Squad Truck Need Filled By Rebuilding Pumper

Squad Truck Need Filled By Rebuilding Pumper

Faced with the prospect of buying an expensive squad apparatus, the Packanack Lake Fire and Emergency Squad No. 5 of Wayne, N.J., looked for an alternative-and found it. Packanack Lake converted its 1960 American LaFrance 1000-gpm pumper to meet its requirements for a squad.

The first step toward the conversion started unknowingly in early 1972 when Packanack Lake Fire and Emergency Squad, under the command of Chief James R. Thompson, initiated a study to update its fire apparatus and to project its probable needs. This led to the appointment of a committee to set up a master plan for the department. The committee consisted of Thomas V. Bergen as engineering chief for apparatus construction and assistant Chief William H. Butler as communications coordinator for radio and field communications facilities.

Conversion approved

After the committee studied an apparatus replacement program, it was decided to update the squad concept originated in Wayne years ago. A study showed that it would take at least two years to obtain a suitable chassis for the proposed apparatus and that the cost would be extremely high. An evaluation was then made to determine if the 1960 pumper couldn’t be converted reasonably and effectively. The idea became a reality late last year when the proposal was approved.

In converting the pumper to a squad, the cab was enclosed and the apparatus was painted lime yellow with a white top. The old hose bed was replaced by a 12-foot-long compartmented closed body. The squad still has the original 300-gallon booster tank and pump, but a mattydale hose bed for two 200-foot l 1/2-inch lines was built over the pump. Another mattydale hose bed was installed for 600 feet of 2½-inch hose. For emergency lighting, the squad carries a 35-kw generator and four side-mounted floodlights.

Communications capability

Other features of this vehicle are two four-channel radio transceivers mounted within the closed body and separate from the apparatus radio. These provide greater flexibility and higher quality field communications service for at least 12 northern New Jersey areas. The squad will serve as a field control center for fire, police and other emergency services during fires and floods or other disasters. In the rear of the apparatus is a set of telescoping aluminum poles that slide out to support a 12-foot enclosed canopy to further enhance the command post feature. The squad also can carry 15 air cylinders for breathing apparatus. A full assortment of power and manual rescue tools also are carried.

Packanack Lake's 1000-gpm pumper before it was converted to the squad truck below.

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