Innovative Apparatus on the Street: Upper Frankford's Rural-Ready Pumper

There are many areas of the country where innovative pieces of apparatus can be found. Some of these vehicles are older, used units which were acquired and then heavily modified to meet local conditions and budget requirements. Others are brand new rigs...


The apparatus warning light package consists of a Whelen 72-inch wide LED light bar on the cab roof together with both 600 series and 900 series Whelen LED lights along the upper and lower portions of the cab and body. Twelve-volt scene lighting is provided on both sides of the upper body and at the rear with switch controls inside of the cab. A Whelen LED traffic advisor is recess-mounted at the rear body in addition to an ASA Voyager back-up camera. A Harrison 15-Kw hydraulic generator is located in the recessed area over the fire pump and supplies power to a Hannay cable reel equipped with 200 feet of 10/4 cable and three body outlets. The cab is provided with a Fire Research 1000-watt Focus brow light together with two 1500-watt telescopic lights at the rear of the cab. The rear of the body carries two portable 500-watt tripod telescopic lights which can be utilized both on and off of the apparatus as required. A Wilburt model NS10-6000 light tower is recess-mounted at the front of the apparatus body ahead of the hose bed which allowed space for the water and foam fill towers and hose bed piping without disturbing the hose bed layout.

Firefighting Features

The firefighting capability Engine 148 is provided by a Hale Q-Max single-stage pump rated at 1750-gpm which is enhanced by a Foam Pro 1600 series foam system which can supply Class A foam to the front trash line, two of the crosslays and the rear 2-inch attack line. Each of the three crosslays are equipped with 150 feet to 200 feet of 1 3/4-inch hose with a feature that the discharge for each of the attack lines is located immediately below the crosslay opening. Each of the pre-connected hoselines are color coded both on the pump panel on the gauge and the controlling gate, as well as the hoseline itself to minimize confusion on the fireground for the pump operator. The apparatus is equipped with two hose bed discharges to supply a 300-foot 2-inch attack line as well as a 300-foot 3-inch line for a Task Force Blitz Fire tailboard gun. As the apparatus is provided with a total of six pre-connected attack lines, the importance of a 1,000-gallon water tank with a 20-gallon Class A foam cell is readily apparent during rural water supply operations.

The rear, full-width hose bed also carries 1,400 feet of 5-inch supply line and 400 feet of 3-inch hose which can be used as a leader line to extend the pre-connected lines and for tanker refill lines when the engine is utilized as a fill site pumper. The engine has the capability of taking suction from both sides as well as the front intake using Hale master intake valves which are equipped with a manual override. Engine 148 is equipped with a Task Force Hurricane remote control deck gun which is fed by a 3-inch discharge from the pump. The tank to pump line is a 4-inch line with an air operated 4-inch full flow valve which can supply adequate water to any of the pre-connected attack lines as well as the tailboard gun.

The stainless steel body is equipped with seven enclosed body compartments utilizing a mixture of adjustable shelves, trays, tool boards and pull-out, drop-down trays to accommodate all of the tools and appliances. All of the tool mounting and labeling on this unit was accomplished by department members and is an outstanding example of what can be done when utilizing the talent within the fire company. The compartments on Engine 148 are very well laid out and designed, particularly the mounting of the individual adapters, fittings and hand tools in the left side forward compartment. In addition to the normal engine company compliment of equipment, the unit carries twin Amkus hydraulic hose reels together with a spreader, cutters and shoring material for vehicle extrication.

For many years we considered rural fire apparatus to be limited in fire attack capability. Upper Frankford Engine 148 is a fine example of a well thought out piece of apparatus with full compliment of attack lines, supply hose, tools and equipment to safely carry out any mission that might be assigned to the unit.

I would like to thank Chief Jim Salisbury II and the members of the Upper Frankford Fire Company who assisted with technical information and photographs of their apparatus. A special thank you to Jason Witmier of KME Fire Apparatus for his assistance.

TOM SHAND is a 37-year veteran of the fire service having served with departments in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. He has worked in the fire apparatus industry since 1985, including 15 years with Saulsbury Fire Apparatus. He is a contributing editor to Fire Apparatus Journal and Firehouse Magazine and works with Mike Wilbur at Emergency Vehicle Response. He co-hosts the Apparatus Architects podcast with Wilbur, based on their column in Firehouse Magazine.