By Tom Mettler

Tom is Director of Engineering for Waterous Company and is a member of the FAMA Tech Committee and the Pump and Plumbing Subcommittee. He is also a member of the NFPA Fire Department Apparatus Committee and served as the Pump Task Group Chair for the 2016 revision of NFPA 1901 and 1906 standards.

While the name Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) might imply the membership is limited to fire truck builders, a majority of the membership consists of companies who make the wide variety of components that are attached to the firetrucks. All the major fire pump manufacturers are members, and we participate significantly in FAMA’s work with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committees. In this article, we will describe recent changes in pump testing and how they impact fire apparatus performance.


By Roger Lackore

Roger is the vice president of product development for Smeal Fire Apparatus. He has a bachelor’s degree in science for mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in science for engineering management. He is licensed as a professional engineer and a certified safety professional with 31 years of experience in the heavy vehicle industry.

In this day of electronic media, there are many ways to learn and sharpen your skills without ever leaving the station. There are videos, blogs, Webinars, and Google searches just to name a few. So, why bother sending your fire department staff to a live symposium when the alternatives are easier on department budgets? At the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA), we feel that there is still a great advantage to getting out of the box and being able to meet face to face, ask questions, shake hands, and learn from each other. This is the reason our member companies dedicate time and energy each year, partnering with the Fire Department Safety Officer Association (FDSOA) to bring you the Annual Fire Apparatus Maintenance and Specification Symposium.


By Jim Salmi

Jim is a registered professional engineer with more than 35 years of experience in the fire service industry. He is the director of aerial product development at E-ONE. Since 1992, he has served on the NFPA 1901 Standards Committee as the chair of the Aerial Task Group.

Aerial platform trucks provide the department with an extremely powerful tool for rescue, ventilation, and extinguishing fires.  All Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) member companies are concerned with firefighter safety, and those that produce products that lift people into the air are particularly sensitive to promoting safe practices. This article will discuss the issue of Continue reading


By Sam Massa

President and chief technologist for HiViz LED Lighting, a manufacturer of specialty scene lighting equipment with a primary focus on the fire and emergency services market. He is a North Carolina firefighter and emergency medical technician and community contributor/active participant who provided public comments from the scene lighting industry to the NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, technical committee during the 2016 revision process.

Firefighters often get a bad rap in technical communities as being more like cavemen than scholarly “academic” types. After all, our group does run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out. What most don’t understand, however, is that firefighters do not typically run into structures blindly without a very calculated assessment of the situation and application of a finely honed set of skills that they have mastered during their training.

Here are a few things a certified firefighter is required to know: reading smoke, understanding pyrolysis and thermochemical decomposition, knowing advanced hydraulic theory and on-the-fly calculation of friction loss, and a variety of topics in the emergency medical field, just to name a few. It would be reasonable to assume the profession is more akin to rocket science than “merely” putting out fires. Many member representatives of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) are firefighters, and understand the complexities the industry faces.


By Steve Rowland

Steve is the regional sales manager (Southern U.S.) for Demers Ambulances. A former firefighter and EMT, he has served in the sales groups of leading public safety companies Federal Signal, Akron Brass, Pierce/Medtec and Ferno-Washington. He is co-chair of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association’s (FAMA) ambulance technical subcommittee and is FAMA’s representative to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances, committee.

Member companies of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) are involved in the manufacturing and innovation of fire and rescue vehicles. The overriding focus of the FAMA Technical Committee is safety and encouragement to follow operation and vehicle maintenance best practices. The safety of pedestrians at fire and emergency scenes is one of the newer areas receiving manufacturers’ attention—both civilian and responder.

We live in a world of data. Within seconds, a Google search for “fire truck injuries” produces pages of results relating to firefighter injuries or deaths from apparatus crashes. Whether they are links to in-depth studies from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or other industry organizations, many results point to persons injured in a crash involving an emergency vehicle. However, an Internet search for “pedestrians injured by fire rescue vehicles” returns anecdotal reports of persons hit while crossing in front of moving emergency vehicles. In response, several FAMA companies are proactively offering solutions intended to reduce pedestrian injuries or deaths by emergency vehicles.


By Tim Johnson

Tim is the southern region sales manager for Rosenbauer America. He is responsible for sales and dealership support in the nine-state region. Johnson co-chairs the chassis subcommittee for the FAMA Technical Committee.

In today’s world, technology is evolving at a record pace, and fire apparatus manufacturers are increasingly being requested to incorporate the latest and greatest technological advances in their fire apparatus. When we hear technology, we often think of the latest version of the iPhone, iPad, or something electronic. While those are some of the most recognizable advances in technology, there are other applications, many of which are quite complex. Technological advances in fire apparatus could be the implementation of a seat belt warning system, a vehicle data recorder (VDR), electronic stability control, or air bag system. These may seem to be ordinary technologies of everyday life, however their implementation in fire apparatus can require a great deal of creativity. In the automotive sector, there seems to be significant awareness on autonomous vehicles and continued advancements of crash avoidance systems. Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) member companies add new technology features on a yearly basis, so what’s next for fire apparatus?


By Ray Van Gunten

Ray has been president of Diamond Roll Up Door, Inc., and Dover Roller Shutters since March 2008.

Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) member companies lead the industry in the use of roll-up doors for vehicle compartment access. The use of roll-up doors began more than 30 years ago when the roll-up door idea and product were brought over from England. Nearly 70 percent of the fire and emergency vehicles produced today use this technology. The main advantages roll-up doors have over swing-out doors include eliminating potential for damage when leaving a station with a high-side door open; easier compartment access; safer environment for both the operator and the vehicle; easier and quicker maintenance and repair; and, in most cases, lower overall costs for the vehicle manufacturers. This article will look at these advantages along with new safety and security features that were not available when roll-up doors were first introduced.


By Roger Lackore

Professional Engineer and
Certified Safety Professional

The latest revision of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, contains a new requirement aimed at firefighter safety when working on the top of an apparatus. Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association (FAMA) member companies have been planning on how to best comply with the standard and are anticipating a transitional period while both the manufacturers and the apparatus purchasers work through the details of this new requirement. We hope that the guidance in this article helps in this transition.



OEM Technical Sales Manager
Task Force Tips, Inc.

Nearly two years ago, you may have read an article about pump intake valves in the May 2014 issue of Fire Apparatus and Emergency Equipment. In the article, I mentioned a work-in-progress, pump selection guide. Here is a quick recap and an update on where the guide stands today.



Product Safety and Compliance Manager
Spartan Motors

In recent years, motor vehicle manufacturer safety recalls have become ever more common. However, even with the notifications vehicle owners receive, Internet information, and media attention, completion rates for safety recalls are still surprisingly low. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has promulgated regulations and developed tools for vehicle owners that are intended to help improve recall completion rates, there still remains a large percentage of vehicles that are never remedied. This could mean that there is still a significant number of vehicles being operated on our highways that present a risk to the public.