Apparatus

Refurbish and Repair: 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.

Types of Fire Engines and How to Distinguish The Differences Between Them

types of apparatus

Fire engines have advanced throughout the last four centuries to help protect the land and citizens of this nation.  The first fire engines were human propelled water pumps with no room for personnel. Around the end of the 1800s, the threat of fire within densely populated areas brought about paid firefighters equipped with horses to pull the early apparatus.  The modern day fire engine emerged in the 1960s armed with water pumps, a reservoir, and enclosed seats for the crew.  As the threats of fire began to change, so did the specialization of the fire engine on scene. In its most basic form, fire engines are equipped with hoses, water, equipment, and personnel that can aggressively fight the fire.  Let’s take a look at how the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus classifies the vehicles by type and function.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Purchasing Your Next Fire Apparatus in 2018

boise mobile equipment water tender

Purchasing a fire apparatus today can be a complex process of determining your department’s needs, meeting with manufacturers’ representatives, specification development, and securing adequate financial support from your community’s purchasing authority.  To complete the mission of your fire department effectively, the fire crew under your authority must have dependable fire apparatus that are replaced on a maximum lifespan basis. When the purchase price for a customized fire engine is in excess of $250,000, the decision to allocate funding for a replacement fire apparatus must be supported by a thorough review and needs assessment.  Ultimately the fire chief or a ranking authority must be prepared to justify the expenditure to a board of his community constituents.  Let’s discuss a number of ways you can ensure you’ve covered all your bases before purchasing that next apparatus.

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Winterizing Your Fire Truck: Protecting your Apparatus from Harsh Winters

how to prepare your fire truck for winter

The winter weather for most people marks the time of the year that brings the holidays, skiing, slick roads, and a chance to hurl a snowball at a loved one or pesky neighbor.  As a firefighter the upcoming winter provides a separate set of challenges that must be recognized to ensure the equipment and personnel responsible for protecting the community are safe.  Historical evidence has shown the firefighting community that extended fire calls are more likely to occur during periods of severe cold.   This result comes from the public utilizing approved and unapproved heating sources to combat the cold in their homes. The colder it gets the greater the probability that our personnel will become involved in a prolonged operation where saving life and property is necessary.  It’s important to remember that the time to plan for winter firefighting operations begins long before the snowflakes start to fall.  The following questions can be used to measure how prepared you are for the onset of colder temperatures:  What has your fire department done to prepare your apparatus and personnel for winter? What has your fire department done to prepare experienced operators for winter driving?

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Fire Chief Resigns Over Municipality’s Failure to Replace Unsafe Apparatus

firefighter turnouts and gear

As a company that has relationships with volunteer firefighters in various rural communities that always seem strapped for cash, we at BME found this story of particular interest. Many volunteer departments rely on annual funding drives to help supplement local funding, but that typically still only covers the more routine operational costs such as training, maintenance, and upkeep of the fire station. Anyone who has served, especially in fire districts with high call volume, knows that the day will come when you will need to make that appeal to your municipality — or even to the citizens you’re protecting — for extra money.

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BME lands $10 million Fire Truck Contract with CAL Fire – Tag-Ons are available for CA Departments


Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) has been awarded roughly $10 million to produce over thirty Type-III wildland firefighting apparatuses for the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as CAL FIRE. “Tag-on” opportunities are available to California fire departments, which allow them to save time, money and effort in purchasing fire equipment and machinery.
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The History of Fire Engines: From Primitive Pumps to Advanced Technology

historic fire engine

The iconic red fire engine that you often see roaring down the city streets has undergone a great deal of change throughout history.  In early civilizations, the emergence of permanent houses and the use of fire to heat, cook, and light these houses brought about the risk of house fires.  Naturally, people sought a means to extinguish the blazes to protect their families, resulting in hundreds of years of new apparatus designs, innovations and able-bodied men and women to operate them.  Here is a brief history of fire engines; how we went from the bucket brigade to the sophisticated selection of apparatus we have today.

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