By Author(s): Bob Vaccaro 
Published Wednesday, June 1, 2011
| From the June 2011  Issue of FireRescue 
When it was time for the Plain Township (Ohio) Fire Department (PTFD) to begin designing a new pumper for its response area, the apparatus committee wanted a vehicle that would save costs and provide space for carrying additional equipment to handle not only firefighting, but also the various rescue incidents the department encounters. In the process, they realized that the vehicle must be designed to address one of their area’s chief concerns: property conservation.
Beating the Clock
The PTFD began working on the specs for a new vehicle back in October 2009. “We use our vehicles 10 years for frontline service and then place them in reserve for 15 to 20 years,” says Assistant Chief James Rupp. But the department decided to replace its 2001 engine early. “We wanted to beat the new 2010 EPA-regulated engines that were due to come out,” Rupp says. “A big concern was to save money by purchasing early and not incurring the added costs of the 2010 engines. We were also concerned about how these new engines would affect the operation of fire apparatus, since we were hearing conflicting reports from around the fire service.”
The PTFD wanted the new vehicle to be a rescue pumper that would handle myriad tasks. Accordingly, the apparatus committee members came up with a list of what they called “rescue risks” in the department’s response area: vehicle accidents, ice rescue, water rescue, road emergencies, trench/collapse and of course firefighting. For this reason, size was an issue. “We didn’t want to compromise the size of the vehicle,” Rupp says. “It had to be big enough to carry the extra equipment but we didn’t want it to be too big.”
Due to an Ohio statewide purchasing program, the PTFD doesn’t have to go out to bid; they can choose any manufacturer on the state list. “Sutphen, who we had dealt with before in apparatus purchases, was on the list, and its price was comparable with other manufacturers,” Rupp says. “They always gave us great service during and after the sale." Another bonus: The Sutphen factory is just 30 minutes away.
“One concept that we decided we wanted on our new pumper: CAFS,” Rupp says. “We have plenty of high-dollar homes in the area, and property conservation is a must for our department. The less water damage, the better.”
The committee looked at several pump manufacturers for CAFS, eventually settling on Darley. “We felt that their system had a better foam consistency, no matter what type of hydrant pressure we operated with, and the system was simple and fast to operate,” Rupp says.
The chassis was built at Sutphen, then shipped to Darley for the installation of the CAFS. The committee witnessed the pump test at Darley and then the chassis was shipped back to Sutphen for the compartment installation and another final pump test.
“The people at Sutphen and Darley were great to work with, especially considering this build was kind of unique for both manufacturers,” Rupp says. “All involved had to really work together, whether it was the engineers or the workers on the line. Both companies really came through for us on this apparatus.”
Other features on the rig: A 9,000-watt Command Light—another first for the PTFD—a 40-gallon foam tank, larger compartment spaces, a 20-kW hydraulic generator and two 200' reels mounted on the front bumper to handle Genesis rescue tools. “We were also lucky to have both Sutphen and Darley provide training to our members back at our fire station,” Rupp says.
“The vehicle has really worked well for us,” Rupp says. “The first fire it worked at, we used the CAFS. The insurance adjuster who surveyed the damage at the residence after the fire commented on how little water damage there was. That pretty much proved that our idea for installing the CAFS on the new pumper was worth the effort. I wouldn’t order another vehicle without the system installed.”
As with any apparatus purchase, the PTFD had to weigh the costs and benefits when speccing this vehicle. Was the extra cost of installing CAFS on the unit worth the enhanced property protection it would provide? And would working with two different manufacturers complicate the process too much? Fortunately, good planning paid off, and the manufacturers worked together to make this build a success.
The outcome: a fully functional piece of fire apparatus that not only works well after design but provides the potential for insurance cost savings within the community.
Decide what the risks are in your response area and build a vehicle that not only will serve you now, but into the future. Since the present economy doesn’t show signs of a quick recovery, reducing costs for your department and your community is key.
PTFD’s NewSutphen Pumper
- Sutphen Monarch cab
- 450-hp Cummins ISM engine
- Allison 4000 transmission
- 1,500-gpm Darley LDMBC Auto CAFS fire pump
- 220-cfm compressor
- Foam Pro proportioner
- 20-kW Smart Power hydraulic generator
- 9,000-watt Command Light tower
Plain Township Fire Department
The PTFD services the Village of New Albany and the surrounding township with 33 full-time paid firefighters, 11 on duty each day. Services are provided to the estimated 8,212 village and township residents, in addition to the business and school campuses. The New Albany School system has 3,448 students, while approximately 5,150 employees commute into the area on a daily basis for the major businesses.
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