WFC News

Posted: Nov 12, 2013

Five Questions for Steve Toren, Waterous Director of Sales & Marketing

Chris Mc Loone

CM: How has the ACCESS pump module been received thus far?

ST: The ACCES module has been very well received. At FDIC we had very good reviews of that product and we've continued to send out specifications to fire departments that want to write this product into their specs. The biggest thing that intrigued the folks in the fire service was the access-the ability to lift it up and get inside and do repairs without a whole lot of "turning yourself into a pretzel" and for not that much additional money. Some actuators, a hinge, and some adjustments-you have to split the module at the point just below the hose trays. Based on that, the interest has been tremendous.

CM: What do you see as the biggest issue in the fire service right now, and how does Waterous work to address it?

ST: I think the biggest issue in the fire service right now continues to be lack of revenues in fire departments in North America. I think Canada is doing better than the United States as far as that goes. How are we helping with that? We continue to work hard at Waterous to keep the cost down in our product and come up with innovations that provide the fire suppression capability in the pumping part of the apparatus but keep the cost down.

CM: What do you think is the most important Waterous innovation for the fire service during recent years?

ST: I really believe that, and it's not an innovation in the truest sense, but from a pumping standpoint, from the fire suppression standpoint, it is compressed air foam and the improvements in that part of fire suppression or the pumping part of the apparatus. In particular, our new ONE STEP, and that's a Waterous innovation. Overall, CAFS has really taken more center stage. I think from the standpoint of innovation, what has been done with compressed air foam from the actual foams-they are vastly improved-proportioning, again vastly improved, and ONE STEP and its ability to mix the three components in CAFS-water, foam, and air-most efficiently and come out with a product that is far superior to straight water.

CM: What's next for Waterous?

ST: Waterous is going to continue to make improvements to our products. We continue to improve where we are headed with our ONE STEP product in compressed air foam, and then electronic pump controls.

CM: What keeps you up at night?

ST: Being director of sales and marketing here at Waterous, what keeps me up at night is really keeping business coming in the door here at Waterous. Over the past four or five years, the economy has really been a problem. It's been coming up, so we've seen improvement there. And, I'm very excited about what's coming up for the future and so business is coming in the door, but the main thing that keeps me up at night is keeping the shops busy for our employees.

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Posted: Nov 12, 2013

HME Celebrates 100 Years of Innovation

Chris Mc Loone

The HME, Inc. the fire service knows today is not the same HME Magnus Hendrickson founded in 1913. Staying in business for 100 years is no easy feat. Ken Lenz, president, who has been with the company for 36 years, attributes the company's perseverance and dedication to both the trucking and fire industry as keys to its success. "Staying ahead of the curve in relation to our ever-changing technology has always allowed HME to maintain an edge on the competition," he says. "Throughout the company's history, HME has opened its doors to other OEMs and provided them with our products to assist them in growing their companies."

Almost 22,000 custom trucks later, HME now specializes in manufacturing custom fire and emergency apparatus cabs and chassis as well as a full product line from the smallest rescue unit to the 104-foot Scorpion platform.

The chassis HME created for Grumman

(1) HME began designing and manufacturing a line of fire apparatus
chassis for Grumman Emergency Products in 1989. The chassis HME
created for Grumman was a variation on its original VT-100. It
eventually became known as the Panther I, for aerials, and Panther II,
for pumpers. During a three-year period, HME manufactured almost
300 chassis for Grumman. (Photos courtesy of HME, Inc.)



HME traces its roots back to 1913 when Magnus Hendrickson, a designer and manufacturer of custom truck chassis, founded the company as Hendrickson Mobile Truck Company. Hendrickson was one of the first engineers of his day to see the potential for two rear axles, along with the incorporation of suspension systems. In fact, there is still a division of the original company that continues to supply suspensions for trucks and trailers, still bearing the name "Hendrickson."

In 1978, the Hendrickson family sold the company's various divisions to the Boler Group, which continued to supply suspension and chassis to the truck industry. In 1985, Hendrickson sold the assets of the Mobile Equipment Division with the cab and chassis business being purchased by Kovatch Mobile Equipment and the remaining product lines by HME's present ownership. The Hendrickson Mobile Equipment name was eventually shortened to the now familiar HME.

The first HME design to be released under the new ownership was a custom truck chassis known as the VT-100. The VT-100 was a Class 8 conventional truck chassis engineered to withstand the rigors of severe construction applications.

In the 1950s, HME designed the first tilt-cab over, which tilted to the rear. In 1983 it introduced tilt-cab engineering to the fire service when it designed the first tilt cab for fire apparatus. The company found that using a tilt cab in tandem with cab-forward trucks, which featured shorter overall lengths and improved maneuverability, was very practical for fire apparatus applications. In addition to the practical aspects of driving the apparatus with these features, using the tilt-cab design also provided easier and more efficient access to the engine compartment, ultimately reducing maintenance time and costs.

The HME SilverFox

(2) The HME SilverFox® can be easily recognized by its 12-inch raised
roof, 96-inch-wide SFO cab, rugged 12-gauge natural finish, stainless
steel pump module, and heavy duty body with the ladders and hard
suction through-the-tank design as standard.



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Posted: Nov 12, 2013

The Last Piece of the Incident Command System Puzzle

Laura Ballantyne

Although the dramatic events of the Boston Marathon validated the reality of possible continued terrorist attacks, previous anthrax attacks identified vulnerabilities in early identification of any biological event. Any type of terrorist attack or major incident needs superior coordination among the diverse agencies that respond to such occurrences and tighter control of how areas or sectors are managed.

The rapid evolution of the anthrax cases and their impact across multiple locations, jurisdictions, and professional communities and constituencies (e.g., public health, hospitals, private physicians, police, environmental agencies, military response teams, firefighters, and affected workers and their unions) revealed the benefit of coordination planning.

Some endemic factors that impeded coordination were very basic. Procedures as seemingly routine as standard practices for clinical and environmental testing and use of proper protective clothing and equipment proved to differ among public health officials, fire and rescue services, police, environmental specialists, and so on. For some, responding to these incidents represented the first time they had met with and coordinated with other agencies. This approach results in disagreements on which procedures and standards to follow. In addition, plans need to anticipate the need to forge quick relationships and procedures between the public health departments and local emergency responders or police affected and involved in these types of emergencies. Most importantly, they need to know whom and what are entering into these now "classified hazardous areas." This potentially catastrophic omission needs to be rapidly addressed and quickly rectified.

New and unanticipated working relationships also contribute to difficulties communicating critical information, such as key decisions on who should be allowed to enter such dangerous areas. Should they be expected to just walk in and report to someone who looks in authority? Similarly, communications and coordination channels between public health and private groups affected by the emergency-such as hospitals-do not fully anticipate such mass convergence of emergency responders in their response plans. This results in rapidly establishing ad hoc restrictions, which result in people who could help being restricted while anyone in a uniform is allowed to enter with no questions being sought regarding their validity.

Agency Interoperability

Clearly, these types of events led organizations to recognize the need for greater interaction, control, coordination, and communication among various constituencies. How, then, is it possible to establish a rapidly deployed sector management system that all parties can simply understand and apply-one that will feed a newly defined discipline of what qualifications, competency, authority, and experience are deemed safe to ensure no one is allowed to enter unchecked into such potentially dangerous environments? The answer lies in reasserting the traditional role of sector management while integrating technology that improves the management control functions.

Whenever there is a need to deploy large numbers of emergency service personnel, together with their vehicles and equipment, a sophisticated incident command system (ICS) is brought into use.

This system divides a fireground into sectors for operational command; command support; safety; USAR; marshalling; entry team control; logistics; decontamination; water; foam; relief management; crew rehabilitation; and welfare, communications, and press liaison. In effect, the fire and rescue service controls the inner cordon, the police service controls the outer cordon, and the ambulance service controls the casualty clearing stations.

However, there are major omissions in the system. There is no focal point for the operational sector commande

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Posted: Nov 12, 2013

Multi-Purpose Device Simplifies Rope Rescue

By Raul A. Angulo

One of my favorite cartoons is by Deputy Chief Gary English, the Seattle (WA) Fire Department (SFD) assistant fire marshal. The cartoon shows a group of five or six firefighters with all their gear and equipment standing in a circle looking down into a giant manhole. The caption reads, "You know, we would have been able to save you before we were trained." Isn't that the truth!

I remember a call we had when I was on Engine 33. My crew was dispatched to a drowning on Lake Washington. The victim was about 14 years old and ended up going down in about seven feet of water 40 feet from shore. I tied a rope around my lead firefighter and handed him my swimming goggles. We saved the kid, but he died 10 days later. There were some chiefs who wanted to formally reprimand us for violating the policy against free diving and for not waiting for the dive team. I asked those guys, "How long did you expect this kid to hold his breath?"

I recently watched a few seasons of Emergency! In one rescue, Johnny and Roy had a patient over the beach cliffs. The crew anchored the rope to the front bumper hooks of Engine 51 and threw the coil of rope over the cliff. Johnny and Roy both took a couple of wraps around the hook of their ladder belts and rappelled down to the patient. Chet and Marco sent the equipment and the Stokes basket down on another line. The two paramedics treated and packaged the patient. Engineer Stoker put the apparatus in reverse and towed everyone back up to safety-simple and fast.

Pictured are the Traverse Rescue 540 Rescue Belay (left) and the CMC Multi-Purpose Device (MPD)

(1) Pictured are the Traverse Rescue 540 Rescue Belay (left) and the
CMC Multi-Purpose Device (MPD) (right). The rope-loading diagram
is etched into the face plate of the 540 for easy rigging. The rope can
be loaded from either end by taking 1½ wraps around the oval-shaped
pulley or 540 degrees. The orange parking brake dial in the center of
the MPD is one of the safety devices that can be set in case the
operator needs to leave his position, locking the load in place. It is
used in conjunction with the secondary friction post. (Photos by


My, how we've complicated this evolution! Now we need Class III harnesses, a main line, a belay line, travel limiters, prusiks, anchor plates, anchor straps, brake racks, carabiners, and pulleys. We have to know how to tie water knots, interlocking long-tail bowlines with a Yosemite finish, a double figure eight, and the infamous Munter hitch. We have positions like attendant, controller, and safety and commands like, "Attendant ready? Main line ready? Belay ready? Up, up! Down, down! Stop!" Oh yeah, now we're not supposed to say "slack" anymore, just up or down. How are we supposed to remember all this when this is a high-risk/low-frequency event?

That's what this job is all about and why we train hard-to get it right for an event that may never happen in our career. As a captain of a ladder company, there's no evolution that puts more pressure on me than technical rope rescue. There are so many moving parts to this evolution. The crew is working independently to set up all the components and the person who gets the least "hands on"-the company officer-is the one who has to make sure and check that the system is set up correctly. He has to make sure every knot is tied correctly and all the rigging is as it should be.

This view shows the secondary friction post, the movable brake, and the load-release lever.Read more
Posted: Nov 12, 2013

Ambulance Designs Reflect Safety Trend

Alan M. Petrillo

Ambulance makers are stressing safety in their vehicles, both for patients and attendants in the rigs, as well as providing more easy-to-use storage and equipment space for responders-inside and outside of the patient box.

Structural Safety

David B. Cole, vice president of sales and marketing for Horton Emergency Vehicles, says that his company has been testing vehicles by sled tests and dynamic tests since 2007 and roll testing since 2009. "Every test we do provides us with additional information that we use in making a safer vehicle," Cole says. "For instance, our VI-Tech vibration isolation technology isolates the body of the ambulance from the road and enhances handling with less bounce and sway. The vibration reduction gives a firmer ride and means less noise penetrates the box, so it's a quieter ride."

The Horton Occupant Protection System

(1) The Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS), standard on all
Horton Emergency Vehicles custom model ambulances, includes a
three-point seat harness system used with inflatable head curtain and
tubular air bags. (Photo courtesy of Horton Emergency Vehicles.)


Cole also points to the Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS) as a technology that has made its rigs what he calls "some of the safest ambulances in the industry." HOPS starts with a three-point seat harness system used in conjunction with barrier seat bolsters to confine the occupant. A detachable feature on the over-the-shoulder part of the harness allows the medical responder to move forward to access a patient without removing the seat belt.

HOPS also includes progressive resistance headrests at all seating positions that dissipate energy throughout a laminated protective surface that eliminates the bottoming effect and offers additional protection much like that provided by high-impact sports and racing helmets, Cole says. In case of a side impact rollover, HOPS deploys two types of air bags-an inflatable head curtain and a tubular structure air bag. The head curtain protects the attendant from the inhalation area cabinet while the tubular air bag is used in the main attendant area and at the CPR seat for additional head protection.

The fourth element designed into HOPS, he notes, is a roll sensor that calculates the speed at which the vehicle is rolling to determine when to fire the air bag restraints. Cole points out that HOPS is standard on all of Horton's current custom models.

PL Custom Emergency Vehicles uses radiused corners, blunted strike points, and thick padding on the patient area's walls

(2) PL Custom Emergency Vehicles uses radiused corners, blunted
strike points, and thick padding on the patient area's walls to keep
both attendants and patients safe inside its ambulances. (Photo
courtesy of PL Custom Emergency Vehicles.)


Safer Seating

Chad Brown, vice president of sales and marketing for Braun Industries, believes the biggest strides made in safer ambulance design relate to seating. "Seating is a big safety issue," Brown says. "We put medics in a seated position and make sure they are harnessed yet still are able to perform their duties from that seated position."

Brown notes that different configurations are being developed in ambulances instead of the typical captain's chair, CPR seat, and squad bench. "We

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