( 19) Mirrors on this pumper include “West
Coast”-style mirrors with convex mirrors below.
Over the windshield is a convex look-down
mirror that gives the driver a view directly in
front of the rig.
required on fire apparatus. It certainly
has eliminated the choking black diesel
exhaust that used to hang for an hour
or more in the fire station when we
responded! There is not much you can
change in the exhaust specifications
except the termination location and
end adapter. If a particular exhaust
extraction system is used, the tailpipe
adapter used in the system should be
specified. In addition, a vertical exhaust
pipe might be specified around a breathing air or hazmat apparatus.
The requirement for brakes includes
that they be readily accessible for
adjustment. For an air brake system, an
automatic moisture ejector, air dryer,
Several optional features that you
might consider on air brake systems
include additional or larger capacity
air tanks, pull-cord moisture ejectors
with the cables run to a central location
near the outside of the rig, and heated
moisture ejectors on all air tanks. Some
purchasers specify an air outlet on the
pump panel with an air hose and tire
inflation chuck to fill low tires.
An option that I always specify is that
the parking brake control be located so
either the driver or officer can apply it
while seated and belted. If the driver
becomes disabled, this feature could be
a life saver! This requirement can also
be met by installing a secondary means
of applying the parking brake located on
the officer’s side of the cab.
Apparatus weighing more than 36,000
pounds GV WR are required to have an
auxiliary braking device. Depending on
the chassis and engine being used, your
choices are an engine compression brake
(typically called a Jake Brake), an automatic transmission hydraulic driveline
retarder, an electrical driveline retarder,
or an exhaust brake.
The engine compression brake turns
the engine from an energy-producing
power plant to an energy-absorbing
air compressor by opening the exhaust
valves when the pistons are at the top
of the compression stroke, expelling the
compressed air, which slows the vehicle.
The automatic transmission retarder
is mounted to the output shaft of the
transmission. When the unit is activated,
transmission fluid enters a chamber and
slows a turning paddle wheel attached to
the output shaft.
The electrical driveline retarder has a
series of electrical coils that are activated
in stages when the brakes are applied.
These coils produce a magnetic field
around two spinning discs that slows the
turning of the driveshaft.
The exhaust brake is the least complicated, as it restricts the exhaust,
slowing the engine.
Base your choice on an operational
comparison, availability on the chassis
being specified, and cost. The engine
compression brake is moderately priced
and is an option for the engine being
specified. The transmission retarder adds
weight and can cause the transmission
fluid to heat up when used excessively.
The driveline retarder is probably the
most responsive but it adds weight and
cost and requires a high current draw
when fully activated. The exhaust brake
is not available on all models and is probably the least effective of the units listed.
The apparatus suspension obviously
needs to meet or exceed the expected
weight of the fully-loaded apparatus
and provide a minimum of eight inches
of clearance to the road surface. Several types of suspensions are available
for use in the fire service. Probably the
most common is the typical leaf spring
assembly. Gaining popularity is the independent front suspension, which tends
to provide better handling. Other types
of suspension include the inflatable air
bag type and coil spring suspensions.
Choose based on your operating area and
Automatic tire chains activated by the
driver are a popular option in areas of the
country that have ice and moderate snow.
When applied, a rubber wheel with short
lengths of chains attached contacts the
inside of the rear tires. The spinning wheel
slings the chains under the tire, where it
contacts the road surface. Another consideration is the amount of clearance around
the wheel well if full sets of standard skid
chains are routinely used.
Wheels can be either the painted steel
( 17) Ninety-six square inches of reflective
material must be installed on the inside of all
doors. This unit uses a reflective stop sign.
Notice the LED warning light that comes on
when the door is open.
( 18) A raised crew-cab roof makes it easier to
get in and out of the cab without ducking down.
Notice the LED scene light on the side of the
cab. (Photo by Ron Jeffers.)