Innovation Marked 2009

This past year, 2009, was a rather slow one for apparatus makers with some reporting new sales off by as much as 40 percent over previous years – perhaps a reflection of the sour economy and the reduction of tax revenue. Other segments of the fire...

The coupler eliminates thermal expansion on the hose and requires no tools to relieve pressure.
The coupler also has a 360 degree swivel for no hose tangle, a safety lock to eliminate tool disconnection during use and grips on both ends of the coupler that can be operated with gloves on.
Despite apparent soft sales for apparatus builders, they still made news in 2009 with new products and acquisitions.

In April, E-ONE,  acquired the “Water Master - Vacuum Tanker” product line from Southern Fire Equipment in Hattiesburg, Miss. The acquisition gives E-ONE a unique, self-filling vacuum tanker in its product offerings. The design was developed by Reggie Ridgway, a volunteer fire chief who made the tanker after being frustrated with limited water supplies in rural fire districts and losing homes as a result.

Also in April, Pierce Manufacturing, introduced its Changeable Response Unit (CRU). The new products allows fire and rescue departments to customize a single pickup truck to do the work of several specialty vehicles through an interchangeable system of dedicated modules.

The modules fit into the cargo area and can be easily swapped out one for another, according to the maker. It’s based on a flatbed, or box system which can be configured for specific response applications.  They can be configured for brush fire responses, ice rescues, scene safety, rehab, water rescue or hazmat responses and just about anything departments can conceive, according to Pierce.
The hook-and-lift system loads and unloads different units quickly and easily with all systems operational from inside the cab. The quick attach and detach process can be completed in less than two minutes. The loader is engineered to fit 3/4–ton and larger, single or dual axle configuration vehicles.

When not being used for a specific emergency application, the vehicle can be returned to its original function through the use of an available skid or platform, according to Pierce.

Crimson Fire, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, displayed the first pumper in its new Legend Series in the spring. The new line was designed to provide a quality-built vehicle at an affordable price.

According to Crimson, the pumper features a new body style and a modular design allowing fire departments to choose from nine configurations to create a custom truck to meet their needs.

The modular design also allowed Crimson to streamline production and reduce quote-to-delivery time as well as offer the apparatus at “a very attractive price point,” according to Crimson.
Rosenbauer America had firefighter safety in mind when it introduced its latest product development in 2009, called the EZ Load Hosebed.

The patent-pending hosebed has a 1,500-pound lift capacity and can be loaded from the ground or below shoulder height minimizing the risk of injury. It also is auto-leveling keeping it level at all times, and, according to the maker, it is the lowest powered hosebed available on NFPA compliant fire aerial apparatus.

It works by a flip of a switch at the rear of the body which activates a hydraulic motor to lower the hosebed automatically.

The fire service industry is not static and it’s a safe bet that innovators will come up with more products and designs to make firefighting safer, easier and more effective in 2010.