The Apparatus Architect

In the last installment of The Apparatus Architect (November 2010), we reviewed some concepts for maneuvering through the bid-procurement process to ensure your department and community will receive competitive bids for your next piece of apparatus...


In the last installment of The Apparatus Architect (November 2010), we reviewed some concepts for maneuvering through the bid-procurement process to ensure your department and community will receive competitive bids for your next piece of apparatus. Much of the groundwork that is established early...


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Today, the department continues to provide for new apparatus on a regular basis under the auspices of an Apparatus Advisory Committee headed by District Chief David Reeves. The committee is made up of members from the maintenance division and training bureau as well as officers and company members. This input is reflected in the department's apparatus specifications, which are performance related and provide for an open and competitive bid process. For a number of years, all of the department's engine company units were equipped with 50- to 55-foot telescopic water towers. Due to financial considerations, the most recent engine apparatus were designed without the water tower device while making changes and improvements to enhance safety for operating members.

In July 2010, the department took delivery of two new Sutphen pumpers that were assigned to Engine Companies 3 and 7. These engines featured exterior cab compartments for storage of the drivers' gear and EMS equipment as well as storage area for the drivers' self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) under the forward-facing seats. The pumpers were built on a 200-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 31 feet, seven inches. The engines are equipped with a 2,000-gpm single-stage pump and 500-gallon low-profile water tank with a 50-gallon Class A foam cell.

The Syracuse Fire Department relies heavily on multiple pre-connected attack lines, with each engine outfitted with two 200-foot and two 300-foot attack lines with automatic nozzles. In addition, the units are provided with a front trash line and a pre-connected 2,000-foot Blitzfire line together with two supply-line beds, each with 700 feet of four-inch hose. The department's engine company procedures have been refined over the years as a result of fireground experiences to provide safe and efficient operations. The low crosslay beds and well-designed pump-panel layout provide operational benefits and simplify training for new drivers.

Additional maintenance and safety features such as a steel-reinforced bumper, an onboard chassis-lubrication system, non-slip step surfaces and a remote-control deck gun were provided on each apparatus. Due to severe winter weather conditions, the department specified stainless-steel body construction together with roll-up shutter doors and heat tapes for pump-panel gauges. The Syracuse Fire Department can be justifiably proud of its newest engine apparatus, which together with other department programs should strengthen the department's ISO Class 1 rating.

In Maryland, the Owings Mills Volunteer Fire Company operates as Station 310 in Baltimore County. Under the command of Captain Kevin Wallett, the station responded to more than 4,400 fire and EMS incidents in 2009, operating with two engines, a tractor-drawn aerial ladder, a brush unit, a medic unit and several support vehicles.

Current Owings Mills apparatus include a 1994 Seagrave TB 2,000-gpm pumper as Engine 311 and a 2003 Seagrave TT 100-foot tractor-drawn aerial ladder as Truck 313. Engine 312, a 2009 Seagrave TB-80CM pumper, is the station's newest piece of apparatus and was carefully developed by fire company members with the assistance of Life Member Denny Warren.

Engine 312 is a Seagrave Marauder II pumper equipped with several safety and maintenance enhancements, including a full stainless-steel cab, steel-reinforced front bumper, front crossover mirror, vertical exhaust and electronic stability control. Engine 312 is built with a wheelbase of 190½ inches and an overall length of 31 feet, five inches. The fire pump is rated at 2,250 gpm with a low-profile water tank carrying 500 gallons. The engine apparatus was specifically designed to provide for a short-wheelbase engine that could operate within the Owings Mills response area while providing the maximum amount of enclosed compartment space. With this in mind, the unit is not equipped with crosslay hosebeds, but rather has the pre-connected attack lines carried in the rear hosebed.

The left- and right-side pump panels each have pre-connected trash lines carried in the recessed hose wells. The rear hosebed carries 1,400 feet of five-inch and 550 feet of three-inch hose for supply lines. In addition, the engine carries two 200-foot 1¾-inch attack lines together with a 150-foot pre-connected 2½-inch line. An additional 300 feet of three-inch hose is carried for use as a leader line.

The body is fabricated of stainless steel and provided with seven enclosed lower-body compartments and four upper-body locker compartments. The body compartment layouts were set up to provide ready access to all tools and equipment by using an assortment of modules, tool boards, slide trays and adjustable shelves. The Owings Mills Fire Company has a long history of designing and operating unique rigs over the years and Engine 312 is no exception.