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Month: December 2020

2022 Guide to Purchasing Your Next Fire Apparatus

Blog banner with a gallery of BME fire trucks

Purchasing a new fire truck for your department can be a daunting task. From determining your department’s needs, meeting with manufacturers, planning apparatus specifications, and securing financial support from your community’s apparatus committee.

Let’s discuss ways to ensure you’ve covered all your bases before purchasing your department’s next apparatus.

Determining Your Department’s NeedsInfographic on how to purchase a new fire truck

Before purchasing a new apparatus, your department needs to assess your extensive needs.

These needs include:

  • Replace an aging apparatus
  • Modernize fire department fleet
  • Increase operator/occupant safety
  • Acquire features and functions not available on older apparatus
  • Increase reliability/reduce downtime
  • Reduce annual operating costs

“In my opinion, the key to acquiring any vehicle is acquiring the right one for the job and intended purpose. This might seem like a simple concept; however, any vehicle acquisition will be unsuccessful if the final product does not fulfill its intended mission from an operational, cost, safety, and acceptance standpoint,” said John Clements, manager, fleet operations San Diego County Fire Department.

Biding

It is important to have an open and competitive bidding process. You want to ensure that your department will purchase a quality apparatus that meets your needs and price. The bidding process begins with creating a specification document. 

Prepare the Document

The specification document entails what products your department is looking for. This document will help choose the right and cost-efficient manufacturer for the job. 

Choosing the Right Manufacturer

Choosing the right truck and manufacturer is half the battle. The type of disasters your department faces and the region you are located in should be considered when choosing your next fire truck manufacturer

For example, BME specializes in wildland vehicles, manufacturing apparatus for rural departments that respond to brush and wildfires: CAL FIRE, BLM, USFS, etc. 

Apparatus Committee

The cost associated with purchasing a new apparatus can be high, especially for more rural departments. This can make it difficult to justify to policymakers, especially if they fail to realize the total value of rescue vehicles. 

Fire chiefs and administrators need to have a cost-benefit analysis, such as maintenance costs, that can be used to back their investment in purchasing new mobile equipment. 

Pre-Construction Meeting

One part of the purchasing process is the pre-construction conference, which allows the department heads to view the construction of the new apparatus before being built. The pre-construction meeting is where all vehicle details are reviewed and provides the opportunity to determine final design configurations for dashboard, cab seating, pump panel, and interior body compartments.  

Pre-construction conferences are typically held at the manufacturer’s plant, where the department heads will have the ability to tour the facility.  This allows the buyer access to the multiple engineering and support personnel responsible for producing your new apparatus.

Final Inspection

A final factory apparatus inspection represents many months, if not years, of planning, communicating, and negotiation. Keep a running list of discrepancies or questions as you go through the inspection. As you review the apparatus and find concerns, make sure you write them down and discuss them with your representative at the end of each inspection session. 

Conclusion

Purchasing a new apparatus for your department is no easy task, but choosing the right manufacturer can make the process easier. 

BME Fire Trucks opened its doors in 1990 and has been serving the fire industry and firefighters for 30 years. We are dedicated to providing customers with individualized design options and exceptional craftsmanship with the highest safety standards and best durability in the market. We understand that fire and rescue departments face special challenges related to their unique environments, so we are committed to innovating to make better fire trucks that exceed your expectations. 

BME Galvanic Corrosion Investigation Report

Custom Chassis

Rumors have circulated that BME’s fire apparatuses have product quality issues in maintaining corrosion resistance over the life of the apparatus. We take these claims seriously and seek to provide our customers with honest answers. These concerns are, however, baseless as BME has been providing top quality apparatuses to our many clients for over 30 years. Our commitment to quality without compromise has no limits, giving you the confidence to focus on the work that matters. We design from the ground up with tough corrosion problems in mind, through our attention to detail and insistence on quality.

In designing our fire apparatuses, our engineers consider the worst case to ensure the safety and reliability of the trucks you depend on. From using compatible metals in the design of the frame to following industry protocols in separating metal parts with tape or gaskets, we treat corrosion prevention on our frames with great care. Through an independent verification of the steps we take to prevent corrosion, it was found that our trucks go beyond the necessary precautions to ensure the reliability of their construction.

As is the BME way, we take no shortcuts in making sure your truck will be the best your money can buy in all facets of safety, reliability, and functionality. The rumors of corrosion issues in our products are not consistent with our commitment to quality, nor the reality of our practice. Feel free to download the full engineering report below to learn more.

Stainless Steel Plumbing
Seven Step Process
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