The Future Of Apparatus - Part 1

Firehouse® moderates a roundtable discussion with key executives of fire and emergency vehicle manufacturers.


Firehouse® Magazine has asked key executives of fire and emergency apparatus manufacturers where they see the industry heading as we enter the new millennium. With "their fingers on the pulse" of the apparatus industry, these industry leaders discuss engine size, radiators, braking, design, and the...


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In addition, advances in computers, multiplexing technology and electronics systems are changing the face of the pump panels. In the future, the pump operator may never need to leave the safety of the cab. The pump and fire suppression systems can be controlled from a computer. The operator will input the desired functions for the fire suppression systems, and the computer will instruct the systems to automatically activate. Imagine an officer already loading the proper information into the computer before the apparatus even pulls to a stop at the scene. Then, once the parking brake is applied, the computer signals the pump engagement sequence, the engine RPMs are increased to provide the pre-determined flow and PSI, the foam system is activated and the concentrate percentage is set, the discharge is selected and engaged. And, the officer has never left the cab!

More changes are due in aerial controls as well. Along with chassis, aerials are being multiplexed. Multiplexing is a "SMART" system that literally runs by a computer. You simply program aerial performance instructions into the computer. For example, the aerial controls can be programmed to stop the device if there is a danger of hitting the cab or body. Or, program the controller to slow down when reaching full stoke regardless of the handle location, so as not to endanger someone at the tip of the device. The speed of the aerial device can also be changed by flipping a switch at the control console. In addition, multiplexing allows the aerial control station to display vital operating information such as engine data, stabilizer condition and maintenance data.

Saulsbury: The design of pump controls and operators' panels continues to improve. Removing possible hazards such as discharges and hoselines from the operator's position is a safer setup for the operator. The use of a single control to automatically accomplish multiple tasks in pump controls is increasing in number, and limits the mistakes that could be made by an operator.

Crash Rescue: I think you will see touch-sensitive pump panels and single joystick controls and more radio remote controls for aerial and nozzle functions.