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The purpose of the Fire Mechanics Section is to promote standardization of fire apparatus and equipment preventative maintenance, improve safety standards and practices, promote workshops, conferences, and seminars related to the purposes of this Section, and to promote cost savings through standardization of building and equipment purchasing and maintenance.

RECENT FIRE MECHANIC NEWS

Posted: Feb 11, 2016

Unique Applications Call for Specialty Emergency Vehicles

Specialty vehicles play an important role in a fire department’s fleet, whether it’s a platoon full of different units or a single rig for a specific dedicated purpose.

The types of specialty vehicles and the specific models being made vary among fire departments and regional response teams according to the special requirements dictated by their response areas and types of hazards they face. But, typically they are vehicles used for command, hazmat, specialty rescue (such as dive teams), air and light, urban search and rescue (USAR), or any combination of these functions.

1 SVI Trucks built four air and light units for the Houston (TX) Fire Department on Ford F-550 chassis. Each unit has a 13-cfm air compressor and a small light tower. (Photo courtesy of SVI Trucks
1 SVI Trucks built four air and light units for the Houston (TX) Fire Department on Ford F-550 chassis. Each unit has a 13-cfm air compressor and a small light tower. (Photo courtesy of SVI Trucks.)

Bob Sorensen, vice president of SVI Trucks, says many fire departments talk about building smaller specialty vehicles but end up having manufacturers put together large tandem-rear-axle rigs with high gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs). “We recently built a tandem-rear-axle specialty rescue/command vehicle that has a small crane on the back of the unit,” Sorensen says. “And, we are seeing more trucks being provided as turnkey units with all of the equipment already mounted in the vehicles. Some fire departments want to issue a single purchase order for a vehicle and all its equipment, and they’ve even provided us with their laptops and radios to be installed too.”

2 E-ONE built this combination specialty vehicle for the Dumfries-Triangle (VA) Volunteer Fire Department on a nonwalk-in body and a tandem-rear-axle chassis. The unit functions as a rescue, hazmat, and specialty rescue rig. (Photo courtesy of E-ONE
2 E-ONE built this combination specialty vehicle for the Dumfries-Triangle (VA) Volunteer Fire Department on a nonwalk-in body and a tandem-rear-axle chassis. The unit functions as a rescue, hazmat, and specialty rescue rig. (Photo courtesy of E-ONE.)

Bill Himstedt, director of product management and rescue sales for E-ONE, says the specialty vehicle market has changed in the past two years. “We had been delivering nonwalk-in bodies with command cabs and some power requirements,” Himstedt says. “But, recently a lot of customers are asking for more complex trucks, basically combination units with front walk-in modules and the backs being walk-arounds. They want light command functions and office space up front on a heavy-duty, fire-rated body that can be upfitted in the future if needed.”

Air and Light

At the other end of the specialty truck size spectrum, Sorensen notes that SVI recently delivered four air/light units to the Houston (TX) Fire Department built on Ford F-550 chassis carrying 13 cubic-foot-per-minute (cfm) air compressors and small light towers.

Ferrara Fire Apparatus built an air and light truck for the Monroeville (PA) Fire Department on a heavy-duty custom cab with a walk-through body accessed from the rear. “The truck had a huge compressor in the center of the body to make its own air where firefighters could fill their bottles out of the elements,” says Kevin Arnold, rescu

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Posted: Feb 11, 2016

Unique Applications Call for Specialty Emergency Vehicles

Specialty vehicles play an important role in a fire department’s fleet, whether it’s a platoon full of different units or a single rig for a specific dedicated purpose.

The types of specialty vehicles and the specific models being made vary among fire departments and regional response teams according to the special requirements dictated by their response areas and types of hazards they face. But, typically they are vehicles used for command, hazmat, specialty rescue (such as dive teams), air and light, urban search and rescue (USAR), or any combination of these functions.

1 SVI Trucks built four air and light units for the Houston (TX) Fire Department on Ford F-550 chassis. Each unit has a 13-cfm air compressor and a small light tower. (Photo courtesy of SVI Trucks
1 SVI Trucks built four air and light units for the Houston (TX) Fire Department on Ford F-550 chassis. Each unit has a 13-cfm air compressor and a small light tower. (Photo courtesy of SVI Trucks.)

Bob Sorensen, vice president of SVI Trucks, says many fire departments talk about building smaller specialty vehicles but end up having manufacturers put together large tandem-rear-axle rigs with high gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs). “We recently built a tandem-rear-axle specialty rescue/command vehicle that has a small crane on the back of the unit,” Sorensen says. “And, we are seeing more trucks being provided as turnkey units with all of the equipment already mounted in the vehicles. Some fire departments want to issue a single purchase order for a vehicle and all its equipment, and they’ve even provided us with their laptops and radios to be installed too.”

2 E-ONE built this combination specialty vehicle for the Dumfries-Triangle (VA) Volunteer Fire Department on a nonwalk-in body and a tandem-rear-axle chassis. The unit functions as a rescue, hazmat, and specialty rescue rig. (Photo courtesy of E-ONE
2 E-ONE built this combination specialty vehicle for the Dumfries-Triangle (VA) Volunteer Fire Department on a nonwalk-in body and a tandem-rear-axle chassis. The unit functions as a rescue, hazmat, and specialty rescue rig. (Photo courtesy of E-ONE.)

Bill Himstedt, director of product management and rescue sales for E-ONE, says the specialty vehicle market has changed in the past two years. “We had been delivering nonwalk-in bodies with command cabs and some power requirements,” Himstedt says. “But, recently a lot of customers are asking for more complex trucks, basically combination units with front walk-in modules and the backs being walk-arounds. They want light command functions and office space up front on a heavy-duty, fire-rated body that can be upfitted in the future if needed.”

Air and Light

At the other end of the specialty truck size spectrum, Sorensen notes that SVI recently delivered four air/light units to the Houston (TX) Fire Department built on Ford F-550 chassis carrying 13 cubic-foot-per-minute (cfm) air compressors and small light towers.

Ferrara Fire Apparatus built an air and light truck for the Monroeville (PA) Fire Department on a heavy-duty custom cab with a walk-through body accessed from the rear. “The truck had a huge compressor in the center of the body to make its own air where firefighters could fill their bottles out of the elements,” says Kevin Arnold, rescu

Read more
Posted: Feb 11, 2016

Unique Applications Call for Specialty Emergency Vehicles

Specialty vehicles play an important role in a fire department’s fleet, whether it’s a platoon full of different units or a single rig for a specific dedicated purpose.

The types of specialty vehicles and the specific models being made vary among fire departments and regional response teams according to the special requirements dictated by their response areas and types of hazards they face. But, typically they are vehicles used for command, hazmat, specialty rescue (such as dive teams), air and light, urban search and rescue (USAR), or any combination of these functions.

1 SVI Trucks built four air and light units for the Houston (TX) Fire Department on Ford F-550 chassis. Each unit has a 13-cfm air compressor and a small light tower. (Photo courtesy of SVI Trucks
1 SVI Trucks built four air and light units for the Houston (TX) Fire Department on Ford F-550 chassis. Each unit has a 13-cfm air compressor and a small light tower. (Photo courtesy of SVI Trucks.)

Bob Sorensen, vice president of SVI Trucks, says many fire departments talk about building smaller specialty vehicles but end up having manufacturers put together large tandem-rear-axle rigs with high gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs). “We recently built a tandem-rear-axle specialty rescue/command vehicle that has a small crane on the back of the unit,” Sorensen says. “And, we are seeing more trucks being provided as turnkey units with all of the equipment already mounted in the vehicles. Some fire departments want to issue a single purchase order for a vehicle and all its equipment, and they’ve even provided us with their laptops and radios to be installed too.”

2 E-ONE built this combination specialty vehicle for the Dumfries-Triangle (VA) Volunteer Fire Department on a nonwalk-in body and a tandem-rear-axle chassis. The unit functions as a rescue, hazmat, and specialty rescue rig. (Photo courtesy of E-ONE
2 E-ONE built this combination specialty vehicle for the Dumfries-Triangle (VA) Volunteer Fire Department on a nonwalk-in body and a tandem-rear-axle chassis. The unit functions as a rescue, hazmat, and specialty rescue rig. (Photo courtesy of E-ONE.)

Bill Himstedt, director of product management and rescue sales for E-ONE, says the specialty vehicle market has changed in the past two years. “We had been delivering nonwalk-in bodies with command cabs and some power requirements,” Himstedt says. “But, recently a lot of customers are asking for more complex trucks, basically combination units with front walk-in modules and the backs being walk-arounds. They want light command functions and office space up front on a heavy-duty, fire-rated body that can be upfitted in the future if needed.”

Air and Light

At the other end of the specialty truck size spectrum, Sorensen notes that SVI recently delivered four air/light units to the Houston (TX) Fire Department built on Ford F-550 chassis carrying 13 cubic-foot-per-minute (cfm) air compressors and small light towers.

Ferrara Fire Apparatus built an air and light truck for the Monroeville (PA) Fire Department on a heavy-duty custom cab with a walk-through body accessed from the rear. “The truck had a huge compressor in the center of the body to make its own air where firefighters could fill their bottles out of the elements,” says Kevin Arnold, rescu

Read more
Posted: Feb 11, 2016

Maintenance Programs and NFPA 1911: Safety After the Build

By Wesley D. Chestnut

Throughout the fire service industry, most fire departments are aware that National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus (2016 ed.), and NFPA 1906, Standard for Wildland Fire Apparatus (2016 ed.), became effective for all apparatus contracted on or after January 1, 2016.

Members of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) work hard to help develop these standards. While these standards are very important, they only apply to new apparatus. NFPA 1911, Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing, and Retirement of In-Service Automotive Fire Apparatus, is as important in that it provides guidance on how to ensure existing apparatus can continue operating in a safe and effective manner.

Background

Several weeks ago, a member of a local fire department approached me about a concern with fire apparatus maintenance within the department in which he served. Through the discussion, it became apparent that the individual was aware of NFPA 1911 but was having difficulty getting other members of the department to understand the value of the document or to use certain recommended practices within the document. I offered to go to the department and his city council meeting to discuss the benefits of using NFPA 1911 as a baseline for a maintenance program. What surprised me was the response. The individual spoke with members of the department, including the chief, about the offer of assistance. Members of the department, including the chief, indicated the department potentially had a negative view of the standard and felt as though the offer of assistance would lead to some form of regulation or management.

As I thought about the conversation and responses more, I felt compelled to write about the importance of having a maintenance program. It is concerning that there may be departments that do not have a maintenance program or do not understand the importance of NFPA 1911. It is true that neither the NFPA nor the federal government mandate adherence to NFPA 1911, but protecting the apparatus, those who ride in it, and those who use the equipment that is installed on it is of the utmost importance.

Operational Use of Fire Apparatus in Brief

Most fire apparatus are expensive and, by design, carry a large amount of weight. While they may not be driven for long periods of time and may be designed and built to standards that apply to new apparatus, the loads they carry and the extreme dynamics to which they are exposed can take a toll on systems such as brakes. Other systems, such as the fire pumping system or aerial device, may not be operated frequently, but this does not mean they are not subject to the extreme conditions to which fire apparatus are exposed. In more rural fire departments where the call volume may be low and the apparatus is not driven or operated frequently, items such as tires, pump seals, and other elastomeric components may suffer from simply not being used.

Values of Maintenance, Inspection, and In-Service Testing

A maintenance, inspection, and in-service testing program is essential to protecting the lives of the people who use the apparatus as well as prolonging the life of the apparatus. This goes beyond oil changes, checking air pressure in the tires, and making sure the water tank is not leaking. A checklist identifying inspection or maintenance criteria for critical systems of the apparatus should be implemented. Just because the call volume is low and the apparatus does not get exposed to a large number of hours of service does not mean the need for this checklist is negated.

Frequent maintenance and inspections do come with a cost. However, identify

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Upcoming Events

Fire Mechanics Section Board

Chair

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Chair

Elliot Courage
North Whatcom Fire & Rescue
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Vice Chair

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Vice Chair

Mike Smith 
Pierce County Fire District #5
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Secretary

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Secretary

Justin Claibourn
Central Pierce Fire & Rescue 
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Director #1

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #1

Loren Angiono 
City of Lynnwood
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Director #2

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #2

Paul Spencer 
Fire Fleet Maintenance LLC
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Director #3

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #3

Larry Elliott
Olympia Fire Department
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Director #4

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #4

Doug Jones
City of Redmond
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Director #6

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #6

Brett Annear
Kitsap County Fire District 18
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Director #5

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #5

Jay Jacks
Camano Island Fire & Rescue
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Legislative Representative

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Legislative Representative

TBD
TBD
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Immediate Past Chair

Posted: Oct 20, 2015

Immediate Past Chair

Brian Fortner
Graham Fire & Rescue

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