What Does the Alliance with Pierce Manufacturing Mean?

People have been asking, “What does this mean?”

There is not a simple answer, but at BME the changes mean the following:

1. Collaboration and R&D between two companies and firefighters to design and develop state-of-the-art wildland chassis, including custom Type 3 engines.

2. Decreased wait time on custom parts and better access to all parts.

3. Manufacturing support in multiple locations across the United States.

4. Implementing a dealer network will provide increased customer support, a better understanding of specific department’s needs, and the ability to manufacture high-quality fire apparatus.

5. Lower costs over time through improved efficiencies, better purchasing, and smarter designs.

6. Better focus on what BME does best — which is building wildland fire trucks. BME will be able to focus more on supply chain issues, schedule, quality, customer builds and getting engines out the door.

7. Government and contract sales: we will always be there to make sure we provide high-quality apparatus at an affordable price.

8. Increased warranty and better maintenance on the apparatus we provide. We will continue to push forward with our 20-year body warranty and enhance plumbing and paint warranties.

What won’t change:

1. BME leadership, quality, and customer service will not change. We will still take customer calls, answer technical questions, and serve our customers.

2. We will not cut quality or our desire to build the best wildland apparatus on the market.

3. Small departments will not be forgotten. We will be here to meet your needs and we will continue to provide products you can afford to purchase, maintain, and utilize for many years in the future.

4. Being in the alliance with Pierce will not change who we are. BME is the same company. By joining with Pierce there will be added benefits, as listed above.

We look forward to working with all our current and future clients while continuing to grow the BME family. We invite you to watch what happens over the next 12 months and our continued innovation of building the best wildland apparatus on the market. 

BME Joins Strategic Alliance with Pierce Manufacturing

BME Fire Trucks and Pierce Manufacturing

Boise, ID (September 16, 2021) – BME Fire Trucks announced today that it has entered into a strategic alliance with Pierce Manufacturing Inc. This alliance will facilitate greater collaboration between BME and Pierce within the wildland market. BME will be moving from a factory-direct model to an independent dealer distribution model, which will provide new and existing BME customers with comprehensive service, parts inventory, and support.


BME has served fire and emergency professionals for over thirty years and is considered a premier wildland apparatus manufacturer. Manufacturing apparatus for CAL FIRE, BLM, USFS, and municipal fire departments.


“BME prides itself with being a leader in the wildland apparatus market,” said Chad Moffat, president of BME Fire Trucks.“We believe our alliance with Pierce will enhance our ability to create and develop better products, provide accessible service, and create more opportunities for our customers in the future.”


BME wildland products are renowned for equipping firefighters with durable, safe, and high-quality apparatus. BME’s reputation has a rich history of innovation and advanced mobility solutions for addressing harsh wildland environments, which complements Pierce Manufacturing and its manufacturing practices.


“This is an important day for both Pierce and BME customers,” said Jim Johnson, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president, and president, Fire & Emergency. “We understand that fire and rescue departments face special challenges related to wildland environments. With this investment, Pierce will work with BME to provide the best possible wildland offerings to meet these unique challenges.”


About BME Fire Trucks

BME Fire Trucks was founded in 1990 and changed ownership in 2014, growing over 1000% and becoming the leading wildland manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include water tenders, tactical tenders, crew carriers, and wildland-urban interface engines. To learn more about BME, visit www.bmefire.com.

Read more about the alliance with Pierce Manufacturing. 

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.


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. 


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

BME Fire Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary

BME Fire 30 Year Anniversary

Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) 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 on the market. No other fire truck manufacturer offers our flexibility in creating the perfect custom fire apparatus to fit your needs. We understand that fire and rescue departments face special challenges related to their unique environments, so we are committed to designing better fire trucks that will perform as you need them to perform. Our 30 years of experience enables us to both meet and exceed your expectations.

Growth and Support

boise mobile equipment

As a small family-run company, we believe in treating our clients as one of our own, from our initial meeting to thirty years down the line. We are dedicated and proud to build lifesaving equipment; nothing is more rewarding than seeing our apparatus perform in the field. 

We know that each apparatus we build plays a role in wildland firefighting efforts, but ultimately it’s the firefighters who put in the hard work, risking their lives to protect communities and wildland day in and day out. For this reason we are invested in the safety and experiences of each individual department in our wildland community. We strive to improve apparatus, manufacturing processes, and the way we interact with each member of the BME family.

We would like to personally thank each employee, department, and agency that has contributed to the growth of Boise Mobile Equipment. Without the dedicated personnel behind BME, we wouldn’t be the company that we are today! 

30 Years Dedicated

It is not common to have an employee stay with a company since its inception, we are fortunate to have three individuals that have been with us since day one! 7,835+ working days, numerous won contracts, new ownership, and 1,626 fire trucks later, three BME employees have shown what 30 years dedicated looks like.

Sharon Sherbert

bme fire chad moffat

Hard work, loyalty and diligence are all qualities that Sharon Sherbert possesses. Having been the main accountant for Boise Mobile Equipment since 1990, she has seen and experienced the growth that propelled us into the company we are today. As one of the nicest and most caring people at BME, you can bet that Sharon will always be there to help you when needed. We have developed a strong appreciation for Sharon’s work ethic, she takes hard work to a whole new level! She is starting to convince us that you can eat, sleep, breathe and live BME. 

Finding a good bookkeeper is important but finding a person who you completely trust is another undertaking. Sharon is honest, reliable, never waivers in her integrity and looks out for BME every single day. She has invested her time, care and love into this company, treating it as her child for the last 30 years. We are grateful that Sharon is a part of this company and for the impact that she makes every single day. Most people around BME don’t see the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that Sharon has given to make this company successful. Thank you for everything that you have done and all that you continue to give Sharon!

Larry Segreto

Larry Segreto BME Fire

Larry has been a consistent and constant force behind BME since he initially pitched the idea of building wildland fire apparatus to Mr. Yanke in 1990. Without Larry’s background in government and extensive industry knowledge we wouldn’t have an army of sea foam green fire trucks with our plaque/logos on the back defending our nation’s forests. With his kind, friendly and humorous demeanor, Larry has built relationships that have allowed BME as a company to survive through some difficult times. Larry has evolved with BME, stepping into new roles and doing an outstanding job in each position over the last 30 years. 

Known for making things happen and going the extra mile to make his clients feel special, Larry is truly an asset to BME. We have become reliant on his never ending fountain of knowledge to educate, inform, train, and motivate us to keep striving toward our common end goal. His field experience has made him invaluable to BME on new product development and understanding how our engines are used in the field. Larry is the best trainer and tour guide at BME, he can make just about anything fun and exciting with his stories and infectious laugh.  Larry has helped BME become the company it is today and we are very appreciative of his dedication to the job. Thank you Larry!

Mark Todd

fire truck salesman

Going above and beyond the call of duty, Mark is dedicated to the concept of doing “Whatever it Takes” to make our fire apparatus the best on the market and leaving our clients satisfied. Mark has played an integral part in the growth of BME; from working on the floor, moving into parts and now running our engineering department, he is one of our most valuable employees. He has shown flexibility and been a constant team player working on each project where he is needed no matter the complexity. His willingness to tackle any challenge, additional time commitment and a positive attitude really show Mark’s dedication to BME.

Mark displays creative problem solving skills on a daily basis, even when we push him to his limits where things aren’t typically possible. For BME, Mark makes them possible and solves the problem! For the Star Trek fans out there, Mark would be our Scotty, literally. We are extremely grateful and blessed to have someone on the team with the work ethic and drive that Mark brings to work every single day.  Thank you for all that you do for us Mark.

Timeline of Accomplishments

boise mobile equipment history


Murphy-Reynolds-Wilson Fire District

In December of 2017, Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) chose one lucky department to donate this 1980 Western States Pumper to. Murphy-Reynolds-Wilson Fire Department, an all-volunteer Fire Department & EMS located in Owyhee County was the recipient of this apparatus.  Murphy Reynolds Wilson is an all-volunteer district with 30 volunteers located in Owyhee County, Idaho. Their department covers 330 square miles, which makes MRW the second largest district in Idaho. The boundary starts at mile post 9 on Hwy 78 near Givens Hot Springs and ends at milepost 37 past Murphy, Idaho. Within the amount of area they cover, they have four stations. The district was established in 1985 by four people trying to keep citizens and surrounding wildland safe in this rural desert area. MRW’s oldest pumper is a 1960 Ford/Young in which the pump was rebuilt by MRW’s volunteers. 

fire truck donation

Donnelly Fire Department

The Donnelly Fire Department put out a fire that saved Ron Yanke’s mothers house. He was so appreciative that he donated a fire apparatus to the department to thank them!

boise mobile equipment history

BME Type 3's Evolution

Looking to the Future

BME has increased production and sales by over 1,000% over the last 5 years.  We have added over 65,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity and over 120 employees during that time.  We know that keeping that growth pace is unrealistic, but we intend to keep our production and sales rates climbing. Our growth has presented us with a unique set of challenges but quality and customer service continue to be our focus. Listening and collaborating with our customers, helps BME build and innovate better wildland engines.  We continue to build customized apparatus to meet any department’s needs. In the next ten years we have three goals we are striving to reach: 

  1. Become a single source provider for all fire apparatus 
  2. Build a fire truck that firefighters can’t break, we know that is impossible so we will build the best fire apparatus available, paying attention to detail, design, use, and cost.
  3. Last, focus on being the right company that Can instead of can’t meet customers’ needs.  

We are currently expanding and building custom apparatus to meet the requests and needs of the departments we serve. Our commitment is to continue overbuilding our engines resulting in safer, longer lasting, and better quality fire apparatus. The 20 Year Engine exists with a BME Apparatus. Our engines are known for being rugged, durable and the safest wildland fire trucks on the market. Tubular steel skeleton bodies are safer in the event of a crash or rollover and could be the difference that saves your life.  If you are putting your life on the line, shouldn’t you have the best, safest, and most dependable fire truck on the market? 

boise mobile equipment chad moffat

A Look Inside the BME Service Department

bme service department

When you buy a fire truck from Boise Mobile Equipment (BME), you become part of the BME family. Not only is your new apparatus guaranteed a long and reliable service lifetime, but you’re promised our continued support along the way through our service department. Although we don’t expect to see BME-built engines return to our shop too often, accidents happen and regular maintenance is required. That is why we maintain a service department and service centers across the country, each specifically trained to work on BME engines whenever they need the extra care. 

No matter what type of service your BME fire truck requires, we can provide what you need. With services ranging from maintenance and repairs to refurbishment and retrofitting, we will maintain the longevity of your apparatus for decades to come.

fire truck service center
repair fire truck water pump

Maintaining a 20 Year Fire Truck

When BME opened its doors in 1990, our goal was to build a fire apparatus that would not need to be replaced every few years. Since then, our apparatus have stood the test of time, providing fire departments with safe, reliable, and cost-effective equipment. We are proud to build a “20 Year Fire Truck,” promising our clients at least two decades of service from a BME apparatus. 

Many of our earliest fire trucks are still in service today thanks to the durable tubular construction of our apparatus bodies. We recently had a 1998 BME Type 3 CAFS apparatus in our shop, owned and operated by Sterling Systems LLC Fire Fighting Services in Helena, MT. After twenty-two years of faithful service, the fire truck needed a pump rebuild. While this is not a problem we see often in our apparatus, our service department managed to finish the work ahead of schedule and got the fire truck back in the field.

Another recent job involved a Wildland Type 6 we built for Teton Village Fire Department in 2000. This apparatus required a standard refurbish, including pump and electrical service, plumbing modification, replacing the foam system with a FoamPro and a new foam tank, and installing a new lighting package.

bme service department
refurbish old fire truck

No Job Too Big or Too Small

The BME Service Department specializes in variety. No job is too big, small, old, or new for our technicians. Not only are they uniquely trained and authorized to work on BME custom apparatus, but they are experienced in servicing all manufacturers of fire trucks and their parts. Tom Groat, our lead technician, has developed a passion for refurbishing old fire trucks from his years restoring vintage hot rods.

Besides repairs and refurbishments, our service department is continually performing routine maintenance to optimize apparatus performance. The beginning of fire season is especially busy as the US Forest Service brings in their engines for annual pump tests and inspections. Not only do they bring BME apparatus to us, but we often work on wildland engines built by our competitors as well. This is because our headquarters is located closer to the states that see the most activity during wildfire season, as well as the trust we have developed and maintained with our returning clients. 

Another common service is rechassising. While BME fire trucks sometimes require a replacement of their chassis to increase service lifespans, their bodies are typically in excellent condition. The way we build our engine’s frames, utilizing tubular body construction, allows BME fire bodies to withstand more wear and tear in the field than most chassis. Many of our returning clients, including Ventura County Fire Department, have brought their older BME engines to be rechassised.

fire truck manufacturer

A One-Stop Shop For First Responders

Boise Mobile Equipment was envisioned as a one-stop shop for first responders, growing and evolving to meet the needs of the heroes who protect our communities. Since its inception, BME has branched out in order to reach that goal, offering apparatus service, an online parts store, and emergency vehicle upfitting alongside our core function of building the safest and most durable fire engines on the market. That’s the BME difference.

If you have any questions about our service department, feel free to reach out.

Be Safe, Protecting First Responders

bme partners with tiffany's pennies

With everything going on in the world right now, it is important for us to take the time to honor and thank those who continue to sacrifice their lives while keeping us safe on a daily basis. We take great pride in the work that we do and the opportunity we have been given to serve the fire and police industry through each division at Boise Mobile Equipment. Our Emergency Vehicle Upfitting Division has recently found a remarkable young person we’ve asked to join the BME team, sharing her support and compassion for first responders. It’s not every day that you see a 10 year dedicating their time to paying it forward, but Tiffany isn’t your average 10 year old! With her love for Police, Fire, Military and EMS; Tiffany is truly making a difference and showing her appreciation for first responders one penny at a time! Inspired by Tiffany’s Pennies, we knew we wanted to be associated with her and her journey.

Tiffany's Pennies

“Tiffany is 10 years old and Lives in Michigan. She has ALWAYS loved her police, police K9, fire, military, and EMS people. She has always told them thank you and be safe. After the Ferguson Riots we explained what was happening and after that Tiffany wanted to give the police officers a gift. Since I already do metal stamping, we came up with using a penny for luck.

I would hand stamp BE SAFE and Tiffany would stamp the heart.(easy to carry, her words, win win for all of us). She has me carry them in my purse so whenever she sees them, she can give them out.

Tiffany has now been handing them out for 6 years. From Michigan to Hawaii and everywhere we have been in between. She does it to show her support and her love to those who keep us safe. She has on occasion made it into the spotlight. However she would rather do it quietly and under the radar. We as her parents are very proud of her. After multiple people have asked if she has a website, I have decided to make her a fb page so everyone can follow her journey. Tiffany and I have been told how much these pennies mean to the people who have received them.

  • She is a normal girl
  • She loves playing hockey
  • Riding her bike
  • Swimming
  • And going on adventures
  • With a big heart

We truly appreciate all those who work so hard to keep us safe. Hope ya all enjoy her lifetime journey


The Demski”

tiffany's pennies
tiffany's pennies
tiffany's pennies

First Responders Receiving Pennies

Symbolism of a Penny

Have you ever walked down the street and found a penny heads up, knowing you would now have good luck or maybe you are the person who saw a penny tail-side up and flipped it over for the next passerby! The spiritual significance of a penny is good luck and protection. “A penny from heaven is considered to be left by an angel that was coming across your path – it brings comfort and love.” This significance was taken to the next level with a customized personal touch added by Tiffany. She began adding her personal touch “Be Safe” and “<3” stamps by hand to pennies six years ago and has been giving them to first responders ever since. 

Support First Responders

We are dedicated and proud to build lifesaving equipment to serve first responders. As a small family-run company we believe in treating each customer that steps foot in a BME vehicle as part of our family. Following the journey of each vehicle or engine that leaves our facility allows us to stay connected with the heroes using them each day. We are honored to include Tiffany’s Pennies in this journey sending our clients off with a second layer of protection and well wishes from a caring supporter. Want to learn more about Tiffany or follow her journey? Tiffany’s mom created the Facebook Page Tiffany’s Pennies to share photos, stories and experiences along the way.

BME Receives Three Year BPA from the U.S. Department of Interior

BME Receives 3 Year BPA

Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) received a three year Blanket Purchase Agreement to produce Wildland Crew Carriers for the U.S. Department of Interior in March. BME will produce twenty-four crew carriers in its initial year of the Bid. 

“The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.” 

The Initial 24 Units:

The BME Crew Carrier is built to handle rugged terrain. This rugged durability allows firefighters to respond to wildland fires quickly, safely, and comfortably. The tubular skeleton increases roll-over protection and safety for your crew in all situations.

Structural Integrity Test

We build our bodies to the highest standards of safety and durability. In order to build the best crew carriers for the Department of Interior we have built a tubular steel constructed body that will be sent to Cape Testing with IMMI in Indiana to have a Structural Integrity Test to be performed on. This testing is being done to meet the NFPA 1906 Standards 10.4.1 Structural Integrity – Roof Loading and 10.4.3 Structural Integrity – Side Loading.

Development & Production Timeline

crew carrier production

Engineer Drawing

crew bus engineer drawing

Crew Carrier Specifications

  • Freightliner® M2 106 Conventional Chassis
  • Cummins® L9 330EV HP Engine
  • Allison® 3000 EVS Transmission
  • Seating for 10 Personnel
  • Tubular Steel Constructed Body
  • Air Horn
  • Battery Charger & Inverter
  • Multiplex Electrical System
  • Lighting Packages (vary on build)

If your department is in need of a Wildland Crew Carrier we have the best-looking, most comfortable, and safest vehicle in its class. Personal space, comfortable seats, and overall design make our Crew Carriers the right choice for your team. For more information on the BME Crew Carriers please visit this page or contact sales@bmefire.com 

Our Commitment to Firefighters

firefighters with bme fire truck
Photo Credit: South Metro Fire Rescue 2018

It’s no secret that firefighters face a unique set of hazards when responding to a fire, whether structure or wildland. Firefighting equipment or gear failing should not be a concern when operating in dangerous environments. We know that while each apparatus we build plays a role in firefighting efforts, it is ultimately the firefighters who put in the hard work, risking their lives to protect our communities day in and day out. For this reason we are invested in the safety and experiences of each individual firefighter and department that steps foot in a BME apparatus.

As a small family-run company, we believe in treating our clients as one of our own, from our initial meeting to thirty years down the line. We are dedicated and proud to build lifesaving equipment; nothing is more rewarding than seeing our apparatus perform in the field. We strive to innovate wildland apparatus, manufacturing processes, and the way we interact with each member of the BME family.

When you join the BME family you have the guarantee of apparatus safety and support long after delivery. Throughout the years we have built connections with the firefighters that use our apparatus, listening to each client and using their feedback to guide our innovations. Our inspiration for safety comes from following the stories of the men and women on the front lines.

We Are Wildland

To bring our family together we have created a motto: We Are Wildland. This is more than just a slogan we use, it’s a statement that represents the firefighters we are proud to serve and a precedent we have set as a manufacturer. We offer the safest wildland apparatus on the market and it’s a result of the brave men and women who operate them. When you see the BME logo or We Are Wildland on an engine, shirt, hat, or sticker, you’ll know it has been built to the utmost standards of quality and durability. 

Firefighters wearing the BME badge is a great honor. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for agencies like the US Forest Service or CAL FIRE trusting in us. Support from municipal departments has allowed us to grow in our custom apparatus capabilities. As proud as we are to see others wearing the BME badge, we believe firefighters are proud to be a part of our family. Our annual calendar wouldn’t be possible without the support of departments who have purchased our apparatus and captured photos of them in the field. 

We would like to personally thank each employee, department, agency and vendor that has contributed to the growth of Boise Mobile Equipment. Amazing vendors like WhelenTomarDarleyHannay Reels, Cox Reels, Elkhart BrassUPFFoam ProHale and many more allow us to build quality products. Our marketing efforts are supported by great companies like Silverline FilmsSOLVUprintingBSN Sports, Firehouse Magazine, Fire Engineering Magazine, and Sticker MuleCustom vinyl stickers have allowed us to show off our BME logo but also design items focused on the firefighters we serve.


Safety Starts Here

Safer, more effective firefighting begins with a dependable, high-quality BME Wildland Fire Apparatus. We continue in our commitment to not only build the best in the industry, but also, the safest. We are often asked what makes a BME fire engine different from other manufacturers, we made this video to show you what sets us apart from the competition. Thank you to Silverline Films for creating this video.

Mesothelioma: Firefighters Have Twice the Risk

Firefighters Have Twice the Risk to Develop Mesothelioma, Says Study

Guest Post By: Mesothelioma Guide  

Written By: Andrew Devine

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have teamed up to study the causal relationship between firefighting and diseases such as mesothelioma. The study found that firefighters have a substantially higher risk of developing mesothelioma than the general population.

Firefighters are a group of people that have one of the more notable risks for developing mesothelioma. These risks aren’t hard to imagine when considering the amount of debris and toxins released into the air when an older building burns down.

The smoke and dust generated from these fires are likely to contain unsafe levels of asbestos. When structures are on fire and when they collapse, asbestos fibers present in the structure become airborne.

There are also unforeseen risks that firefighters serving prior to the 1970s may have incurred. Such a risk is the use of asbestos in the protective materials worn by firefighters prior to this period. Since the risks of asbestos were not widely known, it seemed logical at the time to manufacture helmets, coats and pants with fire-resistant asbestos.

While firefighters today have protective equipment, such as masks and respirators, it is not always a requirement for them to use the equipment. This obviously puts firefighters at risk of exposure if asbestos is present.

Background of the Study

The idea behind the study was to create a more conclusive understanding of the occupational risks of firefighting and developing cancer. By increasing the amount of participants in the study, researchers hope to back up previous studies with a more scientifically significant analysis.

The study consisted of nearly 30,000 career firefighters who served between 1950 and 2009 in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia.

While the research does not consider factors such as smoking, personal health and consumption of alcohol, they did determine that firefighters are twice as likely to develop mesothelioma compared to the general population.

This was the first study ever to identify higher rates of mesothelioma among firefighters in the United States. It also found that firefighters have a higher rates of developing several other types of cancer.

The study is projected to have a second phase in which researchers will look at the occupational history of the firefighters in this study to gain more specific information about the relationship of firefighting and the development of cancers like mesothelioma.

9/11: A Recent Example of Asbestos Risks for Firefighters

One of the most infamous asbestos exposure risks for firefighters were those who served at Ground Zero on 9/11. The lower floors of the Twin Towers were coated in tons (estimated between 400 and 1,000 tons) of asbestos that was released into the air when the buildings collapsed.

The dust cloud resulting from the collapse swamped lower Manhattan, engulfing skyscrapers and people. Those without respirators were sure to inhale the toxic dust.

A study released a year after 9/11 by the American Thoracic Society highlighted the risks associated with asbestos exposure for firefighters at Ground Zero.

Although the study wasn’t speculative about firefighters developing mesothelioma in the future, it determined there was a significant amount of asbestos released in the air after the collapse.

The study did, however, determine that firefighters at Ground Zero had immediate respiratory side effects, including pleural effusions and pleural thickening. These are serious symptoms, which illuminate the risks firefighters must face.

There isn’t any event comparable in magnitude that posed risks to firefighters quite like 9/11. However, it does go to show that firefighters responding to calls involving buildings containing asbestos face an inevitable risk of being exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.

Why Is This Study Important?

The study released by the USFA and NIOSH is important for many reasons, but one reason stands out in relation to mesothelioma: awareness. Knowing that firefighters have two times the risk of developing mesothelioma than the average American is powerful information.

This is information that can be used to help protect firefighters from unseen, airborne risks such as asbestos. It may also encourage firefighters who are tempted to remove their respirators to protect themselves.

Many people are still unaware of the potential threat of asbestos exposure. The toxic fibers are regulated in the U.S., but they still aren’t banned. Firefighters, especially, need to be aware of these risks.


About the Writer, Andrew Devine

Andrew Devine is a contributing writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He has developed an interest in educating patients and their families on everything from new treatments to what to expect after diagnosis.

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