Follow the manufacturers’ lead & design ergonomically correct hosebeds
Story & Photos by Bob Vaccaro
It’s been a couple years since I touched on the subject of fire apparatus hosebeds, so I thought it was time for an update. If you visit some of the fire service conference exhibit halls, you’ll notice an interesting phenomenon: More and more fire departments, along with just about all of the fire apparatus manufacturers, are starting to design their apparatus with ergonomically correct hosebeds.
Basically, lower hosebeds are becoming the norm in the industry. I find it interesting that after all of these years of breaking of backs climbing up the back of the apparatus to reach hoselines, we’re only now starting to see the light. The result will be fewer back injuries, fewer falls from the apparatus and easier repacking of hose after an alarm.
It all makes sense to me. Unfortunately, change is slow in the fire service, especially when it comes to safety issues. We always seem to be reactive instead of proactive.
Over the past several years, the NFPA, along with all of the fire apparatus manufacturers, has been doing a great job making fire apparatus safer. However, it’s up to you to design into your specs features like low hosebeds. Tank size, ladder racks and equipment storage are other areas that must be dealt with, but for the most part, just about every manufacturer out there seems to have designed a vehicle that makes the grade when it comes to lower hosebeds.
As you’ll see in the photos, most of the apparatus have high baffle boards that can be easily adjusted for different types and size of hose loads. And most of the hosebeds I’ve seen are deep so they can carry a big load. Just some things to consider when writing your specs.
Bob Vaccaro has more than 30 years of fire-service experience. He is a former chief of the Deer Park (N.Y.) Fire Department. Vaccaro has also worked for the Insurance Services Office, The New York Fire Patrol and several major commercial insurance companies as a senior loss-control consultant.