When choosing between a straight ladder and a platform for your next fire apparatus, you may have a lot of questions. Which is safer? Which is cheaper? And what are the regulations that guide which you can choose? Let’s take a look at how to choose between a straight ladder and a platform when considering an aerial fire truck and how your choice can benefit your department and your community. Continue reading “Straight Ladder vs. Aerial Platform: Which is Right for Your Department?” »
Deciding which lights are best for your emergency vehicle may be something you haven’t ever considered before. You know that your lighting should be visible, bright, and durable, but which kind of lighting does that best? Don’t worry- we’ll go over the pros and cons for the most popular forms of lighting your for emergency vehicle and determine which would be best for your department.
Halogen emergency lights
Halogen bulbs are the closest thing to a traditional light bulb, working by using halogen gas to ignite a filament, which lights up the bulb. They are the oldest bulb of the three, being used in emergency vehicles the longest.
- Halogen bulbs are most often the cheapest form of lighting in terms of raw materials, offering a cost-effective lighting solution.
- Halogen bulbs also produce a warm, familiar light that is bright without being blinding. These bulbs also do not produce a glare for others, making it safer by not limiting the vision of fellow drivers on the road.
- The biggest energy draw of all of these forms of lighting is from the halogen bulb, pulling the most energy from the vehicle itself. The bulbs are not energy efficient either, as about 95% of their energy is wasted in producing light.
- The lifespan of halogen bulbs is the shortest as well. Due to the fragile state of the filament, it can blow out in as few as 1,000 hours. The bulb itself is fragile as well and can be broken easily.
Emergency strobe lights
Strobe lights are flashtubes that are filled with the gas xenon and require a power source to work, usually a capacitor. When the xenon is ionized by the electric components in the tube, it produces a plasma that is seen as a bright flash.
- Strobe lights have the benefit of being very bright and can be seen from a good distance away. This makes drives safer for your emergency vehicle and gives other vehicles plenty of notice to get out of the way.
- Strobe lights are less expensive than LEDs, and the tubes themselves have a life of about six months. The power source itself has a life of about two years, lasting even longer.
- These lights are equally as bad in terms of energy draw. The intense heat caused by strobe lights has been known to melt parts of vehicles in some cases.
- Seizures can be triggered by strobe lights for those who are epileptic. The International Association of Fire Fighters’ Best Practices report shows research that advises not to use strobe lights for this reason, along with the eye strain and distraction experienced by those who are around these lights.
LED emergency lights
LEDs are light emitting diodes that work with driver electronics to produce a bright light. LED light comes in a variety of colors and is by far the most popular light used in emergency vehicles.
- These lights are by far the most energy efficient of the bunch and have a minimal energy draw on the emergency vehicle itself
- LEDs have the longest lifespan of any of the other lights, typically lasting more than 70,000 hours at a time.
- LEDs are also exceptionally rugged. Where strobe tubes or halogen bulbs can be easily shattered, LEDs are more likely to withstand the elements.
- The light given off by LEDs is far more bright and clear than other lights, offering absolutely no glare to other vehicles.
- There is a minor safety hazard if you live in a colder area, as LEDs do not get hot enough to melt snow. This means that ice or snow accumulation will have to be cleared on your own.
- Initially, LEDs are more expensive. However, when considering the cost of replacing other lights more frequently and the costs associated with energy consumption, LED lights are actually far cheaper in the long term.
Ultimately, the benefits of LEDs outweigh any risk. Most especially since most emergency vehicles are transitioning to LED, it would benefit your department to adapt sooner rather than later. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient, long-lasting solution to your emergency vehicle, look no further than LED lights.
In today’s fiscal climate of tight municipal budgets, there is often less money for new fire apparatus. This trend has led many fire departments to turn to multifunctional fire trucks, as opposed to traditional specialty rescue and fire apparatus, in an attempt to cut costs.
For example, a quality rescue pumper generally provides all of the Class A fire suppression capability of a traditional pumper, along with the extrication ability of a rescue, all in a single rig.
But is a multifunctional vehicle the right choice for your department? Here are some crucial considerations to guide your decision when buying fire trucks. Continue reading “Rescue Pumper vs. Pumper: Should You Go with a Multipurpose Fire Apparatus?” »
Having the right foam systems for your fire apparatus is essential to your department’s ability to do its job in protecting your community.
Whether you’re upgrading an existing apparatus, or deciding on specifications for a new fire truck, there are different criteria you must consider in evaluating the pros and cons of different foam systems for fire fighting.
To help you out, here are some important things to keep in mind when you’re selecting a foam system for your apparatus. Continue reading “Tips for Evaluating Fire Fighting Foam Systems” »
You may already understand the importance of conducting regular fire truck maintenance.
But have you remembered to check the air conditioning system?
Don’t wait until the dog days of summer to find out if the air conditioning works! Early spring is a great time of year to have your fire apparatus air conditioner inspected and complete any needed repairs. Continue reading “Is Air Conditioning Equipment Part of Your Fire Apparatus Maintenance Plan?” »
When is the last time your department ran a fire pump test on your apparatus? Did you know it should be done at least once per year?
Amazingly, many fire departments have never tested their fire pumps and many firefighters have never operated or witnessed a fire pump performance test.
This is one mistake that can have tragic consequences. An actual fire emergency is not the time to find out if you have discharge or relief valves that don’t work, primers not working, or valves or gauges leaking. Continue reading “The Importance of Annual Fire Apparatus Pump Testing” »