Article Archive
Fire Truck Review
Industrial firefighters got a close look at the best available specialized apparatus at this year's IFW Expo in Baton Rouge.
Vol 21 No 5


American LaFrance is no stranger to industrial fire fighting, said Kirk Gieler, general manager for the company's Gulf Coast divi-sion. The company brought a 100 foot rear mounted aerial platfoam to the IFW Conference and Exposition.

"A lot of refineries will utilize this vehicle for industrial fire fighting by using its elevated master streams," Gieler said. "It has a 2,000 gpm pump and 2,000 gpm dual deck guns. This type of vehicle is used to get into remote areas of the refinery where the fire brigade may not have master streams already in place."

Introduced in 2003, American LaFrance's new, larger platform features the latest safety and security controls, along with excellent ergonomics and operational flexibility. It's biggest advantage is the multi-location mounting panel for the aerial function controls. With this feature, the platform operator can now move aerial controls between three different mounting locations. This ensures a full view of the situation without having to reposition the ladder. The versatility of this feature will prove to be an invaluable asset during operations.

Another advantage of the American LaFrance platform is the improved nozzle coverage. Each deck gun has a true 90-degree turning angle to either side that provides full 180-degree water coverage without having to reposition the platform.

Safety features include a four-position safety bar and corner gates that lock positively for a secure handrail. These gates close automatically and use an NFPA-compliant, positive latch. A stainless steel heat shield reflects heat away from crewmembers, providing an increased level of safety and comfort.

Additionally, the platform has more storage space and a larger interior and exterior deck. There are 7.6 cubic feet of easily accessible compartment space, ideal for storing air masks, hoses, axes and rescue stretcher arms. The 19 square feet of interior space promote better traffic flow and ease of movement for four crewmembers and equipment. The exterior deck features angled corners that allow the platform to be moved in close proximity to the target area. This area also provides 10 square feet of additional workspace for personnel movement.

Their new aerial platform is modular by design. In-field replacement of components facilitates repair and lessens down time in case of damage. Crewmembers also have access to monitor override controls from inside the platform, allowing monitor and water flow to be repositioned in the event of an electrical problem.

The American LaFrance aerial platform permits the attachment of high angle rescue equipment by utilizing the twin rescue arms that have a combined capacity of 500 pounds. The rescue ladder also mounts on the right or the left side of the platform, allowing for below-grade and building parapet access from the platform.


Crash Rescue, based in Dallas, builds specialty equipment. Famous for the Snozzle, an articulated and telescoping boom with a pierc-ing nozzle tip, Crash Rescue has made a big impact in aircraft rescue and fire fighting. As a fire apparatus, the Snozzle definitely has an application in industrial fire fighting, said Sarah O'Conner, product manager for Crash Rescue.

On display in Baton Rouge was the Hydra-Sword,,a 65 foot, elevated water tower with rotating base. This light weight, telescoping and articulating system provides aggressive quick attack features that allow fire fighting operations to begin immediately instead of the time delay associated with set-up and positioning of large aerial devices.

The Hydra-Sword is classified by industry standards as a water tower. While the Hydra-Sword meets or exceeds NFPA requirements for an elevated water tower, it does much more than elevate a master stream. The Hydra-Sword is an initial attack tool that offers a more effective way of protecting people and property.

It has an installed weight of less then 5,000 lbs. The weight is better distributed with about 1/3 on the front axle and 2/3 on the rear axle. Conventional aerial devices weigh up to twice as much and have the majority of the weight on the rear axle. The Hydra-Sword simple 4-point frame mounting does not require a torque box or extensive vehicle frame modification.

With a midship mount, the Hydra-Sword allows you to keep all the important features of your standard pumper design. The hose bed is not restricted, full size rear compartments are retained and larger water tank capacities are available.

Rapid remote controls are standard allowing easy access by the pump operator. The Hydra-Sword utilizes joystick controls for boom and nozzle functions. The smooth joystick response allows the operator to quickly position either the boom or the nozzle without fumbling with multiple toggle switches or levers.

The Hydra-Sword utilizes a state of the art volume and pressure compensated hydraulic pump along with proportional hydraulic controls. Full speed boom positioning is possible without the need for an engine fast idle control. All nozzle positions and many boom functions can be initiated without time delay of setting outriggers or leveling the vehicle.

Both articulating and telescoping booms are utilized in Hydra-Sword. This versatile combination allows the Hydra-Sword to be positioned where no other water tower can reach. It can be elevated and placed into small window openings, in narrow alleys, between power lines or trees and maneuvered around most obstacles. It can also be placed down to 15 feet below ground level to reach over embankments. Ground level positioning is possible 360 degrees around the vehicle allowing the Hydra-Sword to be used like a portable deck gun without lengthy set-up and hose connections.

The Hydra-Sword offers two remote controlled nozzles allowing the operator to direct fire fighting streams from two different positions and elevations simultaneously. Combined flow of 1500gpm is available. Also, the Hydra-Sword can be equipped with a high resolution color camera enclosed in a weather resistant protective housing that moves in conjunction with nozzle rotation. This allows the pump operator to direct the water flow and can be used in size up or search and rescue operations. An Infrared camera is available that can penetrate smoke and detect heat sources in low visibility, a valuable tool to find hidden fire or to help locate victims.


The advent of one percent AFFF foam is already making a big differ-ence in the size of foam tanks being specified for new pumpers, said Terry Planck, E-One sales manager for industrial apparatus.

"Foam is the big change domestically," Planck said. "It has cut down on the carrying capacity you need on board each truck. The customer is actually driving this change. That's what they're asking for."

Prompting this latest evolution in truck design has been Williams Fire & Hazard Control's introduction of a new alcohol-resistant AFFF firefighting foam agent called ThunderStorm(TM) 1x3 ATC. The foam concentrate is designed for use on polar solvent type fuels at a 3% proportioning rate, and for hydrocarbon fuels at a 1% proportioning rate.

"One percent foam has been critical in bring down the size of the trucks," Planck said.

Internationally, where customers are still using three and six percent foam, the tank sizes remain large, he said.

"It's just the prevailing mindset there,"Planck said. "One percent is available. We need to help them realize that one percent foam together with Hydrochem technology can help them improve their capacity."

E-One builds industrial pumpers with pump capacities up to 5,000 gpm when operating off a pressurized hydrant system, and with foam attack capabilities up to 1,000 gallons. Because E-One uses high-strength aluminum for their cabs and bodies, the pumpers are lightweight and are also highly resistant to corrosion from salt air found near ocean harbors.

E-One and Williams F&HC have had a long standing commercial relationship. E-One pumpers can be equipped with Williams F&HC Hot Shot foam proportioning system and the Williams F&HC Ambassador manual- or remote-controlled monitors. The Ambassador monitor nozzle is capable of projecting an effective stream of either water or a foam-and-water mixture to a height of more than 220 feet. It can also discharge a dry chemical suppressant into the stream.

Built on a 6x6 chassis, the E-One pumper shown at the IFW Expo carries 2,000 gallons of water or foam. It is also equipped with a Hale 8FG pump. When driven by a 430 hp (320.65 kilowatt) truck engine, the 8FG has an NFPA pump rating of 2,500 gpm (9,500 lpm) when pumping from draft. It can produce more than 3,800 gpm (14,440 lpm) when pumping from a hydrant under optimum conditions. If driven by a 500 hp (372.85 kilowatt) truck engine, the 8FG NFPA rating will be 3,000 gpm (11,400 lpm) from draft and more than 4,600 gpm (17,480 lpm) from a hydrant.

The truck is also capable of carrying 500 pounds of dry chemical.

Another E-One advantage is a hydraulic rescue tool system capable of operating three tools simultaneously. The POWER MAX system is modular and can be designed to operate three, four or six hydraulic tools connected through multiple hose reels. Each tool operates independently and can be deployed, started, stopped and disconnected without affecting the other tools. That means maximum power and speed for each tool, no matter how many tools are in operation.

"It's like a large hydraulic power pump for your rescue tools," Planck said.


Martin Apparatus, dealer for Pierce Manufacturing in eastern and northern Texas and throughout Louisiana, brought a Pierce fire truck to IFW that was destined for the Shell Oil refinery in Deer Park, TX, immediately after the exposition.

"We wanted to show off an actual customer's truck," said Alan Huelsebusch, sales representative for Martin Apparatus. "This was a good opportunity."

Built on a Lance chassis, the industrial foam pumper comes complete with a 515 HP Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, a Husky 300 foam system, Hale 8FG - 3,000 gpm pump, 1,100 gallon foam tank and 250-gallon water tank. The pumper has a Command Zone advanced electronics system, enclosed top mount control and 10-inch inlet and 10-inch discharge. The truck has foam capabilities to each discharge.

"This truck has impressive plumbing, with the 10-inch inlets and discharges Shell uses," Huelsebusch said.

The Husky Industrial Foam System discharges 5,000 gpm while using 6-percent foam concentrate to handle large-scale fire suppression at oil refineries, chemical plants, and petrochemical complexes. It's foam pump has a capacity of up to 300 gpm.

The backbone of the system is a patent-pending, digitally controlled foam proportioning system that can respond rapidly and accurately to changes in water pressure and water flow. Regardless of changes in water pressure, it automatically provides consistent, reliable foam proportioning. Operation is a simple, five-step process. The firefighter engages the water pump, opens the foam supply valve, engages the foam pump, then selects the foam percentage for each discharge.

The system simplifies clean-up operations after use as well. Each discharge outlet features its own metering valve, so the operator needs to flush only the discharge lines used. Stainless steel plumbing is standard for increased longevity and corrosion resistance.

For additional fire-suppression capability, Pierce industrial foam pumpers can be equipped with the Hercules compressed air foam system, and manual and remote-controlled deck monitors with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 gpm. Also available is a full line of aerial devices, including 75-foot and 100-foot aerial ladders, 85-foot and 100-foot platforms, a Sky-Boom elevated water boom and a Snozzle elevated waterway.

Huelsebusch agrees that industrial customers are moving to one percent foam. However, that has meant little as far as reducing the tank size.

"Everybody still wants to carry as much as they can," he said.


P: (979) 690-7559
F: (979) 690-7562

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