Apparatus Highlights from FDIC 2008

This year’s Fire Department Instructors’ Conference (FDIC) boasted record-setting attendance–more than 27,000 attendees from around the world. Based on the crowds that swarmed the exhibit halls, I think there was also a record set with the number of apparatus and new products displayed.

For those looking to spec a new apparatus or equip an existing apparatus, it was all there, including some innovative concepts unveiled for the first time. Furthermore, the conference gave attendees the opportunity to see what other departments have ordered and to build on their experience. There was enough to keep attendees busy for a week.

See the gallery for highlights of what was on display inside and outside the exhibit halls.

American LaFrance

Despite its past financial problems this year, ALF had its usual big presence at FDIC. It displayed several demos: a 100′ Extreme Duty Ladder and an Eagle Rescue pumper; a Liberty pumper for Neville Island, Pa.; an Eagle/LTI mid-mount for Livonia, Mich.; and a Freightliner pumper/tanker for Winn Parish, La. Expect more from this manufacturer in the coming year as it emerges from its bankruptcy.


Crimson had its large space filled to capacity with a pumper built on a Spartan Gladiator chassis for Tulsa, Okla.–one of 32 to be delivered to that city. Also featured: a 100′ platform for Tonawanda, N.Y.; a rear-mount rescue pumper for North Greece, N.Y.; and a Boomer demo built on the new Spartan Furion chassis.


E-One introduced its new enclosed top-mount pumper design, Synergy, which features up to 528 cubic feet of compartment storage on a compact wheelbase.

The Synergy configuration features a compact pump design that’s available on a commercial chassis or an E-One custom chassis that allows more overall customization.?Synergy also features a 1,250-gpm pump rating and various NFPA-compliant ladder and/or equipment storage options.

In addition to the Synergy, E-One displayed a Custom Quest rescue pumper; a Comms-One Suburban communications command post vehicle for the Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Department; a HP 100′ platform/quint for Gulfport, Miss; a command center built on a Cyclone II chassis for City of Hialeah Gardens, Fla.; a Fire Ranger rescue built on a GMC 3500 chassis for Glenville Cashiers, N.C.; and a commercial tanker built on a Peterbilt chassis for Bayou Goula/Iberville Parish, La.

E-One has really stepped up to the plate with numerous innovations of the last couple of years. It’s worth taking a look at their accomplishments over this short period: This new lineup is bursting with great engineering.


Year after year, Ferrara features an impressive lineup of Igniter and Inferno chassis. It also displayed a cut-away body, showing off one of its custom-built pumpers for Houston (of which there are 20 delivered; Ferrara currently has 31 frontline pieces delivered to that city). Also on display: a Strong Arm for Beijing, China; a 100′ rear-mount aerial for Oakland City, Ind.; and several demo vehicles. Ferrara has come along way in the past several years, building a great number of apparatus domestically and abroad.


Gimaex, a French/German manufacturer of fire apparatus, is making its entry into the U.S. fire service with several noteworthy offerings. The first was a 100′ aerial built on a Spartan Gladiator chassis that sported a short wheelbase for easy maneuvering in tight spaces. If you need a short wheelbase aerial because of space limitations in your area, this truck is worth looking into.

Their second demo, a hazmat vehicle called the Clamshell, was built on a Freightliner chassis and can be configured for rescue and environmental protection vehicles with modular compartment space. Also on display: a Type 3 wildand/urban interface (WUI) pumper built in conjunction with Badlands Fire Apparatus. The unit features a Sterling Twin Cab and a compressed air foam system (CAFS).


Hackney displayed a custom-built heavy-rescue for the St. Rose (La.) Volunteer Fire Department. The vehicle features a Hurst Octoflo Rescue System, 13 ground-level compartments, a 35-kW generator and six preconnect reels for electrical applications. Hackney products feature a lot of great engineering. If you’re serious about speccing a hazmat, command or heavy-rescue unit, look into their line.


We saw another large presence from one of the industry’s top builders, KME, which displayed a 100′ HD Aerial Cat ladder quint demo; a rear-mount rescue pumper for Franklin Township, Pa; a 102′ Aerial Cat platform for Morrisville, N.C.; a combination heavy-resccue from Wood-Ridge, N.J.; a Predator rescue pumper; and a Severe Service pumper demo.

The Predator line continues to be a great seller for KME, and they’ve also announced a new line of ARFF vehicles made with Plastisol bodies.


This year’s conference introduced a whole new lineup of PUC apparatus, including a top-mount, 75′ aluminum ladder truck and a Contender chassis.

The expanded PUC product line provides firefighters additional options in selecting a truck that meets department needs with fewer compromises. The expanded product line included:

  • Top-Mount PUC: This design takes pump operators off the street and places them into an elevated position on the apparatus for better safety and visibility. The wheelbase is reduced 3­—4 feet, and the apparatus offers increased safety with enclosed access steps and lowered crosslays, and provides greater ease of use with true pump-and-roll capabilities.
  • 75′ Aluminum Ladder PUC: This design features 22 percent more storage space and a wheelbase that’s up to 5 inches shorter than traditional 75′ aluminum ladders. The PUC design lowers crosslays, utilizes a simple two-step pump shift operation and provides storage for bulky items, such as Stokes baskets and backboards.
  • Custom Contender PUC: This design allows fire departments to cost-effectively customize their rig, while obtaining all the benefits of the PUC design. The Contender PUC also features a redesigned cab with more interior space for crew and equipment.

Also on display: A Velocity rear-mount pumper for Frisco, Texas; a Quantum walkaround heavy-rescue vehicle for Las Vegas; an Arrow XT 75′ HAL for the Strasburg (Pa.) Fire Company; an Arrow XT 100’ platform for the Lockport Township (Ill.) Fire Protection District; a PUC pumper demo; a split-tilt Velocity pumper demo; and an Impel PUC pumper demo. Pierce offers a lot of variety, and its new lines of products and body configurations probably mean another successful year for this heavy-hitter.


Plastisol Composites had several body types on display: a 10′ light rescue, a 3,000-gallon tanker body and a 28′ rescue body. Several manufacturers displayed new apparatus with Plastisol bodies. It seems the idea of glassfiber-reinforced polyester bodies is taking off. Consider it: Just about every configuration can be made in this style.


A large offering from Rosenbauer, with its many industry innovations, was on display once again. The company is celebrating the third year of the Tech Drive series, and it debuted the Revolution line of apparatus, which can be built on various chassis with numerous body configurations. One of its aerial demos sported an aerial operator’s chair with a joystick configuration. Rosenbauer also displayed its Fire Star line of vehicles. It’s always interesting to see what innovations this manufacturer will bring to FDIC, and this year was no different.

S&S Fire Apparatus Co.

S&S showed off its Wildland Ultra XT built for Port Orange, Fla., the first vehicle of its kind to be delivered to the East Coast. Most of the company’s other deliveries have been to the Bureau of Land Management and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Also on display: a smaller Sentinel brush truck for the U.S. Park Service.


Seagrave was alive and well at this year’s show with a large offering of apparatus of every shape and size. First up: an Optimum pumper/tanker built on an International chassis for Center-West Township, Ind. Seagrave also featured a Marauder II 75′ Meanstick quint for Charleston, S.C.; a Marauder II walkaround rescue vehicle for McCordsville, Ind.; a Marauder II 2,000-gpm pumper for Fishers, Ind.; an Attacker 1,500-gpm pumper for Valparaiso, Ind.; and a 100′ tractor-drawn aerial for Bedford, Va.


Smeal was another manufacturer displaying a pumper demo built on the Spartan Furion. The company also featured a stainless-steel side-mount rescue pumper demo, as well as two ladders–a tractor-drawn aerial for Riverside County, Calif., and a rear-mount platform quint for Campbell County, Va.

Summit Fire Apparatus

Summit Fire Apparatus had several new pieces on display, including a Spartan Gladiator-based walkaround rescue demo and a cascade/floodlight vehicle built on an International Dura Star chassis for the Kenton County, Ky., Emergency Management Division. And the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District in Ohio displayed a Summit midi-pumper built on a Chevrolet 5500 chassis.


The dome had space for all of Sutphen’s entries this year. On display was a SP 70′ aerial platform quint for Saltlick Township, Pa.; a Monarch rescue pumper for Liberty Township, Ohio; a SPH 100′-plus aerial platform for Seguin, Texas; and a SL 75′ quint midship-mount ladder demo.

In Sum

These examples by no means represent all of the offerings on display at this year’s FDIC. Smaller manufacturers, including Toyne, Fort Garry Industries, Unruh, Fouts Bros., Metz, Pro-Tech Fire and Midwest Fire Equipment also saw representation, with great rigs from all of them.

The first step in an apparatus purchase is to investigate what’s available on the market. And FDIC is like the supermarket of fire trucks, with all of your equipment needs out in the open. If you can, take your apparatus committee to one of the larger fire service shows and you’ll see–it’s probably the best dollar you can spend to inform your decision, as this year’s state-of-the-art offerings once again proved.


Worth Noting

Although the Convention Center and RCA Dome are full of shiny offerings, some manufacturers chose to feature a couple of apparatus rather than bring a whole fleet.

Alexis displayed a 104′ aerial platform/quint from Frederica, Del.; a 3,000-gallon tanker on a Peterbilt 335 chassis with a Plastisol body from Shabbona, Ill.; and a custom 1,000-gallon top-mount pumper from Prophetstown, Ill. Danko displayed several mini-pumpers at the show, one of which features a top-mount configuration. Darley, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, displayed a four-door, 750-gpm, CAFS-equipped pumper for Skagit County, Wash. Built on a GMC C5500 chassis, the unit features a FoamPro 2001 system. Firematic, known for its BRAT line of brush vehicles, introduced the RALLY BRAT. The new vehicle can be built on the smaller Ford F-350 chassis, as well as the GMC and Dodge 3500 series chassis. HME’s lineup included several Ahrens Fox pumpers, a Spectr chassis and a WUI engine for the California Office of Emergency Services. Marion Body Works displayed two of its Fusion line of rescue units, one built on a Freightliner chassis and the other built on a Custom Spartan chassis. Both featured extra-large compartments. Spartan showed off its Metro Star, Gladiator and Furion chassis. Spartan chassis could be viewed all over the exhibit hall because other manufacturers are beginning to build on them frequently. SVI featured two walkaround heavy-rescue vehicles for Burnsby, B.C., and a walk-in rescue for Harrisburg, N.C. The Rescue 1/PL Custom display featured a walkaround heavy-rescue vehicle constructed on the new Spartan Furion chassis with extra-large compartments all around. U.S. Tanker displayed the Heritage- and Patriot-series tankers, including a demo built on an International Dura Star chassis and an apparatus for Camp Jackson, Ill., built on a Peterbuilt chassis.

No posts to display