Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) company, announced today it has added RollTek’s Side Roll Protection System as an option in Freightliner commercial chassis. The integration of the RollTek system in the Freightliner commercial chassis is exclusively available in Pierce fire apparatus. The safety feature was first incorporated into specifications for a recent order placed by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management consisting of 14 Type 3 Interface wildland fire trucks and 25 Type 3 and 4 wildland fire engines.
“We have seen an increase in commercial products in various types of fire apparatus fleets, driven by cost, lead time, and chassis preference,” said Jim Johnson, president of Pierce Manufacturing. “Fire apparatus operators must navigate everything from demanding terrain to narrow rural roads, and rollovers are a significant threat, particularly in tanker products. Becoming the only provider of the RollTek system in Freightliner commercial chassis for fire apparatus is one more step in Pierce’s ongoing mission to help protect firefighters by continuing to enhance and improve fire truck safety systems.”
Extreme environmental factors and weather conditions have contributed to the recent uptick in fire activity, increasing truck rollover incidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA), fire truck accidents are the second leading cause of death for firefighters on the job, and rollovers account for more than 66% of fire truck accidents each year. RollTek side roll protection systems help protect fire truck occupants by allowing for side roll air curtains to be fully integrated into the seating system rather than deploying from the wall in a crash or rollover event.
Elden Alexander is the national fire equipment program manager with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. He and his team have seen what was previously a summer “fire season” turn into a “fire year” with active fires in all regions of the United States. These circumstances have increased the need for highly mobile firefighting forces throughout the country. As a Federal centralized fire equipment program, the advancement in RollTek safety technology will benefit not only the Department of Interior fire programs but well beyond.
“While firefighter safety is at the forefront of everything we do, it is inherently a dangerous job,” said Alexander. “On a single fire dispatch, we can respond 100 miles on the highway, traverse steep mountain roads, and then transition to using equipment off-road while suppressing fire. The addition of the RollTek side roll protection system is a remarkable advancement in firefighter safety and assures us that we are helping to ensure every firefighter returns home safely.”
Pierce’s decision to offer the RollTek side roll protection system as an option exclusively offered in its Freightliner commercial chassis was initiated by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, when purchase coordinators incorporated the feature into the specifications for recent orders. Pierce worked with IMMI and the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation to develop a program to test and certify the RollTek system and the cab structural integrity of the Freightliner cab. This application was the first in the commercial market for multiple cab configurations.
“Vehicle safety technology has advanced to a point where it became possible to push side roll protection features from light trucks and custom cab fire vehicles into the commercial-chassis market, which has resulted in the development of a reliable, comfortable, and affordable solution for the whole vehicle,” said RJ Johnson the national fire engine production manager with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. “It was not as simple as bolting a new seat into the cab, there were significant design alterations and testing conducted. It was evident early in the process that all involved understood the significance of what we wanted to do, and we were going to make this happen.”
To learn more about Pierce Manufacturing and the RollTek side roll protection system, visit www.piercemfg.com.