INSIDE THE APPARATUS INDUSTRY
If you’re going to shell out that much cash for an apparatus, then don’t forget to plan out your tool-mounting needsStory & Photos by Bob Vaccaro
Nothing gets me more aggravated than seeing a $500,000 engine or $1 million-plus ladder truck with tools and equipment just thrown into compartments. It seems to me that if you can afford to lay down this much cash for an apparatus, then you should be able to plan for tool mounting to go with it.
When speccing out your new apparatus, most manufacturers will either mount the equipment for you right at the factory or have the local dealer mount it for you at their service center. If you have your own in-house mechanic, you can probably save some money by purchasing the mounting brackets and having it done locally at your fire station.
There are several manufacturers that specialize in tool- and equipment-mounting hardware. Ziamatic, Sensible Products, PAC Tools and GearGrid are a few companies that come to mind.
In addition, how about doing some pre-planning homework to plan out each and every compartment and decide what tools will be mounted and how on each vehicle? The specs should include the type of compartment space and the type of shelving. Should you have slide-out trays, slide-out and drop-down trays or just standard adjustable shelves? Only you and your apparatus committee can decide what’s right for you.
The best way to get some great ideas for tool mounting is to attend one of the fire service shows around the country. You can view other departments’ vehicles to gain some insight. Nobody’s going to fault you if you steal an idea or two. Visiting one of the apparatus manufacturers’ factories during a pre-construction conference is another way to get ideas from other departments whose vehicles are currently under construction.
In any case, look around, request some catalogs from the above-listed companies and see what they have to offer.
I’ve included some photos that show various tool-mounting products and proper placement of rescue cutting tools, hand tools, engine company equipment and various types of shelving and slide-out tool boards.
Remember: Proper planning is the way to go when designing the right tool-mounting features for your apparatus compartments.
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. Vaccaro is a life member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
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