WFC News

Posted: Nov 11, 2013

Pumpers as First Response Transport Vehicles

Alan M. Petrillo

A growing number of fire departments around the country are turning to pumper transport units as first response vehicles-rigs that can handle a first-due engine assignment or a high priority advanced life support emergency medical service (EMS) call with equal ease.

These units combine a traditional Type 1 pumper with an EMS ambulance type compartment in a marriage of firefighting and advanced life support capabilities.

The Concept

Lisa Barwick, director of product management for cab and chassis at Pierce Manufacturing, says there has been a renewed interest in certain parts of the country in running combination vehicles such as a pumper transport. "We call ours a Patient Transport model and have seen a lot of activity with departments wanting to do more with less and specifying multiple purpose vehicles," Barwick says.

Barwick says that patient stabilization and patient transport pumpers rose to popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s but then declined in favor as fire departments turned to vehicles specified for single purposes. Most recently, Pierce has built pumper transport units for the Broward (FL) Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue and five fire departments in Utah.

Pierce has built its patient-transport pumpers on both Arrow XT and Velocity chassis, Barwick notes. "Departments tend to go for the two-door cab models and put the patient area behind that with access doors on both sides, although that's at the customer's discretion," she says. "Usually there's a double door for the gurney lift on the curb side and a single door on the road side for easy access without having to go around a gurney."

Eric Froerer, chief of the Syracuse (UT) Fire Department, staffs a Pierce transport pumper, two Type 1 Horton ambulances, a Type 6 wildland engine, a Fouts Brothers water tender (tanker), and a Pierce 75-foot quint aerial ladder out of a single station with nine full-time and 17 part-time paid firefighters. The pumper transport carries a 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, a 500-gallon water tank, 20 gallons of foam, and a fully outfitted patient box that includes a hydraulic lift to assist firefighters in getting a patient into the box.

"We run about 800 calls a year and 80 percent of them are medical calls," Froerer says. "The Pierce transport pumper, which serves as our second-out ambulance, is a better way of providing service and still keeping the crew available while they're out on a transport run."

Froerer notes that the Pierce pumper transport is first due on most structure fires, except for commercial fire incidents, when the Pierce quint runs first. "I was skeptical at first, but the pumper transport has been a success," Froerer says. "It has proven to be effective in keeping us in service and allowing us to handle our own calls."

Chad Brown, vice president of sales and marketing for Braun Industries, says his company builds the Patriot, a patient-transport vehicle on a custom chassis like the Spartan Furion or MetroStar. Typical wheelbase for a Patriot on a MetroStar chassis is 185 inches, with an overall length of 374 inches, overall width of 98 inches, and overall height of 118½ inches. The patient module length is 170 inches, and its headroom is 73 inches.

pumper transport for the Broward (FL) Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue

(1) Pierce Manufacturing built this pumper transport for the Broward
(FL) Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue on a Velocity chassis
with a 273-inch wheelbase. (Photo courtesy of Pierce


Brown sa

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Posted: Oct 27, 2013

Earl in the Stairwell

The concussion and shockwave of the impact (as the second plane hit the South Tower) rattled through our little space, and you could actually see people's fear rise to a new level.  It was another unknown:  a very loud and disturbing movement of this huge building that you knew shouldn't be occurring in something this large.

Are you ready not to come home?  

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Posted: Oct 23, 2013

Attitude– Difference between Success and Failure

I ran across this article the other day and wanted to share it with all of you. I think this speaks to how important it is to have people in your organization that possess positive attitudes.  One of the main ingredients to creating and maintaining a successful organization is having that positive culture reside within your members and organization.  I have been in the Fire Service for 25 years and have worked with a lot of people which I am happy to say most of them have had a positive attitude. I believe that 99.9 % of people that demonstrate a positive attitude are the ones that will be the most successful at work and in life.  If you think about it who wants to promote someone into a leadership role that has a negative attitude. The answer is No One! Negativity is the number one killer of any organization and by placing these negative employee’s into officer positions is like giving the organization its death sentence. The good news is if you are one of those negative people it is not too late to change. Negativity is a choice. It is all in how you look at or perceive things. Please read this article and at the end look in the mirror and ask yourself am I a cup half full or half empty type of person, how do others look at you and your attitude?

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Posted: Oct 2, 2013

Hose Loads as Varied as the Departments that Spec Them

Alan M. Petrillo

Fire apparatus manufacturers are responding to firefighter requests for better management and placement of hose loads on apparatus, from lower crosslays and hosebeds to slide-out and pull-out trays that make extending hose and reloading it easier.

Crosslays and Speedlays

Jason Witmier, pumper and tanker product manager for KME, says many fire departments are requesting crosslay arrangements that place handlines lower than in the past. "Fire departments want them lower now, so we typically are putting them about 42 inches above the running board, which is about 56 inches off the ground," Witmier says. "That means the hose comes out right at the shoulder so the firefighter can easily take the load."

The disadvantage to a lower crosslay is that firefighters have to repack hose by sliding it into the crosslay area from each side of the vehicle. "You can't get to it from the top," Witmier notes, "so the solution is a slide-out try that is removable. It's usually held in place by a thumb latch and can be taken out of the crosslay area, put on a table or other flat area, and repacked. Some departments also purchase spare trays that they prepack with hose so they are ready to be inserted into the crosslay area after hose is used."

Witmier adds that another potential pitfall with a slide-out crosslay is that sometimes the nozzle is too big to fit into the tray. "We talk to our customers beforehand and determine what kind of nozzle they will use on their crosslays to determine if they can be deployed from each side of the slide-out tray."

Crosslays under the cab extension (the crew area) have become popular with fire departments trying to keep the vehicle's wheelbase short, Witmier points out, but such a location causes a different issue in terms of deployment. "It puts the crosslay at waist height instead of chest height," Witmier says.

E-ONE offers crosslays and speedlays in several configurations
(1) E-ONE offers crosslays and speedlays in several configurations, such as
these stacked crosslays shown on a top-mount pumper. (Photo courtesy of

Grady North, product manager for E-ONE, believes there are as many hose loads as there are fire departments. "Everyone wants something different so the hose load becomes a customized part of the truck," North says. "With preconnected hoselines, we've seen a 50/50 mix of speedlays and crosslays," North says. "The common configuration for speedlays is vertically stacked on top of each other, which helps tighten up the wheelbase, and we do a lot of double and triple speedlay setups."

Crosslays tend to be higher off the ground, North points out, typically located on top of the pump module with open tops to the beds, compared with speedlays, which are usually in front of the pump module or behind the cab.

Slide-out trays, for both crosslays and speedlays, especially those that can be accessed from each side of the vehicle, have become very popular, North says. "Our trays are fully removable and made out of either aluminum or polypropylene," he says. "A short six-foot length of hose connects to the swivel and then to the hose in the tray."

North notes there is a difference in the preconnect water source for the two types of lays. "The swivel fitting on crosslays comes up from the bottom," he says, "but with a speedlay, the swivel comes from the top of the hose compartment."

And while dual and triple crosslays and speedlays are the most common, North says he's seen much more unusual configurations. "We recently bui

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Posted: Oct 2, 2013

Special Delivery: Rural Department Chooses UST for Rescue-Pumper

Alan M. Petrillo

The town covers 36 mostly rural square miles and has 23 paid on-call firefighters working out of a single station. But, the needs of the Manitowish Waters (WI) Fire Department, go well beyond the traditional rescue truck toolbox.

"We're mostly a vacation and retirement community, but there are no hydrants in our coverage area," says Manitowish Waters chief Skip Skrobot. "And, we needed our new apparatus to be a multiuse vehicle, so it's designed as a rescue-pumper with a large water tank, almost as a triple-use truck."

rescue-pumper for the Manitowish Waters (WI) Fire Department
(1) UST Fire Apparatus built this rescue-pumper for the Manitowish Waters
(WI) Fire Department with a Hale Q-MAX 1,500-gpm pump, a 1,000-gallon
water tank, a 30-gallon Class A foam tank, and a Hale CAFS Pro foam
system. (Photos courtesy of UST Fire Apparatus.)

Twist of Fate

Skrobot points out that sometimes a bit of luck puts a fire department and a vehicle manufacturer together. "Last year we had a couple of firefighters working at the station and had our trucks out on the ramp when John Woltman, president of UST Fire Apparatus, drove by on the way to a fire convention," Skrobot says. "John turned around and stopped to talk with the firefighters, finding out that we were going to buy a new piece of apparatus. He told them he'd send some information and within three days we had a booklet about UST and some general specs for a rescue-pumper."

The chief notes that the UST Fire Apparatus specs were "close to what we wanted. We're a wholly owned independent fire company, a nonprofit organization incorporated in Wisconsin that sells our services to the town of Manitowish Waters. So, we went to several apparatus manufacturers to see what they could offer us in terms of a rescue-pumper."

Skrobot says that one of the considerations for going with a rescue-pumper was that the fire department has a major two-lane state road, Highway 51, running north-south through the town. "The highway has a lot of crossroads and we're out there quite a bit for rescues, so we wanted to design this vehicle with features that could address the situations we'd find on that highway," he points out.

Manitowish Waters received bids on its specs from four manufacturers and ultimately awarded the contract to UST Fire Apparatus in December 2012. The rig was delivered in June 2013.

The Manitowish Waters rescue-pumper
(2) The Manitowish Waters rescue-pumper has full depth and full height
compartments on the officer's side to carry preconnected extrication
equipment as well as an assortment of hand tools on drop-down trays and
slide-out boards.

Equipment Hauler

Mark Meaders, chief executive officer of UST, says the department wanted to carry a lot of equipment on the rescue-pumper. "They needed a lot of specialized storage space, so we designed in tool boards, slide-out trays, and custom mounts of their extrication equipment so it was easy to access," Meaders says. "Everything was mounted in such a way to save space and maximize the ease of use."

Woltman says the job was all about meeting the requirements of the fire department. "They provided us with a minimum list of equipment they wanted carried on the truck and we exceeded it in every instance," he says. "Also, they wanted to carry a pumper's ground

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