Archive for the ‘commentary articles’ Category

Specifying and Purchasing Fire Apparatus

Friday, December 5th, 2008

by Bill Peters

Specifying and purchasing fire apparatus can be a very difficult process, especially for the fire chief or truck committee who is unfamiliar with the procedures involved. Due to the infrequency of this process, few chiefs have the opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of apparatus purchasing. The common method utilized by many purchasers, is to rely solely on the advice and guidance of an apparatus sales person. This can add to the anxiety and apprehension of the chief who is concerned with obtaining suitable apparatus, at a reasonable price, for his community.

Preparing specifications and purchasing fire apparatus are major responsibilities that represent a sizable, long term investment of community funds.

If there is only one thing that I learned over the many years that I have been involved in purchasing fire apparatus for my department, as well as for private consulting clients is “Organization is the key to success.” Whether you are planning a vacation, establishing a training program or purchasing a piece of fire apparatus, get organized!


HID Scene Lighting

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

For most of the years since Thomas Edison successfully patented the carbon-filament light bulb in 1889, lighting technology has changed very little. Of course, there have been improvements of the art, but at the heart, most lighting technology has relied on one key: an electrical current passing through a thin filament creating the light. This has been particularly true for automotive lighting such as those found on emergency vehicles. With the exception of strobe lighting, the state-of-the-art in vehicle lighting for most of those years relied on the same basic concept demonstrated by Edison’s patent.

Not anymore.

Unbelievable! Or is it?

Monday, November 5th, 2007

By Robert Tutterow
Health & Safety Officer
Charlotte Fire Department

Through May of this year, unofficially, this country has lost 43 firefighters in the line of duty. 16 of these firefighters lost their lives responding to calls while 8 lost their lives at the scene of an incident (excluding medical LODDs). Heart attacks and strokes aside, more than twice as many firefighters have lost their live responding to incidents than actually working at the incidents! That’s UNBELIEVABLE–OR IS IT? It’s certainly absurd and totally unacceptable. To the general public, that statistic would probably be very surprising because they think we get killed bringing people out of burning structures. At least that’s what we tell them.

LEDs in Emergency Vehicle Lighting

Monday, November 5th, 2007

In 1907, Henry Joseph Round observed that when you ran an electrical current through silicon carbide, it emitted a weak, yellow light. This was the first documented case of electroluminescence by which a small electric current passing through a material was converted directly into visible light. Building upon the foundation Round discovered, in the 1960’s, scientists created the first modern light emitting diodes (LEDs). Initially, LEDs were restricted to indicators for the electronics and display industries. However, by the 1990s, the technology had advanced sufficiently that the light output started to equal more traditional lighting sources. In the past 5 years, the use of LEDs on fire trucks has exploded. They have become extremely common as truck clearance lights, turn signal lights, brake lights, warning lights, and even backup or compartment lights. In fact, its rare to find a truck that doesn’t have at least a few LEDs somewhere on the perimeter of the vehicle.

Emissions Compliance What’s Up For 2010?

Monday, November 5th, 2007

By Fred Shaefer

I remember when changes started to take place in cars to meet the 1970 Clean Air Act. These were the first standards for reductions in automotive emissions. I had just learned to adjust a set of points so the engine would actually run.

Over the next decade I saw changes that added hoses to connect things like charcoal canisters, exhaust gas re-circulation valves, air intakes, manifolds, sensors, sensors, and more sensors, and some things that I am still not to sure what they are for. The catalytic converter was placed in the exhaust system in 1975 and the change to unleaded gas took place. Fuel injection, electronic ignition, computerized engine control and onboard diagnostics systems are now standard on all new cars. When I was younger I liked to work on my cars, now I do not even lift the hood.