There are many things that are critical when making plans to purchase a new apparatus; fire fighter seating provisions, engine size, overall height and length, water/foam capacity, pump size and many more.
One of the most critical areas, equipment storage and access, seem to not receive the amount of time and consideration that other areas of the apparatus are given.
Take a look at your existing apparatus, your neighbors’ apparatus and pictures online of well laid out equipment storage areas, such as the South Hill Engine shown. Look at what was done right and what was done wrong. Look at your existing apparatus and your equipment storage. How much space is not being used? How many pieces of equipment could be carried differently to free up space? Could moving equipment around to different cab/body areas make equipment access easier and faster?
When planning storage for your new apparatus, growth should be taken into consideration. Look back at your equipment purchases over the past five years or so.
In the initial planning stages for your new apparatus, significant time should be given to each piece of equipment – how often is it used, what kind of access is needed, how should it be placed, does it need a holder, bracket, or strap? Do you need to carry it at all?
By taking time to layout each piece of equipment required for proper apparatus operation, the new apparatus can at the time of manufacture have the proper trays, shelves, tool boards, holders, brackets, etc. greatly reducing your “in service” time and ultimately your “on scene” response time.
The last consideration should be growth. When planning storage for your new apparatus, growth should be taken into consideration. Look back at your equipment purchases over the past five years or so. What new equipment was purchased and how much space did these new purchases take?
As technology continues to influence fire fighting and rescue equipment, new products will be available and they will need a place on your apparatus. Think and plan ahead as it may be that future storage needs may ultimately be greater than the needs you have today.
In closing, use all the resources at your disposal for maximizing the storage capacity of your new apparatus and to also plan for proper equipment storage, equipment retention, and lastly, the ability to add new equipment of the lifetime of apparatus being purchased.
Scott Zingaro is a Regional Account Manager with Goodman Specialized Vehicles. Contact Scott