The SBFD “Apparatus Committee” was recently back in Appleton, Wisconsin at the Pierce Factory working with Sales Rep Kevin Newell. Currently, the San Bernardino City Fire Department is in the process of purchasing seven fire engines and two aerial ladder trucks from Pierce Manufacturing, Inc.. The SBFD is purchasing seven PUC’s with the Arrow XT chassis and two tractor drawn aerial ladder trucks, also with the Arrow XT
The SBFD and it’s current fleet, which is almost entirely Pierce is looking to replace seven of the twelve front line engines that were last purchased in 1999. The SBFD is a very busy fire department and four of the seven engines, currently have over a 100,000 miles on them. Battalion Chief Mike Alder and Denis Moon head up the committee, which consists of two Captains (Kevin Bathgate & Dan Harker), two Engineers (Jim Davis & Pat Burton), and one Fire Mechanic (Tony Zamora). Mike and Denis have been involved in the apparatus specification process for the SBFD since 1990 and have learned a lot over the years and have seen quite a few technological changes. The SBFD apparatus committee is really looking forward to taking delivery of the seven engines and two trucks. For the first time, they have been able to build an engine that will have the type of compartmentation that they need for their firefighting and ALS demands as well as a 178″ wheel base that they need for maneuverability”.
Some of the other issues that they were dealing with had to do with firefighting efficiency and safety. As popular as the SCBA seats are in the fire service they had observed problems with seat belt use while responding to fires. The committee along with the fire department staff felt that it is very difficult to wear the seat belt and the bottle at the same time. They removed the bottles and placed them in a compartment and attempted to give their personnel more leg room and comfort. At the same time it, they will eliminate the problem of the Captain trying to get his/her bottle on quickly and catch up with two other firefighters that are more than ready to get inside the building.
Another big change was the elimination of pre-connected attack lines and replaced with a manifold system that allows for very simple hose deployment and a more systematic and efficient charging of the attack lines. The PUC also has pump and roll capability.
The two tractor drawn aerial ladders have a medium duty 250 lb tip load Pierce aerial ladder and they eliminated the use of a pre-plumbed waterway. The apparatus committee felt that the vast majority of their aerial ladder use was to access the roof of a building for ventilation and the pre-plumbed waterway made it more difficult to quickly ladder buildings, always having to be aware of the pinnable waterway location. In the rare event that the SBFD has to resort to a “Ladder-Pipe” operation, the deployment of the 3″ hose may be a little slower but at that point what is the big hurry?
The SBFD should be taking delivery of four engines and one truck at the end of May and the delivery of the other three engines and the other truck at the end of June. If you have any questions regarding the apparatus specs and the thought process behind the decisions that were made for the development of the PUC and the Tractor Drawn Aerials please feel free to contact Battalion Chief’s Mike Alder or Denis Moon at 909-384-5279 or you can also contact the Pierce Sales Rep Kevin Newell (South Coast Fire Equipment) at 909-673-9900.