The Apparatus Architect

The past few installments of The Apparatus Architect reviewed some history of cab design and the most recent innovations that have led to improved vehicle performance and increased safety for personnel. Given current economic conditions, many fire...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

Under the direction of Chief Rick Kane, Manheim Fire Rescue formed an apparatus committee with members from each of the three fire companies and representation from several neighboring departments that expressed interest in purchasing a standard engine apparatus. Over several months, the committee members met to determine the major features to be incorporated into the new standard-design engine and visited departments in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia that had taken delivery of new units. The result of the process was choosing Pierce Manufacturing and its local representative, Glick Fire Equipment Co., to provide the new engines using the State of Pennsylvania Costars cooperative-purchasing program.

In addition to the four new engines, the strategic plan called for the acquisition of two mini-squad units, one to be equipped with a small engine-driven fire pump and tank. These units, built on Ford F-550 chassis, would be assigned to the Eden and Southern Manheim stations to respond to EMS calls and other minor incidents to reduce wear and tear on engine and ladder apparatus. All six vehicles were acquired using the manufacturer’s leasing program, which enabled the department to take advantage of pre-payment options.

Each pumper was built on a Pierce Arrow XT chassis with a wheelbase of 176½ inches and an overall length of 29 feet, seven inches. Keeping the overall length of the engines was an important component in the overall design, while providing seating for six personnel and equipped with a 2,000-gpm, single-stage pump and 500-gallon water tank. Safety and maintenance components integrated into the apparatus include independent front suspension, reinforced steel front bumper, cab down-view mirror, chassis lubrication system and cab headset intercom for each seating position.

Each engine is equipped with six pre-connected attack lines, including a 100-foot, 1¾-inch trash line and two crosslay 200-foot, 1¾-inch lines, connected to discharges on the pump panel directly below each line. The rear hosebed was set up to carry 1,200 feet of five-inch supply line, a 400-foot apartment line, a 250-foot, 2½-inch attack line together with a 300-foot, three-inch line used to supply a Blitz Fire monitor. An additional 300-foot, three-inch hose can supply sprinkler connections or be used in conjunction with standpipe packs carried on the right side of the body.

 

Rotating in-service units

These well-designed engines are planned to provide a 15-year life cycle for the department and will initially be rotated every 90 days among the three stations to balance out use due to differences in incident response, with the highest-mileage unit going into reserve status. The Manheim Township Fire Rescue engine apparatus were specifically designed to be structural firefighting units that allow standardized equipment and hoseline locations to greatly enhance safety, training and fireground operations.

Developing the department’s strategic plan enabled the three fire companies to coordinate their efforts in many areas. Under the guidance of Kane and his staff, the companies convinced the township that advancing and improving fire protection could be accomplished with the financial backing of the community. Well-planned and well-executed programs can be achieved despite what may seem to be insurmountable challenges when fire service personnel work together to achieve a common goal. The Manheim Township Fire Rescue Department is an excellent example of what can be achieved in this fashion.

Both the Freeland Fire Department and Manheim Township Fire Rescue set out to design and specify engine company apparatus to carry basic equipment, hose and attack lines to produce needed fire flows at various types of incidents.

While combination rescue-engine apparatus may meet the needs of some fire departments, these two departments developed specifications to provide short-wheelbase engine apparatus with multiple attack lines and enhanced safety components to meet the needs of their response areas. n