Photos by Ron Jeffers.

Fire departments across the country have added considerably to the number of nonfirefighting duties they routinely perform—providing rescue services, hazardous materials control, and emergency medical treatment, to name a few.

With each new function comes the need to carry additional tools and equipment. Larger water tanks, generators, and aerial devices tend to consume a great deal of space on the apparatus previously available for compartmentation. This leaves the fire department searching for areas of previously unused space to store needed equipment.

The following photos feature innovative space-saving techniques for storage solutions.

Photo 1.

Photo 1. Movable storage racks for ladders, suction hose, pike poles, and so on, free up the full-length and full-depth compartments for other important equipment storage.

Photo 2.

Photo 2. A booster reel is mounted under the crew cab on a commercial pumper with an opening to deploy the line.

Photo 3.

Photo 3. A soft suction hose and a 1¾inch attack line share this front bumper space. By mounting them lengthwise across the bumper extension (rather than in two smaller individual box compartments), the hose is easier to pack and deploy.

Photo 4.

Photo 4. The space above the pump compartment on most apparatus is open and considered a dunnage area. But by enclosing the area and using roll-up doors, you gain valuable storage space out of the weather. Notice that the crosslay is also stored in this compartment. One consideration in this configuration is the degree of difficulty involved in repacking the hose.

Phots 5.

Photo 5. A stepladder can be an invaluable tool for common calls such as a light ballast or electrical fixture problem. Storing it, however, can sometimes present a challenge. One department incorporated a storage area next to the bed section of the aerial ladder, behind the sign plate. Notice the neat placement of a hydrant wrench and two sizes of spanner wrenches in racks on the pump panel. This will save time and effort when you need a wrench to complete a hose connection.

Photo 6.

Photo 6. By staggering the cylinder rack in this compartment, the fire department was able to store five cylinders rather than four as in a standard straight rack.

Photo 7.

Photo 7. The open area between the outrigger and the front of the body stores a pressurized water extinguisher. Personnel can remove it easily when they need it instead of having to dig through a compartment.

Photo 8.

Photo 8. Often space is available in the pump compartment if plumbing and valves are efficiently mounted. This apparatus has room for two fire extinguishers as well as a small compartment for the radio speaker and microphone. You must discuss the use of such space with the apparatus manufacturer when you are writing the specifications.

Photo 9.

Photos 9, 10. This rescue pumper’s front bumper extension has a utility air hose reel and hydraulic rescue tool reel mounted on it. In this position, it is easier to deploy the reel lines when approaching a motor vehicle accident without sacrificing valuable compartment space. A rear view of the apparatus shows another set of the same reels, which personnel can deploy to the rear if needed.

Photo 10.

William C. Peters is a 26-year veteran of the Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department and has served the past 14 years as apparatus supervisor, with responsibility for purchasing and maintaining the apparatus fleet. He is a voting member of the NFPA 1901 Apparatus Committee, representing apparatus users. Peters is the author of Fire Apparatus Purchasing Handbook (Fire Engineering, 1994); two chapters on apparatus in The Fire Chief’s Handbook, Fifth Edition (Fire Engineering, 1995); the instructional video Factory Inspections of New Fire Apparatus (Fire Engineering, 1998); and numerous apparatus-related articles. He is an advisory board member of Fire Engineering and the FDIC and lectures extensively on apparatus purchase and safety issues.

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