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fire engines

Types of Water Tenders: Support and Tactical

types of fire engines

What is a Water Tender?

A wildland water tender is a specialized vehicle capable of bringing water, foam, or dry chemicals to fire trucks in the field. Water tenders have a large truck-mounted tank with a minimum of 1,000 gallons and up to 4,000 gallons of water. 

Water tenders are typically larger, less agile apparatus. These vehicles are specifically designed for fires in more rugged terrain to help supply water for the fireline. Many modern water tenders can be used tactically to supply critical incident hose lies directly. 

Tenders are typically used in wildfires because urban fire departments usually get their water from water supply infrastructures. In contrast, rural departments transport large volumes of water to the fireline with water tenders because of a lack of access to municipal water systems.

Tactical water tenders can perform some of the functions of a wildland fire engine, such as deploying hose lengths. Unlike support water tenders, tactical water tenders are capable of a technique of pump-and-roll. 

Type of Water Tenders

standards for types of water tenders graphic PDF

Support Tender Type 1

This tender has a max capacity of 4,000 gallons of water but cannot pump and roll. It takes this engine about 30 minutes to refill and must have a minimum of 1 personnel in the cab. 

Support Tender Type 2

Support Tender Type 2 can hold a minimum of 1 firefighter and takes 20 minutes to refill its 2,500-gallon tank. 

Water Tender for Sale

Support Tender Type 3

This tender takes 15 minutes to refill its 1,000-gallon tank. It must hold a minimum of 1 firefighter and doesn’t have the capabilities to pump and roll. 

Tactical Tender Type 1

Tactical tenders can pump and roll, which makes them used more frequently on the wildland fireline. Type 1 has a max capacity of 2,000 gallons of water and holds a minimum of 2 personnel. 

commercial water tender

Tactical Tender Type 2

Tactical Tender Type 2 isn’t much different than Type 1 besides only holding a 1,000-gallon tank.

BME tactical tender wildland engine

Conclusion

Tenders allow for access to water before having to find a water source to put out the fire. It is essential to understand the difference in tenders to understand your department’s apparatus needs better.

Sedona Fire District Purchases a Model 34 BME Fire Apparatus

cal fire wildland trucks

Sedona Fire District recently purchased a Model 34 (Cal Fire Spec) from BME through HGAC. At this time we are offering our Cal Fire Spec at an affordable price with Tag-On Opportunities for California Departments and through HGAC for any out-of-California departments wanting this truck. Below is an article published by the Sedona Red Rock News about the acquisition of this BME Fire Apparatus.

“It’s like getting a really great Christmas gift — but one that you have to wait until the following Christmas to open.

By a unanimous vote, the Sedona Fire District Governing Board on Aug. 14 approved the purchase of a new Type 3 fire engine in the amount of $313,405.57. However, delivery of the new truck would be 10 to 12 months from the signing of the contract.

“It’s an apparatus that will carry us for a long, long time,” Chairman Dave Soto said. “It’s definitely a work horse.”

According to a staff report, the district plans for timely replacement of fire apparatus and sets aside funding for the ordering and purchasing of vehicles. The current Type 3, which is assigned to Station 4 in Uptown, has been taken out of service and is due for replacement. The engine being replaced is a 1999 E-One Type 3 four-wheel-drive with 78,100 miles and more than 3,700 engine hours.

The truck was originally purchased in February 1999 for $188,525 with a planned service life of 15 years and was the Oak Creek Canyon fire engine staffed by the canyon volunteers. Fire Chief Kris Kazian said this vehicle has been bumped down in the priority replacement list for several years in the capital replacement plan. Due to the continued and increasing costs of maintenance for this vehicle, it has been taken out of service and is recommended for removal from the SFD fleet, he said.

“We’re replacing a 1999 unit, so it’s run its course,” Kazian said. “It’s see a lot of miles and been a lot of places.”

The report states that failure to buy this replacement vehicle leaves the district without a four-wheel drive Type 3 engine used for both in and outside district wildland fires and may see on average a decrease in the range of $50,000 to $60,000 per year paid to SFD when its assistance is requested. As an off-district Type 3 engine, it has generated in excess of $273,000 of revenue over the the past three years combined.

The manufacturer, Boise Mobile Equipment, has a joint purchasing agreement with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. This allows other jurisdictions to purchase from the CAL FIRE purchase order contract through the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The HGAC is a nationwide, government procurement service awarded through public competitive procurement process compliant with state statues.

Sedona Fire Battalion Chief Dave Cochrane said he’s not sure how must SFD will save by going this route but that the pricing for the new fire engine being requested is at a significant savings over trying to purchase this truck as an individual agency.

“We’ve come to the point where we can no longer kick the can down the road,” Cochrane said in terms of the engine’s need. Cochrane said the Type 3 engine holds about 500 gallons and being that it is four-wheel drive, is most often used in wildland and forest fires, especially those being battled in California.

SFD has a second Type 3 engine, but it is two-wheel drive and will stay local. A Type 6 engine, which is much smaller and pays less in terms of a daily rental by other agencies, is out of state with a Sedona crew.”

Stock vs Custom Fire Trucks

stock vs custom firetrucks

When the time comes to purchase a new fire apparatus for your department, making the right decision may require some effort. It’s important to factor in safety concerns, community needs, and your department when researching trucks.

To aid with decision making, we want to outline some advantages to choosing a stock truck, as well as the benefits to purchasing a custom build. These points should be considered to make an informed decision for your department.

Choosing a Stock Truck

One of the biggest advantages to purchasing a stock truck is being able to view the truck in person and purchase it immediately. If your department is in a bind for a new apparatus, purchasing a stock truck may be your best option.

Our stock trucks can come as is or we can customize them to fit your needs. We have a variety of options that can be added to our stock trucks after they are completed such as slide outs, ladder racks, LED lighting, extended bumpers, and other options.

It’s beneficial to see a fire apparatus in person whether during the researching or buying phase. Visiting shops helps you determine exactly what type of truck you need or what you can expect to get when you purchase.

We also welcome visitors to our manufacturing facility to see our trucks currently in production and browse existing inventory ready for immediate delivery. Of course, the other major advantage to buying a stock truck is that the cost can be lower than a custom truck.

If your fire department is working with a tight budget, stock trucks may be your best option. BME sells directly to their customers which allows us to keep costs down.

Purchasing a Custom Build

Although buying a custom truck can cost you more, your new fire apparatus can include everything you need to serve your community. Get exactly what you want with our extensive options and specific instructions for our build team. In the event that BME has the chassis available in stock, the build time would be even less. A custom-built fire truck will take more planning from your department, but that forethought will produce the fire apparatus your department needs!

It’s critical to consider all of your options when choosing between buying a stock or custom truck. The same quality and craftsmanship goes into each apparatus, the difference comes down to your departments need and having the best truck to fill it. Considering the benefits to buying a stock or custom fire apparatus is important when making your purchasing decision. Whether you decide on a stock or custom truck, the same quality and craftsmanship goes into every apparatus we build. We have taken firefighters’ ideas and incorporated them into a winning versatile package with the best price point in the industry. Either way the truck will be customized to your desired needs and to fit your department

BME is available as a knowledgeable source to help you acquire the right fire truck for your department. Contact us today with any questions or inquiries!

Tag-On Opportunities

Are there financial benefits for a fire department to purchase an exact replica of a rig you’ve previously built? Absolutely.

BME has been awarded roughly $10 million to produce Model 34s for the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as Cal Fire. We are currently offering “tag-on” opportunities to California fire departments with our Cal Fire Model 34 Wildland Apparatus.

“Tagging-on” is a common method used by fire departments during the purchasing process. Rather than undergo the traditional bidding process, which can often take up to a year, fire departments are able to “tag-on” to another department’s purchase order, allowing them to add their own purchases to the existing order. By tagging on to this purchase order, fire departments are able to get their fire apparatus in a fast, efficient and cost-effective way.

If your department is interested in tagging on, contact sales@bmefire.com or call (800) 445-8342 to be connected with a sales representative.

BME Featured in Fire Apparatus Magazine

bme featured in fire apparatus

Boise Mobile Equipment was recently highlighted in a Fire Apparatus Magazine article about discharges and inlets. The article discusses the different assortment of inlets and outlets, according to tactical needs on today’s fire apparatus. Below is a quote from Larry Segreto that was featured in the article.
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Have you heard… Boise Mobile Equipment is Moving!

bme is moving
BME HAS MOVED TO A LARGER AND MORE FUNCTIONAL BUILDING!

We are proud to announce that due to our remarkable growth and increasing demand, we have moved to a new location. Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) is known best for being the industry leader in the wildland market. We acquired two new facilities: one 25,000 square feet, and one 50,000 square feet, to give us adequate space to produce new firefighting vehicles.

Our new address 5656 W Morris Hill Rd, Boise, is where we will continue to give our customers the same quality service as before. The new location allows more room for manufacturing and innovating product.

The following items will remain the same:

PHONE #

Toll Free: (800) 445-8342
Phone: (208) 338-1444

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 8 am to 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Due to the nature of a large move, some departments may still be at our 900 Boeing Street location until the move is complete. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Unfortunately, during the move, our phone lines will be down and access to our computers will be limited. If you need to get in contact with the office, please send an email to info@bmefire.com.
We apologize in advance for any inconveniences.

WANT TO CHECK OUT OUR NEW DIGS?

We will be hosting a Facebook Live, sharing photos, and a grand opening will be announced once our move is complete!

Types of Fire Engines and Their Importance

Custom Fire Apparatus built by Boise Mobile Equipment

Fire engines have advanced throughout the last four centuries. 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 fire threats began to change, so did the specialization of the fire engine. 

Fire Engine Types and Classifications

Taking a look at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, it classifies the vehicles by type and function. This is important because it created universal fire truck standards and terminology to help fire departments find an apparatus that will fit their needs.

Fire Engine Classification:

Type 1 Fire Engine

A Type 1 fire truck, typically responds to structural fires and is the most common type of fire truck in use today. Densely populated areas depend on a Type 1 fire apparatus to efficiently maneuver to the call and deploy an array of ladders to reach fires in elevated buildings.

A typical custom pumper holds around 400 to 500 gallons of water.  Oftentimes the amount of water needed to extinguish the fire cannot be supplied by the tank alone. Finding a reliable water supply is one of the most fundamental operations when arriving on the fire scene.

In addition, Type 1 pumpers are equipped to carry up to 4 firefighters. Commonly found on these apparatus are SCBA’s, chainsaws, circular saws, and many different types of specialized equipment dependent on the department’s needs.

Type 2 Fire Engine

commerical pumper

A Type 2 fire truck features many of the same specifications and tools as the Type 1 fire truck. They are also the typical truck seen in a suburban area responding to structural fires. 

Commercial pumpers are more compact but still holds the same amount of equipment as Type 1. Typically seen first on the scene to start fire extinguishing tasks until more support arrives.

Type 2 pumpers typically carries 3 or 4 firefighters. Commonly found on these apparatus are SCBA’s, chainsaws, circular saws, and many different types of specialized equipment dependent on the department’s needs.

Wildland Fire Engines

A Type 3, Type 4, and Type 6 are what are considered “wildland engines” or “brush trucks.” These are the vehicles that respond to wildfires and have the ability to drive in rough terrain to respond to a fire or rescue.  

Wildland engines are specially designed for the technique of pump-and-roll.  This is a tactic where the vehicle drives with the pump engaged while a firefighter uses a hose to spray water on the fire.

Type 3 Fire Engine

type 3 wildland fire engine

Type 3 has four-wheel drives to make driving over rough terrain easier and has a maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 lbs.  The minimum number of personnel a Type 3 must carry is 3.

Type 3 brush trucks are required to have a minimum of 500 US gallons of water and pump 150 US gallons per minute at a pressure of 250 pounds per square inch. Type 3 and Type 4 often look similar to one another. However, the biggest difference is their minimum personnel and tank capacities.

Type 4 Fire Engine

type 4 fish and wildlfie

Type 4 Wildland engine is similar to a Type 3 but with very important differences. Type 4 are used to drive over rough terrain and weighs 26,000 lbs, but it sacrifices a smaller pump and less hose for a larger 750-gallon tank. The Type 4 standard of pumping is 50 US gallons per minute at a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch. The minimum number of personnel a Type 4 must carry is 2.

Type 5, Type 6, and Type 7 Fire Engine

type 6 engine

Type 5, 6, & 7 are usually built specifically for the department’s needs. These vehicles are typically pick-up truck-based with 4-wheel drive.

These engines are often seen in both wildland and suburban settings. These fire engines have a much smaller configuration than a typical Type 3 or 4 engine.  

The smaller body still allows the department to carry 50 to 400 gallons of water with the maneuverability and accessibility that you don’t have in Type 3 or 4.  

Types 5 through 7 are used heavily for the initial fire suppression response, and their GVWR’s are rated in ascending order from 26,000 lbs in Type 5 engines to 14,000 on Type 7. This engine classification is designed to hold a minimum of 2 people and carry hose diameters ranging from 1 inch to 1 ½ inch.

Conclusion

As a general rule of thumb, fire engine types are specified from largest to smallest size, Types 1-2 being the largest to carry large pumps and ladders for structure fires, and Types 5-7 being the smallest for navigating rough wildland terrain. Type 3 and 4 engines are mid-sized engines built both for wildland mobility and large water capacity. The general difference between these two is that Type 4 engines have much larger water tanks than Type 3 engines.

New Year, New Ride: Apparatus Trends for 2018

fire engine trends 2018

We’ve all seen car ads boasting of the latest features in comfort, safety, and technology – automatic brakes, WiFi hotspots, and so on. By and large, these are nice things that make car travel a safer, more comfortable experience. While fire apparatus aren’t necessarily concerned with comfort, there are some interesting innovations and trends coming in the next year that will enhance safety and operational efficiency.

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The History of Fire Engines: From Primitive Pumps to Advanced Technology

The iconic red fire engine that you often see has changed throughout history.  In early civilizations, the need for fire to heat, cook, and light homes increased the risk of house fires. So naturally, people sought a means to extinguish the blaze, resulting in hundreds of years of new apparatus designs, and innovations.  

Early 1700’s: First Patented Fire Engine Designs

Historic fire engine

Early prototypes of the fire engine were designed in England to move water from one place to another.  Once the need for firefighters became apparent, they would discharge the tanks with pumps to generate the pressure needed to reach the blazing infrastructure.

In 1721, Richard Newsham, an English inventor, recognized an opportunity. Newsham filed 2 patents that would allow him to create and control the market of fire engines during the mid-1700s in England.

Newsham’s apparatus design consisted of a wooden chassis constructed with a long and narrow frame that could easily be maneuvered. Newsham’s engine encompassed a large lever that required the efforts of two men.  The two firefighters would then begin pumping by standing with one foot on each side of the pump, throwing their weight upon each treadle alternately.  While the crew members were pumping, a leather hose was attached to the top of the apparatus that another set of firefighters directed the jet of water at the fire. 

1800-the 1900s: Development of Mobile Fire Engines – Horse Drawn to Combustion Engine Powered Apparatus

vintage fire truck

As America moved into the industrial age, larger cities, such as Boston, New York, Baltimore, and San Francisco, saw technological changes that impacted the way apparatus were being manufactured.  

The trend started with the introduction of the horse-drawn steam pumper.  The early steam fire engines were used from approximately 1840 to 1920, allowing for quick transfer of water but were still hindered by a horse’s capibilities.

The demand for more water to fight bigger fires increased the weight of the fire engine and, in turn, rendered the horse ineffective for bigger engines. 

By 1913, companies such as the Ahrens-Fox Manufacturing Company from Cincinnati and the Knox Automobile Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, were leading the conversion from steam to gas-powered. However, it soon became apparent that the advantages of using motorized vehicles vs. horse-drawn in durability and cost were too numerous to halt transformation.  

By 1925, the steam pumper had been completely replaced by motorized pumpers. Difficulties developed in adapting geared rotary gasoline engines to pumps, which then made it necessary for gasoline-powered fire engines to be outfitted with two motors; one to drive the pump and the other to propel the vehicle.  However, these pumps were gradually replaced by rotary pumps and centrifugal pumps, which are used today by most modern pumpers.

The mid to late 1900s: Development of the Ladder Truck

The move from rural to urban increased the need for more efficient apparatus.

Daniel D. Hayes, a native New York City firefighter, saw the necessity of getting firefighters to the towering buildings under threat.  Hayes developed a mounted extension ladder to the top of a ladder truck equipped with a spring-assist mechanism that raised the ladder into its elevated position. The Hayes ladder was used to allow firefighters to quickly roll up to the fire scene, raise the mounted ladder to the windows of burning buildings, and extinguish the fire and rescue victims.  These ladders would remain in service until the early 1950s.

modern BME pumper fire engine

BME Pumper

Apparatus Construction and Operation Today

Modern fire engines are packed with fire and rescue equipment, including hoses, ladders, self-contained breathing apparatus, ventilating equipment, first aid kits, and hydraulic rescue tools. They are also fitted with sirens, lights, and communications equipment such as two-way radios and mobile computers. With all of its first aid and emergency equipment, fire engines are commonly used for purposes more than firefighting, such as emergency response.

Today, there are different apparatus types for various uses, including wildland fire apparatus for navigating rough wildland terrain and water tenders for transporting a large amount of water to the scene of a fire.

As technological innovations are made each year, fire engines become more advanced. Today, new additions such as wireless communications and wifi hotspots are increasing in demand. With the major changes in fire fighting over the last few hundred years, it’s difficult to predict what the future holds for fire engines. However, one certain thing is that the fire engine will continue to be an integral tool in firefighting efforts.

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