WFC News

Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Apparatus/Equipment News

AMKUS Rescue Systems Mini SimoAMKUS Rescue Systems Mini Simo GH2B-MCH with BOOST offers two-tool simultaneous operation with "BOOST" mode. When in alternate operation, "BOOST" mode will increase tool speed in both pump stages. Weighing in at approximately 58 pounds, the compact unit offers a carrying handle and is very portable. In addition, the modular design reduces the time required for service. 800-592-6587

HAIX's Airpower XR1HAIX's Airpower® XR1 was developed with the wildland firefighter in mind. The Airpower® XR1 can take personnel to the fireline and back while offering the comfort you need to keep you on your feet all day in the station. The newly developed cushioned insole offers comfort, especially when combined with the HAIX® built-in arch support system. The Airpower® XR1 offers waterproof/chemical protection with the CROSSTECH® inner liner, composite toe protection, and nonmetallic puncture protection. Compliant with NFPA 1977 and NFPA 1999. 866-344-4249

Gorman-Rupp fire pumpsGorman-Rupp fire pumps are engineered to deliver dependable performance without interruption. From portable to larger tanker pumps, all are designed for little or no maintenance. Tanker pumps are suitable for water transfer, drafting, and fighting brush fires. These pumps are self-priming and easy to mount and feature aluminum or cast iron construction with enclosed impellers. Pumps are available in clockwise or counterclockwise rotation and come standard with a mechanical self-lubricating seal., 419-755-1011

Paratech's HYDRAFUSION STRUTParatech's HYDRAFUSION STRUT is available in three types: HFS 16 (lifts 16 inches), HFS 10 (lifts 10 inches), and HFS 04 (lifts four inches). All lift 10 tons with a 2:1 safety factor. All shore 20,000 pounds with a 4:1 safety factor. They feature the patent-pending Dual Shaft End Adapter for use with Paratech AcmeThread or LongShore RescueStruts as well as no-spill, flat-face hydraulic couplings with a nonconductive 10-inch kink-resistant hose. Two speed, single acting, lightweight, 10,000 psi, metal hydraulic pump., 815-469-3911

Streamlight Vantage bright red helmet-mounted tactical light Streamlight® Vantage® bright red helmet-mounted tactical light is powered by C4® LED technology for extreme brightness. Both the new red and the existing black Vantage also now feature an improved light output of 115 lumens and 7,000 candela peak beam intensity, and an increased beam distance of 167 meters. The helmet light also features an ultra-bright blue safety tail light that enables firefighters and rescue workers to be seen in smoke-filled rooms, blackout conditions and other emergency situations regardless of which direction the light is shining. The red Vantage uses two 3-volt CR123A lithium batteries and delivers six hours of continuous run time. Streaml

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Fat Ivan

By Raul A. Angulo

I can already hear Seattle (WA) Fire Department Captain Steve Bernocco saying, "Oh no! Not another article on door chocks!" Yes, another article on door chocks! I did have to ask myself why there is always a new tool coming out to wedge a door. The answer is because it is still a problem. Standard wooden wedges are cut in a variety of widths and lengths. Inevitably one is too short, too thin, or too fat. Because the wood breaks down and finally cracks, companies started making hard rubber wedges. They're good for wedging sprinkler heads but they're not very good for door wedges. Heavy commercial doors can still compress them. I find I often have to double up on rubber wedges to get the door opened to where I need it. Even then, they slip. I started using the "Jerome" clamp (Tool Tech, May 2012), which is an inexpensive, heavy duty, plastic hand-gripped clamp, but the door still has some play in it. On all residential and most commercial doors you'll run into, it works great. It is lightweight and doesn't slip, but the spring can still break with heavy tensioned, self-closing doors.

Fat Ivan
(1) The Fat Ivan is a door chock design invented by a Cincinnati firefighter. It expands on the concept of the angle iron and hook used to chock a door open. The plastic panels are made from nylon-impregnated engineered plastic, making it extremely strong and durable. It is 100 percent resistant to corrosion and won't rust in your pocket. (Photos by author unless otherwise noted.)

Leave it to firefighters to come up with a new design. A firefighter ingeniously figured out that if a hook was welded on to the spine of a piece of angle iron, you can simply drop the hook over a hinge on the inside jamb of the door and it will securely hold the door open. I have seen a few of them around. The problem with these self-made contraptions is that the angle iron is no more than 90 degrees, which, depending on the door, only holds it open about ½ to ¾ of the way (approximately 45 to 60 degrees). The homemade versions can be heavy to carry in your pocket, and unless the edges are smoothed out, they will definitely rub a hole in your bunker coat pocket over time. If the edges don't make a hole, the hook will. This can be an expensive and inconvenient repair, not to mention that you could also lose some valuable pocket tools. It will also rust after repeated exposure to moisture. The real downside is when you accidentally fall and land on the angle iron while it is in your pocket. It is not collapsible and has hard, defined edges. In other words, because it's bulky, it's going to hurt. Other than that, it is a great tool.

fat ivan in the closed position
(2) In the closed position, the hook is protected from accidentally poking the firefighter. The hook is a case-hardened, zinc-plated steel rod. The panels butterfly open to 130 degrees, which is better than a 90-degree angle iron and hook. The 130-degree design will securely hold the door open at 80 degrees or in the fully opened position without slipping.

A New Solution

Lieutenant Nick Caliguri, a 22-year veteran of the Cincinnati (OH) Fire Department assigned to Truck 32, was a fan of the angle iron door chock but after a few bunker coat pocket repairs and falling hard on his metal door chock, he thought there had to be a better way to design it.

He invented the Fat Ivan. By expanding on the hook and angle iron design and eliminating the problems, he made a good tool into an excellent

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Special Delivery: Cal OES Lends Hundreds of HME Pumpers to California Fire Departments

Alan M. Petrillo

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) manages a statewide fire and rescue program, providing Type 1 pumpers built by HME Inc. on loan to local fire departments for use in their districts, while requiring those departments to staff the vehicles for the state when needed.

Cal OES purchases the vehicles fully equipped, then assigns the pumpers to local governments and fire agencies on temporary-use agreements where the state never relinquishes control of the vehicles. "We continue to maintain the vehicles and twice a year do an onsite inspection of the pumpers to be sure they are maintained according to our standards," says Kim Zagaris, state fire chief for Cal OES. "The agencies agree to staff the vehicles anywhere and anytime that we need them, whether in state or across the nation. We provide reimbursement for their staff members, but there's a clause in the agreement that says they may have to staff the pumper for free."

Mitch Willoughby, national sales and marketing director for HME, says his company recently was awarded a second multiyear contract to supply Cal OES with Type 1 Model 18 pumpers. "Our first contract was for five years, and we produced 269 apparatus," Willoughby says. "We built 49 Type 1 pumpers for Cal OES, 164 Type 3 wildland pumpers for CAL FIRE, and 56 other products through a cooperative purchasing program with the state." Willoughby estimates that about 95 percent of the Cal OES fleet of vehicles was built by HME.

HME Model 18 Type 1 pumper
(1) Cal OES has a temporary-use agreement with the Sacramento (CA) Fire Department, where Sacramento uses and staffs this HME Model 18 Type 1 pumper. Cal OES has 114 of these pumpers in its fleet. (Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Fire Department.)

System Cornerstone

Zagaris says the program has been around since 1950, when it was run under the federal Civil Defense Program. "Back then, we purchased 100 pumpers and matched that value with state money," he points out. "We are the only state in the country still running this program-it is the cornerstone of California's fire and rescue system."

Besides managing the state fire and rescue program, Cal OES also provides urban search and rescue (USAR) resources for local and federal partners, has Type 1 swift water rescue teams, manages a fleet of water tenders (tankers), oversees the fire school program for cities in the state, and serves as the homeland security agency for California's 38 million people. Between 2008 and this year, the agency was known as the California Emergency Services Agency (Cal EMA) but has since reverted back to its original name.

short front overhang four-door cab and chassis and carries a Hale 1,250-gpm pump, an 850-gallon United Plastic Fabricating water tank, and a 20-gallon foam tank.
(2) The Sacramento (CA) Fire Department HME pumper is on a short front overhang (SFO) four-door cab and chassis and carries a Hale 1,250-gpm pump, an 850-gallon United Plastic Fabricating water tank, and a 20-gallon foam tank.

The Fleet

Zagaris points out that Cal OES currently has a large fleet spread out around the state. "We have 114 Type 1 pumpers, 15 Type 3 wildland pumpers, 12 Type 1 water tenders, 13 swift water vehicles, 18 rescue system vehicles, six communications units, and a variety of command and other vehicles," he says. "Our Type 1 pumpers built by HME ar

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Plano Fire-Rescue Implements New Squad Program

Alan M. Petrillo

Plano (TX) Fire-Rescue is taking an old idea and putting a modern face on it, saving money, increasing efficiency, and prolonging fire apparatus life in the process.

The Concept

Chief Brian Crawford says the department is changing the way it delivers emergency medical services (EMS) by adding two rescue squads in the city's two busiest stations to take the EMS response load off two pumpers and two truck companies. The rescue squads are Chevrolet Suburbans outfitted with everything Plano Fire-Rescue's advanced life support (ALS) ambulances carry to save a life medically. The rescue squads also have a firefighting component, carrying self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and fire turnout gear.

"We launched the program in early October and it provides increased EMS response at a savings to the city but still has valuable fire resources available for calls," Crawford says. "The rescue squads will double the life expectancy of the pumpers, so we'll only have to purchase a pumper every ten years, saving a half million dollars for that one vehicle."

Plano Fire-Rescue has 350 firefighters operating out of 13 stations. It has a Rosenbauer pumper at each station with the exception of where a quint is stationed. The department also operates four Rosenbauer aerial ladders, an urban search and rescue (USAR) unit, and seven ALS ambulances.

"We looked at the vehicles we were using for our EMS calls and determined that fire apparatus was not designed to withstand the wear and tear of dozens of EMS calls daily," Crawford points out. "That wear and tear was taxing the fleet and the biggest cost was the miles being put on pumpers, up to 120,000 miles a year. We would need to replace that pumper in five years, even though the pump would have very few hours on it."

Plano (TX) Fire-Rescue's newly enacted rescue squad program
(1) Plano (TX) Fire-Rescue's newly enacted rescue squad program uses fully EMS-outfitted Chevrolet Suburbans to take the load off of two paramedic pumpers. (Photos courtesy of Bill Lindley Photography.)


Crawford says he knew of "a better mousetrap to solve this issue." He previously was chief of the Shreveport (LA) Fire Department, where he implemented the single paramedic rapid intervention team (SPRINT) concept. "Shreveport has a smaller population than Plano but is a larger department with 500 firefighters and about 38,000 calls a year, compared with 21,000 annually for Plano," Crawford notes. "In Shreveport, we ran three rescue squad-style units very successfully." Crawford took that SPRINT concept and "the rescue squad concept was born where we were able to maintain quality service and a Class 1 Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating here."

The city of Plano is considered part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It is 20 miles north of Dallas and encompasses 72 square miles with a population of 270,000. It is home to Snapple, J.C. Penney, and 7-Up corporate headquarters and is populated with residential and commercial structures. Several major highways run through the city.

self-contained breathing apparatus and fire turnout gear
(2) The Plano rescue squad also carries self-contained breathing apparatus and fire turnout gear for its crew.

The Program

The rescue squads will be housed in Station 1 and Station 4, Crawford said, and he believes they will handle approxi

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013

Three Neighboring Departments Team Up to Purchase Seven Pumpers

Alan M. Petrillo

Three Missouri fire departments-each needing to replace one or more pieces of apparatus-recently got together and formed a purchasing alliance that ended up saving each of them tens of thousands of dollars per unit when they purchased seven pumpers from a single manufacturer. The neighboring departments were able to craft the pumper specifications to allow for a base unit they all agreed on yet have the flexibility to choose from 49 options for equipment to include on their own pumpers.

The Springfield (MO) Fire Department purchased four identical pumpers from Rosenbauer, the Republic (MO) Fire Department bought two identical rigs, and the Nixa (MO) Fire Protection District purchased one pumper. The departments estimate they saved approximately $30,000 on each pumper through the joint purchase.

Crafting the Specs

Dave Pennington, assistant chief at the Springfield (MO) Fire Department, says the chief officers have known each other for several years but hadn't considered a joint purchase of apparatus until they were at an event together and realized each department was contemplating buying pumpers. "We discussed the possibility of getting together to purchase the pumpers and, once we agreed, took the idea to Springfield's purchasing director Jim Tillman, who had experience doing joint purchases when he worked in Florida," Pennington says. "He was very familiar with a large-scale event like this and got us the permission to proceed."

Pennington says the three departments set up a committee to write pumper specifications, "trying for a plain vanilla spec because we wanted as many bidders as possible." Seventeen apparatus manufacturers came to the joint prebid conference, and 11 manufacturers eventually submitted bids. The departments awarded the contract to Rosenbauer.

Steve Reedy, vice president and general manager of Rosenbauer's Minnesota division, says the bodies and chassis on all seven pumpers are the same-Spartan MetroStar chassis with four-person cabs. The pumps, water tanks, and body configurations on all the apparatus are the same too-Waterous CSU pumps, 750-gallon tanks, and 30-gallon foam cells with FoamPro systems.

"Springfield and Nixa chose to have 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pumps on their pumpers, while Republic went with a 2,000-gpm Waterous pump," Reedy says. "All the pumpers have foam on them, but Springfield chose to change to a Waterous 200 Platinum compressed air foam system (CAFS) for its units, as well as adding our Green Star auxiliary power unit (APU)."

Pennington points out that Springfield "is finding that our CAFS pumpers are tremendously effective. There's less water consumption, less water damage, and the guys are getting quicker knockdowns."

Three Missouri fire departments purchased seven pumpers on a single contract but were able to choose from 49 equipment options to the base chassis and cab configurations.
(1) Three Missouri fire departments purchased seven pumpers on a single contract but were able to choose from 49 equipment options to the base chassis and cab configurations. Chiefs and committee members responsible for making the purchase happen pose in front of the seven pumpers in Springfield, Missouri. [Photo courtesy of the Springfield (MO) Fire Department.]

Challenging Order

Pete Leizer, account manager for MaxFire Firefighting Apparatus, which sold the pumpers to the three departments, says that multiple purchase orders are not ordinary and can be challenging in terms of keeping everything straight for all those involved. "But, we and Rosenbauer's people sat down and listened to thei

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