Air Brakes for Fire Apparatus
A type of air brake, designed especially for heavy fire apparatus has been developed by the Westinghouse Company, and tests made by the Pittsburgh fire department on some of its trucks have proven very successful. The big 11-ton American LaFrancc tractor-drawn aerial truck of Kn gine Company No. 3 in the downtown section was the first piece of apparatus to be so equipped several months ago. With this new equipment instead of the usual method of applying muscular force by the foot of the operator, the brakes are set by the force of compressed air which acts in the brake chambers connected to the brake rod and is controlled through a hand or foot operated valve. The usual foot and hand brakes are retained on the vehicle as an additional safeguard, hut their operation is in no way impaired by the air brake installation.
With the air brake equipment, the ease and flexibility of operation makes possible quick and effective brake control when fire apparatus is travelling at high speed and it is said that no more muscular effort is required than the handling of the gas throttle.