With only about six weeks between the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis and the Interschutz international show in Leipzig, Germany, which is arguably the largest fire show in the world, some manufacturers were saving their big unveilings for the show in Germany, which happens only every five years. Therefore, there weren't as many product debuts at FDIC as there have been in years past. Although the numbers were diminished, the apparatus unveilings at FDIC were still impressive.
Crimson Fire Transformer and FRAC
Crimson Fire introduced an apparatus at the show called the Transformer, which really is a transformative apparatus in the fire service.
Lately, there's been stiff industry competition on how best to preserve valuable compartment space. When it came time for Crimson Fire, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, to try its hand at playing with the pump location, Paul Cressman, a shop foreman for Crimson Fire, had an idea.
"I went to management and said, 'I've got an idea that's a little out of the box,'" he said. "They asked how far out and I told them, 'in the neighbor's front yard.'"
Cressman had come up with an idea to locate a PTO pump just in front of the left rear tire, in an area that is often wasted with wheel wells and dead space.
Crimson and its engineers determined that it was an appropriate place for a 1,500-gpm Darley pump. The geometry of the drive shafts actually worked better with a gradual angle to the left of the transmission.
Crimson Fire refined an idea for the pump valve controls too, employing hydraulic valves actuated by cranks on the control panel that pump fluid to the valves. The new system allows the control panel to be located above the rear wheels on the driver's side in a compartment that is often underutilized. The configuration preserves all the space in the cab as well as the all-important first cabinet, which can be configured in any way a department desires, including transverse.
Crimson also introduced a new configuration of its First Response All Calls (FRAC).
The new vehicle also incorporates Crimson's new pump location - in front of the left rear wheel - to provide more space for compartments and other equipment needs.
As shown, the FRAC was equipped with a 1,250-gpm PTO pump, a 250-gallon water tank, a 125-cfm compressed air foam system and a walk-in command center in the rear of the apparatus.
It can be configured as an ambulance or patient transport vehicle, a hazmat vehicle, and also as a lighting, equipment support, and rescue vehicle. The space can also be used for ATV transport. It was built on a Furion cab and a chassis built by Spartan Motors.
Jim Salmi, Chief Operating Officer of Crimson Fire, is considered a guru when it comes to aerials and he did not disappoint when he came up with a new hydraulic hosebed called the HydraLoad. The new device, developed by Salmi, lowers the hosebed of an aerial to 20 inches off the ground and deploys from a place previously unusable in the aerial torque box.
It deploys less than 35 inches from the side of the body and features an interlock with the aerial outriggers to prevent the hosebed from colliding with the stabilizing device. It can accommodate 1,000 feet of 5-inch hose or up to 1,500 pounds of hose in any configuration. It deploys in 20 seconds.
"And it's just as smooth as can be through its full range of motion," Salmi said.
Oshkosh Corporation Striker
Oshkosh made a splash of its own with a new Striker Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle.
The 6-wheel drive vehicle is a product of many "voice of the customer" conferences and discussions, according to Oshkosh representatives.
One of the things Oshkosh heard, and answered, was the need for accessible crosslays to give firefighters alternate, and perhaps more traditional, ways to fight fire.
Two mid-drift height crosslays, accessible from both sides of the apparatus, flow water and water/foam combinations.