatus from twelve strategically located fire stations. The department under command of Chief Mark J. McLees annually responds to over 20,000 alarms employing well developed tactics for structural fire fighting. The department utilizes two piece engine companies to deliver both EMS and suppression services. This concept dates back to 1972 when the department embarked on a radical reorganization plan to modernize operations with the construction of seven new fire stations and a complete replacement of all front line apparatus within a five year period. All of the department’s truck companies are provided with Sutphen aerial towers with a four piece Rescue Company that is staffed with seven personnel. Each of the engine and truck companies is staffed with four personnel on each shift. Each of the engine companies
operate with a full size pumper together with a mini pumper which is used as an EMS first response. These smaller four wheel drive units are equipped with composite bodies and reduce the wear and tear on the larger apparatus.
Today, the department continues to provide for new apparatus on a regular basis under the auspices of an Apparatus Advisory Committee headed by District Chief David Reeves. The committee is made up of members from the maintenance division and training bureau as well as officers and company members. This input is reflected in the department’s apparatus specifications which are performance related and provides for an open, competitive bid process. For a number of years all of the department’s engine company units were equipped with 50 to 55 foot telescopic water towers. Due to financial considerations the most recent engine apparatus were designed without the water tower device while making changes and improvements to enhance safety for operating members.
During July, 2010 the department took delivery of two new Sutphen pumpers that were assigned to Engine Companies 3 and 7. These engines featured exterior cab compartments for storage of the drivers gear and EMS equipment as well as storage area for the drivers SCBA under the forward facing seats. The pumpers were built on a 200 inch wheelbase with an overall length of 31 feet 7 inches. The engines are equipped with a 2000 gpm single stage pump, 500 gallon low profile water tank with a 50 gallon Class A foam cell.
The Syracuse Fire Department relies heavily on multiple preconnected attack lines with each engine outfitted with two 200 foot and two 300 foot attack lines with automatic nozzles. In addition to these lines the units are provided with a front trash line, preconnected 200 foot Blitz Fire line together with two supply line beds each with 700 feet of 4.00 inch hose. The department’s engine company procedures have been refined over the years as a result of their fire ground experiences to provide safe and efficient operations. The low crosslay beds and well designed pump panel layout provides operational benefits and simplifies training for new drivers.
Additional maintenance and safety features such as a steel reinforced steel bumper, on board chassis lubrication system, non slip step surfaces and remote control deck gun were provided on each apparatus. Due to the severe winter weather conditions the department specified stainless steel body construction together with roll up shutter doors and heat tapes for pump panel gauges. The Syracuse Fire Department can be justifiably proud of their newest engine apparatus which together with other department programs should strengthen the department’s ISO Class 1 rating.
In the northern portion of the State of Maryland the Owings Mills Volunteer Fire Company operates as Station 310 in Baltimore County. Under the command of Captain Kevin Wallett the station responded to over 4400 fire and EMS incidents during 2009 operating with two engines, a tractor drawn aerial ladder, brush unit, medic unit and several support vehicles.
Current Owings Mills apparatus include a 1994 Seagrave TB model 2000 gpm pumper as Engine 311 and a 2003 Seagrave TT model 100 foot tractor drawn aerial ladder as Truck 313. Engine 312, a 2009 Seagrave model TB-80CM pumper is the stations newest piece of apparatus that was carefully developed by fire company members with the assistance of life member Denny Warren.
Engine 312 is a Seagrave Marauder II pumper equipped with several safety and maintenance enhancements including a full stainless steel cab, steel reinforced front bumper, front crossover mirror, vertical exhaust and electronic stability control. Engine 312 is built with a wheelbase of 190.50 inches and an overall length of 31 feet, 5 inches. The fire pump is rated at 2250 gpm with a low profile water tank carrying 500 gallons. The engine apparatus was specifically designed to provide for a short wheelbase engine that could operate within the Owings Mills response area while providing the maximum amount of enclosed compartment space. With this in mind the unit is not equipped with crosslay hose beds but rather has the preconnected attack lines carried in the rear hose bed.
The left and right side pump panels each have preconnected trash lines carried in the recessed hose wells. The rear hose bed carries 1400 feet of 5.00 inch and 550 feet of 3.00 inch hose for supply lines. In addition the engine carries two 200 foot 1.75 inch attack lines together with a 150 foot preconnected 2.50 inch line. An additional 300 feet of 3.00 inch hose is carried for use as a leader line.
The body is fabricated from stainless steel and is provided with seven enclosed lower body compartments and four upper body locker compartments. The body compartment layouts were set up to provide ready access to all tools and equipment by using an assortment of modules, tool boards, slide trays and adjustable shelves. The Owings Mills Fire Company has had a long history of designing and operating some very unique rigs over the years and Engine 312 is no exception.
Some of our earlier articles in the Apparatus Architect series emphasized the importance of defining the mission of the apparatus and developing a comprehensive listing of tools, equipment and hose that would be carried on the unit. The ability to properly lay out the needed pieces of equipment within the body while allowing some space for future growth will lead to a properly proportioned apparatus and not one that was only limited in size by the depth of the bay in your fire station.