Rebuilding for Safety
With dollars hard to come by, rebuilding your apparatus can be an excellent alternative to purchasing a new one, as this Wisconsin fire department found out.
WITH THE ADVENT of NFPA 1500 and the general concern in the fire service for apparatus and response safety, many smaller departments across the country are looking for alternatives to the high cost of replacing apparatus. One such cost-effective solution is rebuilding or refurbishing the apparatus to extend its life and to improve upon safety features for the firefighters who ride in it.
The City of Schofield, Wisconsin Fire Department wanted to do just that— both improve safety and upgrade its pumper. Since the city council could not afford a new pumper, the decision was made to rebuild the 11 -year-old unit, which had a tank leakage problem, pump piping seal leakages, and spring breakage, and was showing signs of normal wear.
Specifications were written in a “menu” form, with each individual concern priced separately. This made it easy for Schofield’s chief to pick items on a priority basis and still be responsible to the taxpayers. The main priorities were replacement of the leaking tank, improved riding areas for firefighters, pump overhaul, engine and transmission overhaul, improved light and sound warning devices, and a complete factory paint job.
The eleven-year-old apparatus…
Since the unit is the frontline pumper for the community, down time was an important consideration. The firm that was awarded the bid for the project provided a reserve pumper during the reconstruction time.
The final project specifications included the following, at approximately two-thirds less what it would have cost to buy a similar new unit:
- new 1,000-gallon water tank;
- enclosed crew-area outward-facing seats with SCBA mounts (this area meets the NFPA 1500 sound levels);
- crew-area heater;
- enclosed pump and heater;
- new gauges on a new tilt-out panel;
- new pump seals, valve seals, and transfer valve, and pump recertification;
- new hose bed layout and cover;
- aluminum treadplate crosslay covers;
- new battery area (trayed under front bumper);
- new paint job and reflective striping;
- new light bar and side lighting;
- federal Q siren added (refurbished);
- all engine hoses, belts, spark plugs, wiring, and fluids replaced, and complete tune-up;
- new vehicle wiring;
- original treadplate cleaned and polished;
- new springs;
- new air-brake dryer system;
- new weather stripping on all cabinet and chassis doors;
- warranty on all work, with a 10year guarantee on the tank.
For information, contact the author at Monroe Fire Department, 1114-18th Avenue, Monroe, WI 53566, or Custom Fire Apparatus, Airport Road, P.O. Box 577, Osceola, WI 54020
…rebuilt for safety.