25% of Present Apparatus Needs Immediate Replacement

25% of Present Apparatus Needs Immediate Replacement

And 10% Additional is Needed to Protect New-Crowth Areas of Cities; Results of Comprehensive Survey

IN ORDER to determine the mechanical condition of post-war fire departments, and to determine as well the course to be taken by the fire service in maintaining fire departments at a safe strength, in view of the inevitable shortages that are developing in critical materials due to diversion for European relief and National defense measures, FIRE ENGINEERING recently made an extensive survey. This survey covered all municipalities in the country of 1,000 population and over.

The questionnaire employed is reproduced below:

QUESTIONNAIRE

City………… State

Pumpers:

  1. Number……
  2. Age of units: No…..Age (or year purchased)
  3. Capacity: Gals. Per Min……. Number of Units ……
  4. Number needing replacement ….
  5. Number of additional units needed ……

Triple Combinations

(Pump, booster or chemical tank, hose)

  1. Number……
  2. Age of units: No…..Age (or year purchased)
  3. Capacity: Gals. Per Min…….
  4. Number needing replacement ….
  5. Number of additional units needed ……

Quadruple Combinations

(Pump, booster or chemical tank, hose and ladder equipment similar to city service truck)

During August, the National Board of Fire Underwriters Started Tests on Philadelphia's Fire Apparatus. The First Two Engines Tested, Both of Ancient Make, Wouldn't Work. Here a 24-Year-Old Pumper Has to Be Rolled Manually to Get the Motor Started. Fire Departments Have Too Many Obsolete Machines in Service, as Shown by the Accompanying Survey.A 24-Year-Old Pumper Collided with a Truck Load of Scrap Iron in Los Angeles County Recently, Demolishing the Apparatus and Injuring Three Men. Ancient Relics of This Kind, Fitted with Two-Wheel Brakes, Create a Real Traffic Hazard.

Photo Courtesy Glen Alton

  1. Number……
  2. Age of units: No…..Age (or year purchased)
  3. Capacity: Gals. Per Min……. Number of Units ……
  4. Number needing replacement ….
  5. Number of additional units needed ……

Hose Wagons

  1. Number……
  2. Age of units: No…..Age (or year purchased)
  3. Number needing replacement ….
  4. Number of additional units required ……

Aerial Ladder Trucks

  1. Number……
  2. Age of units: No…..Age (or year purchased)
  3. Number needing replacement ….
  4. Number of additional ones required ……

City Service Trucks

  1. Number……
  2. Age of units: No…..Age (or year purchased)
  3. Number needing replacement
  4. Number of additional ones required ……

Rescue Trucks

Number ….

Ambulances

Number .

Other Motor Apparatus not Listed Above

  1. Number ……
  2. Age ……

Thirty-four Per Cent. Return

Replies were received from 1,601 fire departments, representing a total population (1940 census) of 38,517,980 as compared to a population of 112,412,614 for all cities and towns in the United States over 1,000 population. Thus the survey represents a return of a trifle over 34 per cent on the basis of population.

Fire Department Repair Shops Must Work at Top Capacity to Keep Obsolete Apparatus Rolling.

However, in prorating the returns over the total population of United States (in communities of 1,000 and more), cities were treated in three separate groups, namely, those of 20,000 and over; those of 5,000 to 20,000 and those from 1,000 to 5,000 population.

Total population in these three groups represented by the returned questionnaires were:

Over 20,000 population…… 31,005,852

5,000 to 20,000 population. . . . 5,603,893

1,000 to 5,000 population.. 1,908,145

The population for all cities in the

United States in each of the three groups are, by the same census (1940), as follows:

Over 20,000 population…… 92,900,326

5,000 to 20,000 population…. 7,803,560

1,000 to 5,000 population…. 11,412,614

From the two tables above, the relationship between the populations covered by returned questionnaires and total populations of all municipalities in each population group are established.

To prorate apparatus figures reported for the 20,000 population and over group, the factor 3 was employed (92,900,326 divided by 31,005,852).

To prorate apparatus figures reported for the 5,000-20,000 population group, the factor 1.4 was employed (7,803,560 divided by 5,603,983).

To prorate apparatus figures reported for the 1,000-5,000 population group, the factor 6.1 was employed (11,708,728 divided by 1,908,145).

Dividing the cities reporting into three population groups before prorating, and using three different prorating factors, gives a more accurate result than employing a single ratio between the total population of cities reporting and the total population of all cities in the United States over 1,000.

Possible Discrepancies

Certain factors may have contributed to discrepancies in the final survey figures, but none of them is believed to have introduced serious error.

First, a number of those reporting failed to classify their apparatus properly in the questionnaires. Some listed as “pumpers” apparatus which should have been included under “triple combinations.”

Others listed as “triple combinations,” pumpers. Still others included “triple combinations” as “quadruple combinations,” and so on.

Some specified that city service truck replacement should be by junior aerials, but the majority made no such comment. Without doubt this plan will be followed on a far larger scale than indicated by the summary, for this particular question on the type of unit to be used as replacement was not included in the questionnaire. The total number of aerials needed, as reported, may therefore be low.

With reference to squad trucks, many of these units are provided with pumps, booster tanks and hose, and some might have been included under “triple combinations.” The inclusion of all under the listing “squad trucks” may thereby have diverted an appreciable number from the listing “triple combinations,” where they belonged.

Because of the fewness of quintuple combinations listed in the returns, this classification has been combined with “aerial ladders.”

Capacities of units needed for replacement of, or addition to, present apparatus are not given, as too few gave such figures to make possible the striking of accurate averages in the various capacity groupings.

The tabulation does not include apparatus in towns of under 1,000 population of which there are a huge number, nor does it include county units, forestry units, industrial or institutional units.

The thanks of the editorial staff of FIRE ENGINEERING is hereby extended to those Fire Chiefs and other fire department officers whose willing cooperation made this work available to the fire service. Without their generous help, this survey would have been impossible.

Total Number of Pieces of Fire Apparatus in Service in Municipal Fire Departments in All U. S. Cities of Over 1,000 Population

Average Age of Units in Service

Number of Pumpers and Triple Combinations, of the Most Popular Sizes, at Present in Service in U. S. Cities of Over 1,000 Population

Other Types of Automotive Equipment in Service

Percentage of Units, in Service, Falling into Different Age Classifications

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