What Improvements in Apparatus Do Fire Chiefs Want?
Four Hundred Fire Department Heads Suggest Changes Which They Consider Most Essential
IN answer to the question, “What, in your opinion, is the most needed improvement in fire apparatus design?” approximately four hundred Fire Chiefs offered their recommendations, which are summed up in the table herewith.
Probably the most interesting disclosure is the number who feel that closed bodies on fire trucks are the most essential improvement to be made in apparatus. Out of the 400 who answered the question, 112 considered closed bodies of first importance.
Thirty believed that cabs to enclose the drivers and officers, or the drivers and some of the men, would answer the need. Seven others felt that better protection for the men riding on apparatus was essential, but did not suggest the manner in which such improved protection might be obtained.
As might lie expected, quite a large number saw the need for four wheel brakes on fire apparatus.
There seems also to be a growing feeling in fire service that a shorter wheel base and less overall length is necessary in present day fire apparatus ; also better ability to maneuver in cramped spaces.
Booster tanks of larger capacity were considered most essential by seventeen Chiefs, while eleven felt that all triple combination cars should carry booster tanks.
An analysis of the comments on ladder trucks would indicate that the all-metal, power raised aerial ladders are here to stay. Some felt that ladders should be longer than at present, preferably 100 feet, and several preferred the three-section rather than the two-section ladders.
So mounting of portable ladders on ladder trucks that they might be taken off the side of the ladder truck was recommended by two Chiefs, while one suggested the development of three section metal ground extension ladders.
Many suggestions were made regarding the equipment and design of pumpers. The use of multiple cylinder engines direct connected to centrifugal pumps; smaller trucks built along plans similar to larger pumpers for answering suburban runs; pumps so designed that discharge ports are brought to rear of the apparatus; the use of diesel engines for pumping units, and swivel connections to facilitate quick hook-up were some of the recommendations.
One Chief made the novel suggestion that pumpers be equipped with removable hose beds to facilitate loading the extra shift of hose on the truck upon return from the fire.
Of course, many felt that such improvements should be made to apparatus as to bring its cost down, though no concrete ideas were advanced as to how this might be accomplished.
The suggestions in the table afford food for thought, and it is possible that some of them may eventually find their way into general use.