The July 2008 installment of The Apparatus Architect discussed some of the more important safety-related components that should be provided on your apparatus fleet. With all of the advances in technology and the increased emphasis on firefighter safety, we must work diligently to design and...
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The July 2008 installment of The Apparatus Architect discussed some of the more important safety-related components that should be provided on your apparatus fleet. With all of the advances in technology and the increased emphasis on firefighter safety, we must work diligently to design and operate safe apparatus to ensure that "Everyone Goes Home" after each incident. Older apparatus can be upgraded to meet current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 standards and new apparatus provides an opportunity to critically evaluate how we operate and improve on any number of safety-related issues by addressing these items through the specification and engineering process.
It's not often that a fire department has the opportunity to acquire two new pieces of apparatus at the same time. The members of the Bedford, VA, Fire Department spent several years evaluating their needs and developing specifications for a new engine and ladder truck, which resulted in two well-thought-out pieces of apparatus to meet the needs of the community.
The Bedford Fire Department protects the City of Bedford and a large portion of Bedford County. The department's first-due response area is over 180 square miles and it responds to more than 900 incidents each year. Under the command of Chief Brad Creasy, the department operates three engines, one ladder truck, a heavy rescue, one tanker and two brush units from a single station in the city. It also operates the ladder company as the rapid intervention team unit on structural fires in a large portion of its coverage area. With Routes 221 and 460 cutting through the first-due area, the department experiences a high number of vehicle accidents as well. In addition, a number of department members are a part of the County Special Operations Command, which is trained in technical rescue and other specialized-hazard mitigation.
The department's older engine companies consisted of a 1988 canopy cab pumper, which was slightly underpowered for the hilly terrain, and a 2000 four-door cab custom pumper equipped with a top-mount pump panel and a large water tank. The department's apparatus committee reviewed past incidents to see what equipment and attack lines were most often used and also visited departments in northern Virginia and Maryland to review newer-model engines that had some of the design characteristics that the department was interested in evaluating. Because of the narrow streets within the city limits and limited access on many of the rural roads and farm lanes, the decision was made to design a short-wheelbase, side-mount pumper with multiple attack lines off the rear for the new apparatus.
The result was a new Seagrave Marauder II pumper with a wheelbase of 182 inches and an overall length of just under 30 feet. Engine 1 is equipped with a 1,500-gpm single-stage pump, 750-gallon, L-shaped water tank, and 475-hp Detroit Diesel motor with a stainless steel cab and body. The engine carries six pre-connected attack lines, a deck gun equipped with smooth-bore tips and a rear hosebed that is 64 inches from the ground. Engine 1 was built with a steel-reinforced front bumper, front down-view mirror, radio headset system for all seating positions, poly rub rails and LED warning lights to enhance crew safety. Chevron striping was provided on the rear body together with a gated rear intake for five-inch supply line. After reviewing the overall design of Bedford Engine 1, it is clear that the department's apparatus committee did its homework in providing a well-thought-out engine company to enhance department operations.