Apparatus & Equipment

Apparatus Load Balance Guidelines

Issue 2 and Volume 165.

BY BILL ADAMS It is exasperating when fire departments pub- lish apparatus purchasing specifications mandating requirements they do not understand. It is troublesome when some manufacturers and their dealers encourage potential customers to specify those same requirements when they too cannot fully explain what they mean. Examine “load balance guidelines,” a requirement referenced in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, 2009 edition. In particular, look at “front-to-rear-axle weight distribution.” Everyone has an idea of what it means, but few people can really explain it. The significance of proper load and weight distribution is emphasized throughout NFPA 1901. Purchasers should recognize what load balance guidelines are, who establishes them, why they are important, and who must adhere to them. Not following them could cause an accident. It would be unsettling to be responsible for causing an event you could have or should have prevented. Could you…

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