Maintenance Shop on Wheels
J. CLAUDE SAUNDERS
Charleston, W. Va., Fire Department
A truck designed for a number of maintenance and support functions has recently been placed in service by the Charleston, W. Va., Fire Department.
The main function of this unit is to service fire apparatus in the stations, eliminating the need to take any of our 11 engines and two ladders out of service for visits to the shop for routine maintenance. The new truck is admirably suited for this purpose and can handle anything short of a major overhaul or removal of an engine. In addition to a variety of hand tools and parts stored in compartments, this vehicle carries a 10-ton and a 20-ton jack, an air compressor for lubricating apparatus, an assortment of electric drills, a vise, and a generator with four 110-outlets for power tools.
We also use this truck for dispensing gasoline and oil to apparatus both at our 10 stations and on the fireground.
The truck carries a 235-gallon gasoline storage tank behind the cab. The tank has a power take-off pump, a meter to measure the amount of gasoline supplied to each apparatus, and 50 feet of hose on an electric-rewind reel. A constantly replenished supply of motor oil is stored in a special compartment on our truck.
Before we got this new unit, our apparatus refueled at a pump near one of the fire stations some distance from the center of the city. This meant a trip of 3 to 5 miles for some apparatus. Engines pumping at large fires were refueled by means of hand pumps on 50-gallon drums carried on a pickup truck. This method of operation was cumbersome and somewhat less that efficient. Our new arrangement makes for greater economy, a smoother operation and a more efficient use of fire apparatus, particularly at large fires.
We plan to equip our garage-on-wheels with a cascade system for filling self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders, a cutting torch, a device for flush-cleaning apparatus motors, and other equipment as the need and availability arise.