The Apparatus Architect

Over the years, most pieces of fire apparatus, regardless of type, have become larger. Basic dimensions such as overall length, overall height and the in-service weights of units have become so large that in some instances the physical size of the vehicle...


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With the financial restrictions placed on maintenance budgets and capital expenditures, many municipalities have diminished resources to provide this work. Apparatus committees should consider including a specific amount for tool and equipment mounting into the final specifications to ensure that the complete inventory of tools and equipment will be properly and safely secured in the cab and body compartments. A statement similar to the following could be included: “Each bidder shall include an amount of $7,000 for tool and equipment mounting of fire department-supplied equipment, including hydraulic rescue tools as listed in the attached specifications. The tool mounts whether custom-fabricated or commercially purchased hardware shall be approved by the fire department.”

When working on new-apparatus specifications, the department should develop a complete equipment inventory, plan the space allocation needed to safely accommodate and secure this equipment, and not fall into the common trap of acquiring the largest body style available with the hope that everything will work out. Considering the life cycle of the apparatus, with leaving some open space for future equipment, the cost of tool and equipment mounting is nominal when compared to some of the more costly components that are installed on new units. The days of taking equipment off old apparatus and trying to find a place for it on the new apparatus have to be over, especially given the cost of the apparatus and how costly a mistake could be.