Wooster Township (OH) Fire Department was seeking to modernize its aging fleet by replacing two pieces of apparatus with one, choosing to focus on a wet rescue vehicle, essentially a rescue truck with fire suppression capabilities. But after a lot of research and investigation, the department decided that a rescue-pumper built by KME was the better choice to meet its particular needs.
Chris Shook, Wooster Township’s chief, says the department looked at wet rescues made by various apparatus manufacturers, and also at available rigs from used apparatus dealers, “but were not able to find exactly what we were looking for. Then we found a PRO pumper demo truck on the KME Web site and thought it was perfect for us.”
Shook continues, “We contacted the sales rep with the intention of going to KME in Pennsylvania to see the demo pumper, but it was being shipped to Florida for the REV Group meeting and show, so three of us flew to Florida, were picked up by Bob Malone of Warren Fire Equipment, and brought to the show. It turned out the rescue-pumper was what we wanted, so while we were there, we talked with our trustees back in Ohio, who issued a purchase order for us to buy a sister truck to the demo at the show.”
Wooster Township firefighters later made an inspection trip to KME to view the rescue-pumper on the production line and were able to modify a few things, Shook points out, including shelving and compartmentation, additional outlets for electronics, more scene lighting, extending the front bumper to 20 inches, and adding a five-inch front suction. “We determined a wet rescue would cost in the $700,000-plus range,” Shook notes, “but the PRO pumper was just over $500,000.”
Mark Kopunek, product manager for KME, says the PRO rescue-pumper is the second unit KME has produced with its new virtual dash. “Instead of a dash panel with individual gauges for oil temperature, speed, rpm, and other data, we have a programmable virtual display that shows different gauge layouts,” Kopunek says. “It pulls data from the engine computer and you can program it to show whatever data you want.”
The rescue-pumper is built on a 100-inch wide KME Panther MFD chassis and cab with a 10-inch raised roof, and a 20-inch front bumper extension with a center storage well for 150 feet of 1¾-inch hose. Wheelbase is 200 inches, overall length is 33 feet one inch, and overall height is 9 feet 9 inches.
The vehicle is powered by a Cummins 450-horsepower ISL9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS transmission, has ROM roll-up doors, 430-cubic feet of compartment space, and a hosebed covered with an aluminum tread plate rolling/lift-up hosebed cover.
Malone, Warren Fire’s sales manager who sold the vehicle to Wooster Township, says the rescue-pumper has a Waterous CSX 1,500-gpm single-stage pump, a 750-gallon water tank with an integral 25-gallon foam cell, a FoamPro 1601 foam system plumbed to three discharges, a Waterous OPM overheat protection system, and a manual Task Force Tips 1,000-gpm deck gun.
The rescue-pumper has Whelen LED warning lights, Whelen M9 LED scene lights, a HiViz FireTech LED brow light, Amdor Luma LED ground lights, ROM LED hosebed lights, and a FRC 360-degree camera system.
Shook says the right side of the rescue-pumper is set up for rescue operations, with compartments holding the department’s AMKUS hydraulic tools (spreader, cutter, and rams) and power plant, a suitcase generator, rescue struts, ropes, and technical rescue gear while the driver’s side is set up for fire suppression and carries the department’s breaching and hand tools. Hazmat equipment is carried in coffin compartments on top of the rig.
Wooster Township is a combination department with five paid firefighters and 35 volunteer firefighters operating out of one station. The department provides fire suppression, rescue, and paramedic life support to 8,500 residents in a 52-square-mile district. Wooster Township also houses Wayne County’s underwater search and rescue team and is one of four RIT teams in the county. The department runs three engines, one tanker, a brush truck, command vehicle, and two ALS ambulances.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.