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The purpose of the Fire Mechanics Section is to promote standardization of fire apparatus and equipment preventative maintenance, improve safety standards and practices, promote workshops, conferences, and seminars related to the purposes of this Section, and to promote cost savings through standardization of building and equipment purchasing and maintenance.

RECENT FIRE MECHANIC NEWS

Posted: Jul 9, 2015

Equipping Wildland Urban Interface Apparatus

Wildland urban interface (WUI) firefighters have special needs in terms of equipment, as the units have to deal with traditional structure and vehicle fire calls as well as wildland and brush fire incidents.

The various kinds of equipment that WUI apparatus carry range from typical pumper hoselines and nozzles to specialized pumps, wildland gear, and foam systems.

Joe Messmer, president of Summit Fire Apparatus, says plenty of fire departments want their WUI vehicles to be all-purpose rigs. "We have seen some fire departments put hydraulic rescue tools on their brush trucks, and they certainly have been carried on WUI apparatus," Messmer says. "Each fire department has different challenges that they have to deal with, and our job is to help them meet those challenges."

Doug Kelley, wildland product manager for KME, points out that turrets, especially mounted on the front bumpers of WUI vehicles and wildland trucks, have become a near-necessary part of the equipment of the rigs. "Those dual-use wildland and WUI trucks usually are going to many different types of calls," Kelley says. "Very often they might carry Blitzfire-type units and other similar equipment to take care of the mobility of the truck."

However, for the purely wildland-style vehicles, Kelley notes that the rigs are stocked with the kinds of hand tools and equipment that have been used for decades in wildland firefighting. "The backpacks and gear bags that the wildland crews use to carry all their stuff with them have to be stored somewhere on the vehicle," Kelley says, "and the truck makers have to make space for it. For some of the wildland units used by federal government agencies, they require carrying a spare tire, and that can get tricky finding the space to carry it."

1 2 Two views of front bumper sprayers built on wildland brush trucks by Summit Fire Apparatus. The Ford F-350 Wildland Type 6 brush truck (photo 1) is run by the Eagle (IN) Fire Department, while the red vehicle (photo 2) is a Ford F-250 carrying a skid unit built for the Montgomery County (MD) Fire Department. (Photos courtesy of Summit Fire Apparatus
1 2 Two views of front bumper sprayers built on wildland brush trucks by Summit Fire Apparatus. The Ford F-350 Wildland Type 6 brush truck (photo 1) is run by the Eagle (IN) Fire Department, while the red vehicle (photo 2) is a Ford F-250 carrying a skid unit built for the Montgomery County (MD) Fire Department. (Photos courtesy of Summit Fire Apparatus
1 2 Two views of front bumper sprayers built on wildland brush trucks by Summit Fire Apparatus. The Ford F-350 Wildland Type 6 brush truck (photo 1) is run by the Eagle (IN) Fire Department, while the red vehicle (photo 2) is a Ford F-250 carrying a skid unit built for the Montgomery County (MD) Fire Department. (Photos courtesy of Summit Fire Apparatus.)

Foam Systems

Class A foam systems and compressed air foam systems (CAFS) have gained in popularity on WUI pumpers and wildland units in recent years, several manufacturers report. Todd Nix, apparatus consultant for Unruh Fire, says Unruh has "built quite a few CAFS units for wildland vehicles in the past few years," often using the Odin Mongoose CAFS made by Darley Company, as well as systems manufactured by Waterous, Rowe, and TriMax.

"Usually a small wildland

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Posted: Jul 9, 2015

Troy (MI) Fire Department Embraces Mobile App

BY RAKSHA VARMA

According to ComScore, an Internet analytics company, we now spend more time connecting to the Internet from our mobile phones than our computers.

That's a significant shift in digital habits in a short period of time. Consumers are keen on taking care of everyday tasks from their mobile phones vs. their computers because it's easier, faster, and more convenient. Mobile apps, in particular, make it possible for consumers to take care of everyday business, such as ordering transportation or reserving a table at a restaurant with a few taps and clicks from their mobile devices. This shift has permeated far beyond the consumer. Now companies and groups, such as fire departments, are taking advantage of the ease of use, speed, and convenience that mobile apps have to offer.

Fire stations across the nation are embracing mobile apps to better organize their departments and improve their teams' efficiency. Take Charles Kniffen, firefighter and treasurer of Troy (MI) Fire Department Station 5, for example. The station has about 30 active volunteer firefighters, and he is responsible for running the station, providing station training, and managing the budget. Kniffen recently took some time to answer questions about how his department is embracing mobile apps.

1 The TeamSnap mobile app allows the Troy (MI) Fire Department personnel to stay in touch and communicate about everything. The department uses the availability, scheduling, messaging features, and event calendar to automatically send e-mail reminders for training and other events. Recipients can change their availability status for each event, helping the department to better plan and prepare for them. (Photo courtesy of TeamSnap
1 The TeamSnap mobile app allows the Troy (MI) Fire Department personnel to stay in touch and communicate about everything. The department uses the availability, scheduling, messaging features, and event calendar to automatically send e-mail reminders for training and other events. Recipients can change their availability status for each event, helping the department to better plan and prepare for them. (Photo courtesy of TeamSnap.)

What are the organizational challenges you face?

Kniffen: It's very difficult to keep track of multiple firefighters, not to mention our alumni, retirees, and widowed spouses. We need to keep track of everyone so we can do our duty and respond when our community needs help. But, it goes far beyond that. It's not easy to stay coordinated with all of the activities, training, and general schedules. In fact, these were some of our specific challenges:

  • Training-some of which is mandatory-is held at our station every Monday. As you can imagine, it's hard to keep firefighters informed about mandatory training dates, locations, and start times.
  • Figuring out how many members will show up for the training, which obviously has an impact on the type and effectiveness of the training.
  • Figuring out how many members will show up for dinner meetings. This can affect our meal planning and budget.
  • Keeping our extended community, including retirees and widows, in the know about upcoming events and news.

Staying organized is half the battle. There's also the larger issue of communication. How do you inform so many people on your squad of a change? Imagine the chaos tha

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Posted: Jul 9, 2015

The Hose Mule Hose Retrieval System

By now, I think we all know the benefits of large-diameter hose (LDH).

Besides moving more water than the 2½- and three-inch hose used in the past, in a sense it's easier to pick up because less hose has to be used. However, there is no getting around the weight of this hose-especially five-inch. Let's not forget that the hose is picked up after the fire, when firefighters are exhausted, making the task even more difficult.

Clint Baker, fire engineer with the Temple (TX) Fire Department and CEO of Baker Fabrication, has developed a machine that has made packing LDH in the hosebed easier and safe. It's called the Hose Mule. Throughout Baker's career, before the coming of the Hose Mule, he realized the advantages of LDH as well as the disadvantages, the main one being the repacking of the hose into the hosebed.

1 The Hose Mule is mounted on top of the apparatus either in front of or to the rear of the hosebed. 2 The Hose Mule is a motorized set of rollers designed to take the place of firefighters having to manually pull the hose into the hosebed. (Photos courtesy of Clint Baker.)
1 The Hose Mule is mounted on top of the apparatus either in front of or to the rear of the hosebed.

The Device

The Hose Mule is a motorized set of rollers designed to take the place of firefighters manually pulling the hose into the hosebed. Its operation allows the hose to pass through the set of powered ringers back into the hosebed. The Hose Mule is mounted on top of the apparatus either in front of or to the rear of the hosebed. The process involves three firefighters plus the driver as well as one firefighter to perform the duties of the safety officer watching the operation. One firefighter operates the Hose Mule while two firefighters pack the hose in the bed, which mainly involves creating the folds. It is helpful to predrain the hose before the pickup operation starts, but it's not critical that all the water be evacuated.

The operational process for packing hose with the Hose Mule involves the apparatus moving forward alongside the hose at a speed of less than five miles per hour. The crew in the hosebed should safely kneel down in the bed while reloading the hose to maintain their stability and avoid a mishap. The Hose Mule begins to pull the hose up to the hosebed while the apparatus is moving, and the remaining water can easily be drained out. When a coupling reaches the Hose Mule, the operator opens the ringers by lifting a handle mounted to the top portion of the machine, and a platform mounted at the bottom of the machine lifts up at the same time, lifting the couplings to the level of the rollers. At this point, the firefighters simply pull the couplings past the roller, and the rollers are lowered back against the hose, continuing the pulling operation. The average amount of hose that can be picked up is between 50 and 80 feet per minute.

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Posted: Jul 9, 2015

Foam Systems Fitted to Variety of Fire Apparatus Types

A large percentage of pumpers built today are fitted with foam systems and, in some cases, even rescues and aerials carry foam tanks and foam systems.

The type of system being used on these vehicles is related directly to a department's standard operating procedures and its particular fire suppression needs as well as to the type of apparatus carrying the foam system.

Darley

Troy Carothers, AutoCAFS product manager for Darley Co., says Darley's Odin Foam Division makes anything foam-related, including foam proportioners, foam pumps for apparatus, compressed air foam system (CAFS) units, and CAFS kits. "We make the Fast Foam 50, a ½-gallon-per-minute (gpm) foam pump that runs off a 12-volt ¼-horsepower motor and uses a venturi with a direct injection into the discharges the department chooses," Carothers says. "The Fast Foam 50 only puts foam into the discharge when water is flowing through the line. It's primarily a one- or two-hand-line system that's useful for wildland or quick-attack trucks and is commonly hooked into a foam tank on the vehicle."

1 The Hose Mule is mounted on top of the apparatus either in front of or to the rear of the hosebed. 2 The Hose Mule is a motorized set of rollers designed to take the place of firefighters having to manually pull the hose into the hosebed. (Photos courtesy of Clint Baker.)
The Hose Mule is a motorized set of rollers designed to take the place of firefighters having to manually pull the hose into the hosebed. (Photos courtesy of Clint Baker.)
1 The Fast Foam 250 is Darley Company's 2½-gpm foam pump with a ½-horsepower electric motor that can treat 250 gallons of water. (Photo courtesy of Darley Co.)
1 The Fast Foam 250 is Darley Company's 2½-gpm foam pump with a ½-horsepower electric motor that can treat 250 gallons of water. (Photo courtesy of Darley Co.)

Darley also makes the Fast Foam 250, a 2½-gpm foam pump that uses a ½-horsepower electric motor for power and can treat 250 gallons of water. "We see Fast Foam 250 used on larger brush and wildland trucks," Carothers says. Darley's Odin Foam Division also makes the Foam Flurry around-the-pump foam system that uses a modified venturi on the suction side of the pump to draw foam from a pail. Carothers notes the system is suitable for 100- to 500-gpm diesel-driven pumps.

FoamPro and FRC

Mike Dupay, manager at FoamPro, says the FoamPro brand of proportioners operates on direct-injection technology. "They are on-demand type systems from the discharge side of the pump," Dupay says. "We measure the water flow and use microprocessor technology to drive a foam pump and inject whatever percentage foam that the operator has set in the controls."

FoamPro makes systems that use both single-point and multipoint injection, according to Dupay. "The single-point is most common on municipal and wildland type vehicles," he says. "The system injects foam into a cone of water, which is then broken down into a number of foam-capable discharges, with each discharge having the same percentage of foam. The system is designed so that if more water is put through it, it injects the amount of foam needed to hit the concentration set by the operator."

2 FoamPro's 2000 series foam proportioner is available for both Class A and Class B foam and comes in two models that differ only in capacity. Each system includes a Hypro triplex plunger pump and DC motor assembly. (Photo courtesy of FoamPro
2 FoamPro's 2000 series foam proportioner is available for both Class A and Class B foam and comes in two models that differ only in capacity. Each system includes a Hypro triplex plunger pump and DC motor assembly. (Photo courtesy of FoamPro.)

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9 Sep 2019 2019 FIRE MECHANICS FALL CONFERENCE 9/9/2019 - 9/13/2019
This year will feature classes to prepare you for F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4, F-5, F-6, F-7, F-8 as well as Jim Juneau "See You In Court", Stihl, Cummins Insight, Basic Commercial Tire Service and more!

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September 10, 3pm-6pm
Wenatchee Convention Center 

Mark your calendar for this exciting vendor show at the Wenatchee Convention Center. 

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Fire Mechanics Section Board

Chair

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Chair

Elliot Courage
North Whatcom Fire & Rescue
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Vice Chair

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Vice Chair

Mike Smith 
Pierce County Fire District #5
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Secretary

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Secretary

Justin Claibourn
Central Pierce Fire & Rescue 
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Director #1

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #1

Loren Angiono 
City of Lynnwood
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Director #2

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #2

Paul Spencer 
Fire Fleet Maintenance LLC
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Director #3

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #3

Jim Morris
Mountain View Fire Department
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Director #4

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #4

Arnie Kuchta

Clark County Fire District 6

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Director #6

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #6

Brett Annear
Kitsap County Fire District 18
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Director #5

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #5

Jay Jacks
Camano Island Fire & Rescue
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Legislative Representative

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Legislative Representative

TBD
TBD
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Immediate Past Chair

Posted: Oct 20, 2015

Immediate Past Chair

Brian Fortner
Graham Fire & Rescue

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