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Posted: Jul 8, 2013

Apparatus/Equipment News

KME 102-foot AerialCat platformKME 102-foot AerialCat™ platform offers short wheelbase and overall lengths and low travel heights. The platform itself has been redesigned to offer 22.6 square feet of clear work space. The new platform also offers 6.7 square feet of external working space. The parapet ladder access is provided at both sides of the platform, and it offers a movable platform control station, which allows for control of the device from the left, right, and center of the platform for easy operation. The KME AerialCat platform can offer an unrestricted 3,000-gpm waterflow option, achieved with a complete six-inch waterway and 100,000-psi steel ladder. It also offers a 94-foot horizontal reach, a 2.5:1 structural safety ratio, and -12 degree below-grade operation.
-www.kovatch.com, 570-669-9461

Waterous ACCESS pump moduleWaterous ACCESS™ pump module has a hinged top of the module, allowing access from the top to service or perform maintenance to the module. Also, removable panels on the right and left side and a swing-out foam proportioner enable further access. The ACCESS pump module can be equipped with the ONE STEP™ CAFSystem and the seven-inch SMARTPANEL™ Control System.
-www.waterousco.com, 651-450-5000

Elkhart Brass SafeLink single touchscreen interfaceElkhart Brass SafeLink single touchscreen interface integrates pump, valve, and monitor control into a single intuitive touchscreen. Developed in partnership with FRC, SafeLink lets operators manage all components in one central location, allowing firefighters to focus on directing water flow where they need it. SafeLink provides full engine governor controls, multiple valve control and operation, an intuitive 24-inch touchscreen, 1920- by 1080-pixel resolution, durable military spec enclosure, live camera feed video display, and extensive memory technology.
-www.elkhartbrass.com, 574-295-8330

Scott Safety AV-3000 HT FacepieceScott Safety AV-3000 HT Facepiece uses the AV-3000 SureSeal platform to deliver thermal durability and improved voice intelligibility. This allows the product to meet the requirements of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services, (2013 ed.) including those requirements for high heat and flame, radiant heat, and voice intelligibility. The AV-3000 HT features redesigned ducts, voicemitter locations, and dual voicemitters that enhance the facepiece communication to everyone in close proximity of the wearer, not just the individuals directly in front of the user. The AV-3000 HT enables right or left side mounting of Scott's EPIC 3 voice amplifiers to allow users to select the side they prefer. The facepiece flexes with every move and ensures firefighters can use one facepiece with a single fit test for all of their respiratory applications.
-www.scottsafety.com, 800-247-7257

Waterous ONE STEP CAFSystemRead more

Posted: Jul 8, 2013

Letters to the Editor

EMISSIONS EQUIPMENT NOT COSTING BILLIONS

I read with interest the "Fire Industry Today" column by Richard Young in the May 2013 issue of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment. In the last couple of paragraphs, he references his position on diesel exhaust emission regulations. I must disagree with him. I wrote on this subject last year and expressed my support for the fire service reducing emissions from fire apparatus, which would result in significant reductions of firefighter exposure to harmful chemicals. This is not in dispute.

I am puzzled at Young's assertions as he offers no analytical or technical support for his position. It has been necessary to use computers to diagnose diesel engines and automatic transmissions for more than 25 years (1988 Detroit Diesel DDEC 1, and 1987 Allison ATEC transmissions). To suggest that exhaust emissions equipment on fire apparatus is costing billions of dollars is irresponsible and just plain not so!

I have operated nearly 600 transit buses with DPFs or DPFs with SCR for several years. It is noteworthy that the SCR engines are actually getting better fuel economy than 2002 and 2003 model year engines. Sure, there have been a few problems, but we understand there are maintenance implications that we have successfully implemented with excellent reliability.

Owning nearly 700 Cummins engines affords me access to the technical people at Cummins. They tell me they have no reports of any engine shutting down or having a problem that caused a life safety situation on the fireground.

There is no question that there are increased maintenance costs associated with emissions equipment on any vehicle, including fire apparatus. But, that can be said for many things we use today. I believe the benefits are worth it.

Vince Pellegrin
Chief Operating Officer
Metro Transit, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Posted: Jul 8, 2013

In the News

KME recently entered into a joint venture with First Priority Emergency Vehicles and Brilliance Auto Group to supply complete vehicles and partially assembled kits to the Chinese fire market. First Priority Emergency Vehicles exports American emergency vehicles to clients worldwide, while China's Brilliance Auto Group produces and distributes more than 600,000 vehicles per year to the Chinese market. The joint venture is seen as an investment in the future and is expected to allow KME to expand into global markets.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett also recently recognized KME as a finalist at the ImPAct Awards, which aim to commend companies across Pennsylvania for their positive impact on the state's economy. KME was recognized for its job creation efforts and growth in export sales that resulted from its foreign joint ventures.

E-ONE received a two-year contract with the Department of National Defense (DND) Canada, agreeing to provide the department with 24 aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF) vehicles. The deal also includes six Cyclone II top-mount enclosed custom pumpers featuring E-ONE's cold weather package. Up to six more pumpers may be ordered during the duration of the two-year contract. This is not the first time Canada's DND has used E-ONE's services. Sales to DND for E-ONE trucks total 48 units during the past five years.

ELKHART BRASS'S HEROPipe® features a lightweight and floor-below master stream system that can contain a high-rise fire within 30 minutes and is designed for fires that ladder companies cannot reach. According to a study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) between 2005 and 2009, fire departments respond to an average of 15,700 structure fires in high-rise buildings each year, which result in average annual losses of 53 civilian deaths and $235 million in property damage. HEROPipe cuts high-rise fire response time by more than half, saving lives and reducing property damage by 90 percent. It also allows firefighters to attack high-rise fires from the floor below and requires no tools to operate, helping firefighters better meet the challenges of high-rise fires.

• The HACKENSACK (NJ) FIRE DEPARTMENT was recently upgraded from a Class 3 Fire Department to a Class 1 by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). In the past year, Chief Tom Freeman and others worked with the ISO to meet the requirements for a Class 1 rating, a rating given to only 61 of America's 47,000 fire departments. The ISO evaluates each department based on fire alarms and dispatches, the number of fire companies, and the community's water supply. Freeman attributes the upgrade to the firefighters' hard work as well as department improvements in apparatus, training, equipment, and communications. The new ISO rating may improve insurance rates for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

HURST JAWS OF LIFE has launched a new Web site (www.jawsoflife.com) designed to be user-friendly on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. The Web site includes information on user manuals, bid specifications, and detailed performance characteristics for Hurst Jaws of Life tools. Improvements include a new layout, updated product information, warranty registration, downloadable catalogs, Green Cross registration, and a searchable dealer database. It also features new videos showcasing the performance and durability of the Hurst Jaws of Life eDRAULIC, 5,000- and 10,000-pound-per-square-inch (psi) product lines.

FERRARA FIRE APPARATUS received the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation's (LWCC) Safest 70 Award for the third consecutive year, an acknowledgment of excellence, outstanding performance, and a commitment to workplace safety. The Safest 70 Award is presented to those companies that strive to maintain a safe work environment for their employees whi

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Posted: Jul 8, 2013

Buyer, Beware

By Robert Tutterow

This year's Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) did not disappoint with the number of exhibitors and attendees. However, one very disconcerting thing was seeing several items of personal protective equipment (PPE) that were not compliant with the applicable National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard. This was particularly true with gloves, hoods, and footwear. Perhaps more disturbing were manufacturers offering a choice in products-some of which were NFPA-compliant and some of which were not NFPA-compliant.

Fire Service-Driven

A fire department has a moral and legal obligation to purchase NFPA-compliant items. All firefighting PPE is required to be third-party tested and certified. PPE is life safety equipment, and the third party certification means the product has been manufactured to design and performance standards that the fire service has determined to be acceptable. Whoa-did I say the fire service made that determination? Yes. Technically, the minimum standards are developed by the NFPA standards development process. However, in actuality, they are driven by the fire service.

Many people are quick to say that NFPA standards are manufacturer-driven. Having served on three NFPA technical committees and one NFPA correlating committee, I can say with absolute certainty that the fire service is the driver in standards development and revision. This is especially true with controversial issues. Once the fire service reaches agreement on an issue in a standard, almost all the nonfire service voting members will quickly fall in line. The real struggle is getting the fire service to reach a consensus opinion.

Not Out of Reach

One encounter with a vendor at FDIC was particularly revealing. This person accused the NFPA of penalizing the fire service with NFPA 1801, Standard on Thermal Imagers for the Fire Service (2013 ed.). The sales representative blasted the technical committee for setting requirements that were pricing the thermal imagers out of reach for most fire departments. He went on to say that the new prices were higher than what is allowed by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Serendipitously, I ran into the former chair and another member of the NFPA technical committee, who were part of the NFPA 1801 revision, shortly after my encounter with the thermal imager vendor. I shared this story with them, both of whom are fire service people. They were quick to dismiss the vendor's comments. In fact, they said the new pricing is not nearly as high as the sale representative was claiming it is. Both of these technical committee members were well aware of all the thermal imagers currently on the market.

Stay Informed

Buyers, beware of salespeople blaming price increases on NFPA standards. There is no doubt that establishing minimum standards will likely increase the price of a product. For example, Gary Handwerk's article from the August 2008 edition of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment underscores this point. NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Apparatus (2009 ed.), was about to be released with many new safety requirements. Some were speculating that the changes would add as much as $20,000 to the cost of a fire apparatus. Handwerk did an item-by-item breakdown of the new requirements and found the cost to be about $8,000. By the way, have you noticed the reduction in firefighter line-of-duty deaths from apparatus accidents in the past few years?

As Mark Twain said, "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." When it comes to fire equipment-verify the information you receive, and always be informed.

ROBERT TUTTEROW retired as safety coordinator for the Charlotte (NC) Fire Department and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board.

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Posted: Jul 8, 2013

Apparatus Specs, Adverbs, and Adjectives: What Do You "Really" Mean?

Bill Adams

Although some may deny partaking in the process and probably will publically renounce the practice, most fire departments write apparatus purchasing specifications (specs) around a preferred manufacturer-usually with the help of the local vendor. It's a common occurrence. Get over it. I do not favor or condone it, and this article will not address it. This is directed at purchasers who, in good faith, attempt to write "open" specifications in an honest attempt to solicit competitive bids for a new fire truck. Use caution. You might be confusing potential bidders by unnecessarily using meaningless adjectives and flattering adverbs in your document.

An adjective describes or modifies the subject of a sentence. In the sentence "I want a glass of water," water is the subject. In "I want a glass of warm water," warm is the adjective. It gives additional information about the subject. It's grammatically correct. An adverb enhances the adjective, giving further information about it. In "I want a very warm glass of water," very is the adverb. It also is an acceptable method of writing.

However, when writing fire apparatus specifications, if that additional information cannot be defined, measured, and compared, it is useless. It has no value. If words do not give clarity and specificity to the subject, leave them out or confusion, misunderstanding, and undue embarrassment can result. Apparatus manufacturers often use descriptive adjectives and complimentary adverbs to give a favorable impression of their product. That's life. Live with it. Outside specification writers may do likewise, perhaps to make their document look professional. Occasionally, fire departments will inadvertently use an indefinable description. All three may be clouding the subject and hindering the competitive bidding process. There's no room for descriptive adjectives and adverbs in fire apparatus purchasing specifications.

Competitive Bidding

In competitive bidding, a purchaser describes in measurable terms what it desires. The description must be quantifiable to potential bidders. It is imperative that purchasers be able to fairly evaluate and accurately compare what is being proposed to what was specified. If that process cannot be followed, you are wasting your time and the bidders'. How can you determine compliance to a requirement you can't define? The importance of writing a comprehensible description of what you want cannot be overestimated. Vague and indecipherable words and descriptions in a purchasing specification are the first steps in compromising the intent of the competitive bidding process.

The Marketplace

The fire apparatus marketplace is unstable. New apparatus sales have been reported off by 30 to 50 percent. When business was thriving, vendors (manufacturers, dealers, and salespeople) often did not bid against competitors' proprietary specifications, nor did they submit proposals for vague and unclear specifications. In the case of bidding on a competitor's spec, the success rate is somewhere between slim and none. In the case of vague specifications, bidders may have to expend an inordinate amount of time trying to decipher or guess what the fire department really wants or means.

Today many vendors are aggressive; they are hungry. Some may be brash enough to question a purchaser's written word-once considered blasphemous in the fire service. Some may tender a proposal equally as vague and unclear as the published purchasing specifications. How do you handle that scenario?

Accountability

The first lesson in Fire Truck Selling 101 was to never challenge the customer. That may no longer be the case. First, many vendors are forced to do so for economic survival. Second, and in my opinion, it appears new breeds of "determined" salespeople are entering the marketplace. Thi

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