By Bob Vaccaro
Published Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Every year I’m astonished to see the new designs that have been engineered into various manufacturers’ chassis—particularly all the new designs that have taken firefighter safety to a whole new level.
Spartan ERV, which made a big splash at FDIC 2012 with new chassis designs and a name change, announced its new advanced safety system at FRI 2012. The system, dubbed the Advanced Protection System, was added to their line of reinforced cabs, safety lighting, electronic stability control and tire-pressure monitoring.
Now available on all Spartan ERV chassis is a new advanced air bag system that includes eight air bags, four of which are industry firsts. This includes side curtain air bags that are seven times larger than the competition. Believe me, when you take a look at the side curtain air bags that are on display alongside a competitor’s, you can definitely see the difference.
Some other industry firsts: outboard sensors that control air bag deployment and protect firefighters from side-impact collisions. These sensors, which are actually mounted on the outer cab perimeter, communicate to the restraint control module which airbag to deploy and under what conditions.
In addition, the rear side air bags are custom-sized for each type of Spartan cab, with the largest rear-side air bag being seven times the size of their competitors’ air bags. There are also driver and officer knee air bags, as well as steering wheel and officer-side dash air bags—another industry first.
If this wasn’t enough, Spartan also included a new intelligent seatbelt system. The new seatbelt uses pyrotechnic pretensioners to actually pull the firefighter into the seat in the event of an impact or rollover. After the firefighter is pulled into the seat, the load limiters control the deceleration and strain while reducing the belt pressure on the chest and torso, all to minimize seatbelt-related injuries.
At FRI, I had the opportunity to check out the new Advanced Protection System installed on a Spartan cab and chassis. I have to say, it was quite impressive to see just about every inch of the front and rear of the cab totally protected.
I have to hand it to Spartan ERV. They are putting firefighter safety first in all of its products. I don’t think we can ask for more. I can hardly wait to see what next year brings. If this starts a competition of sorts among manufacturers to see who can build the safest apparatus, so be it. The fire service can only benefit from it.
Full Advance Protection System Features
- Full side curtain air bags *Industry First
- Side impact air bag protection *Industry First
- Driver knee air bags *Industry First
- Advanced seatbelts *Industry First
- Outboard sensors *Industry First
- Steering wheel-mounted driver air bag
- Officer knee air bags
- Restraint control module
- Reinforced cab structure
- Electronic stability control
- Safety lighting
- Tire-pressure monitoring system
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