ASK ERNIE Fall 2012

”The Apparatus Maintenance Expert”

CarolinaFireJournal -

10/05/2012 -

Why are some fire trucks not red?

Fire apparatus can be any color of the rainbow. The decision usually revolves around local historical values. For example, a pumper in Coalville might be expected to be black with maybe silver leaf trim; a pumper in Grapeville might be expected to be purple or a purple/leaf green two-tone. FAA requirements point to fire ARFF/CFR units to be lime green color.


When and why do I need to get my truck weighed?

NFPA 1901 and NFPA 1911 require that emergency response fire apparatus be weighed annually and no GAWR, GVWR, and GCWR be allowed to be overweight as it pertains to the components of tire, wheel, axle, suspension or frame as indicated by the weight tag posted in the driver’s compartment. Also, there shall be no more than a seven percent variation from side-to-side.

Disc brakes or drum brakes — that is the question.

Not only is that the question, it has always been the question since the invention of disc brakes in heavier vehicles, both air and hydraulic actuated disc brakes. In both custom and commercial fire apparatus chassis it has been at the discretion of the end user and those writing the specifications. It all revolves around the area of response, environment, the expertise of service personnel, parts availability, and component reliability. Local choices resulted in either all drum brakes, all disc brakes, or a combination of both disc and drum brakes. All may be about to change due to new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards mandates that shorten the stopping distance requirements by a substantial amount.

Currently, all brake system manufacturers indicate that the new style disc brake
systems may be the ONLY
systems that will be able to provide satisfactory results. The jury is out, but the mandate is quickly approaching. Keep an eye on the trucking magazines for updates.

When mounting equipment in the cab what are the regulations per NFPA?

All equipment in the cab must be secured in place and be capable of a 9G impact force without flying free. New mandates call for the removal of firefighting helmets while the vehicle is in motion. All helmets must be secured so as not to become flying projectiles during an accident or incident.

Any new NFPA changes around the corner for 2012?

NFPA 1911, 2012 Edition has several changes. A new feature of the NFPA documents is that when revisions or new items are included, a vertical line next to the new title or sub-title will indicate that there is a change in the document. The aerial section has the most changes of any section. The most prominent is the change in the visual inspection, torque validation and NDT testing of the frame-to-suspension fasteners. The change is to “visually” inspect the fasteners: bolts, rivets, or welds. A new mandate is to now inspect the mounting for the cradle rest-to-frame. If bolted, the fasteners must have the torque values validated and the NDT must be performed at the five year interval.

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