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7/21/22

Finding the Wasted Space: Back Wall of the Cab

This is the second part of the series on emergency vehicles apparatus design. Truck committees need to be looking for wasted space on their apparatus. The Apparatus needs to carry equipment that you have deemed necessary to complete the mission within the district it will be protecting. So, everything must fit somewhere and somewhere logical.

Emergency Vehicles

Finding the Wasted Space: Back Wall of the Cab

Finding The Wasted Space On Your Fire Apparatus

Truck committees need to be looking for wasted space on their apparatus. The Apparatus needs to carry equipment that you have deemed necessary to complete the mission within the district it will be protecting. So, everything must fit somewhere and somewhere logical.

Modern Fire Truck Design

As departments design trucks, they are only putting four seats in the cab. This saves on some costs of the apparatus but saves on unneeded costs for SCBAs and maintenance every year. This leaves the back wall of most apparatus blank and available for use. Depending on the cab design this can be more space than what might be needed. Consideration needs to be taken for equipment and personnel that will be riding the apparatus.

In the pictured apparatus design, the minimum staff is two (driver and officer). The third rider is not always guaranteed. The space was laid out so that the everyday equipment was accessible from standing on the ground and reaching into the cab. Normally these tools are spread out in various places on an apparatus. In this design without the guarantee of the rear firefighter, the most frequently used tools will be quickly available without getting in and out of the apparatus and the potential fall hazard of unnecessary movements.

The 5 S’s: 5 Steps To Creating A Productive Work Environment For Your Fire Apparatus

The above design is also a great representation of the 5 S’s of lean manufacturing as we continue with that mindset during an apparatus design.

1.      The tools were Sorted to what personnel wanted and would use most commonly as they run calls.

2.      The tools were Set in Order in spacious arrangement for quick visual location and access. And they were also mounted in a way that can be quickly verified prior to leaving any call.

3.      You can quickly verify if the equipment is cleaned and Shined and in state of readiness.

4.      This design can be easily Standardized within a fleet or retrofitted with no major costs.

5.      The design can be easily Sustained after every call and the beginning of every shift.

Example Of An Efficient Fire Truck Design & Configuration

With this particular apparatus referenced above, the compartment on the back wall contains Swift water rescue equipment, battery chargers and smaller electronic devices. This center area is potentially wasted space in a minimum two person daily staffed apparatus. It’s a great out-of-the-way place for chargers and additional batteries to stay in a somewhat climate-controlled environment. Additionally, the water rescue personnel equipment is better suited in the cab, as this is more than likely where personnel will be donning this equipment. This keeps them from having to get out of the vehicle in a heavy rain or flooding situation.

As a member of the apparatus committee, you need to do your homework. The team needs to look farther and look at the equipment and spaces on the apparatus when designing it. It may not be so much as wasted space but more unused space.

Always remember as we continue this series giving helpful examples to the apparatus committee member deciding “How Big Of A Truck Do We Need”: Not every idea will work for every apparatus. Your district is very unique and only you—the ones who run the calls—know the needs.

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As a member of the apparatus committee, you need to do your homework. The team needs to look farther and look at the equipment and spaces on the apparatus when designing it. It may not be so much as wasted space but more unused space.

Troy Beaudoin

Peach State EV

About the Author

Troy Beaudoin

Troy started his career as both a firefighter and fire truck mechanic in 2003. He has over 18 years of fire service, both paid and volunteer, from Michigan, Wisconsin, and South Carolina. Troy also has 18 years of various fire apparatus maintenance backgrounds from working for a major apparatus manufacturer to working at Fire apparatus dealerships. He obtained his Pierce Master Technician certification along with Certifications in Oshkosh Airport Products maintenance and Delivery and Bronto Skylift Maintenance Technician. Troy has also attended classes and received Various EVT certificates, and he plans on continuing his education with EVT.

Troy ended his fire fighting career in 2021 when he and his wife and two year-old son relocated to Alabama to work for Peach State Truck Centers.

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