Most fire departments do not have a full-time fire truck maintenance shop and most fire apparatus repairs are sent to a qualified fire apparatus repair facility with EVT Technicians on staff. You may be facing financial challenges in your budget, but there are several things that firefighters (career and volunteer) can do on a regular basis in the fire station to head off issues early on and that will help to prevent the need for costly repairs down the road. So, the answer is YES! Fire truck maintenance is very important!
Fire apparatus checks should be considered a form of maintenance, by inspecting your fire trucks on a daily or at the very least a scheduled basis the person making the inspection will be able to find minor problems that can be either be repaired, reported or noted as needing repair. An example would be finding a discharge or suction valve that is hard to open; with a little lubricant, the valve will most likely work smoother thus the inspection became a maintenance item.
Fire departments should have an Apparatus Inspection Form that drivers, engineers or firefighters can fill out each shift, or in the case of a volunteer department a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule. The inspection checklist should list all the items that should be checked and should include a spot on each item to be checked off when inspection is completed.
There should be an area on the fire truck maintenance checklist for comments in the event that there is a need for the repair to be taken care of by a certified emergency vehicle technician. The inspection on a daily or a scheduled basis will insure that potential problems are found which can prevent a malfunction or possible injury to a firefighter. Let’s face it, an out of service fire truck doesn’t do the community it serves any good. Fire truck maintenance needs to become a top priority to avoid potentially deadly injuries and very costly repairs. Identifying problems right away will also prevent additional problems that may be related to the item found during the routine inspection, thereby saving the fire department money and limiting the downtime associated with a needed repair.
Your trucks fire pump should be maintained on a regular basis. The pump should be back flushed to clear out sand and debris that possibly entered the pump during operation at a hydrant or at draft. The back flush should be performed at least once a month and or after any operation at a fire where water is drafted, supplied by another pumper or hooked to a hydrant.
The water tank on a pumper, aerial device or a wet rescue should be flushed at least twice a year to make sure any dirt, sand or other nasty matter is flushed from the tank so it will not damage the fire pump impellers, discharge and intake ball valves, relieve valves or governors.
Compartment door latches, hinges, and spring type door hold open check devices should be cleaned and lubricated when they are found to be hard to operate or feel like they have dirt on them when trying to open. Pull out the storage drawers, tool shelves, and tool boards should also be cleaned and lubricated to keep them moving freely. Roll up doors should be checked for proper operation and tracks lubricated as required following the manufacturers guide lines.
The items discussed regarding fire truck maintenance are just a small fraction what should be done to insure your apparatus is ready to respond to a call and to ensure that firefighters are operating a safe fire truck. Fire departments should have a fire truck maintenance form which explains what should be done during the checking of the fire apparatus and when it should be completed. There should be a fire truck maintenance checklist as well outlining “how” this should be completed and what can be completed by fire department personnel or what fire truck maintenance needs to be completed by a Certified Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT)
“The EVT Certification Commission, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving the quality of emergency vehicle service and repair throughout the United States and Canada by means of a certification program that will provide technicians recognition for the education, training, and experience they have in the service and repair of emergency vehicles.”
Having your fire trucks serviced annually by a qualified service provider is just as important as daily and routine checks. During this service, major operating components will be checked for proper performance, adjustments can be made if needed and repairs can be completed by qualified EVT Technicians.
Selecting your repair facility is just as important. Here are a few questions to ask your service provider that will be performing your fire truck maintenance:
- Are they a dedicated fire truck maintenance and repair facility?
This is very important question to ask. Some apparatus dealers are also Class 8 (Over the road trucks) truck dealers. Not the worst thing in the world, but your fire truck repair will not take priority over the Class 8 work. The big money for this kind of shop is volume and your fire truck is like a hobby to them. Pick a service provider that lives and breathes fire truck service.
- Are there certified EVT Technicians on staff?
This is one of the requirements that fire departments frequently ignore. Fire apparatus are complicated machines that require trained and certified personnel capable of performing adjustments and repairs. Ask the question, look for the certifications that your service facility may or may not have.
- Does the service facility hold any other certifications related to fire truck maintenance?
Most dedicated fire apparatus repair facilities will take advantage of training that is offered by manufacturer’s such as Hale, Waterous, E-ONE, Detroit Diesel, Cummins and so on. The maintenance and repair of fire apparatus is certainly not becoming less complicated. Make sure your dealer has fully trained technicians and replacement part staff employed.
- Do they offer mobile service?
It is not always convenient to place your apparatus out of service, transport it and leave it at a repair facility for an extended amount of time for routine maintenance. Ask your service provider if they have fully equipped mobile service trucks that will come to your location to complete your fire pump, ladder truck and general apparatus repair and preventive maintenance.
- Do they have replacement parts in stock?
Replacement parts are usually the biggest contributor to a lengthy repair shop visit. That visit will be a nice long one if they do not have a running inventory of consumable parts readily available.
About Fire Line Equipment ~ 4652 Division Highway, East Earl, PA ~ 877-346-1373
“Providing Communities With The Support Necessary To Preserve Life and Property”
Fire Line Equipment has been maintaining, repairing, refurbishing and selling both new & used fire trucks since 2009. Our services include:
- PA State Inspection
- DOT Inspection
- Engine and Transmission Maintenance
- Full Chassis Service
- Charging System Service
- Front End Alignments
- Suspension Repairs
- Air Conditioning Service
- Electrical Trouble Shooting & Repair
- Lighting Repair & Upgrades
- Fire pump preventive maintenance
- Fire pump repairs
- NFPA 20-10-10 flow test
- Valve rebuilding and replacement
- Pump packing adjustment and replacement
- Gauge replacement
- Plumbing replacement & Upgrades
- Booster tank replacement
- Diesel generator service and repair
- Hydraulic generator service and repair
- Scene lighting installation and upgrades
- Diesel and hydraulic generator installations
- Light Tower maintenance
- Light Tower installations
- Replacement warning lights
- Lighting upgrades to strobe and LED lighting
- DOT LED running lights
- Electronic & Mechanical Siren Installations
- Rear warning directional lighting installations
- Rear back up and side view camera installations
- Aerial preventative maintenance
- Hydraulic cylinder rebuilding
- Extension / retraction cable replacement
- Sheave wheel replacement
- Wear pad adjustment and replacement
- Electrical trouble shooting and repair
- Hydromotion swivel replacement and upgrades
- Aerial Third Party Testing
- General Apparatus Repairs
- Chassis, Engine & Driveline Service
- Hydraulic & Diesel Generator Service
- Electrical Trouble Shooting & Repair
- Hydraulic Trouble Shooting & Repair
- Fire Pump PM & Repairs
- Aerial PM & Repairs
- All Makes & Models
- Restore the vehicle to pre-accident condition
- Full service paint re-finishing for collision repair and refurbishment work.
- All electrical, hydraulic, waterway and cabling system replaced with new, up-to-date production components
- Aerial upgrades featuring the latest technology, such as electric over hydraulic jack controls and ramping controls for platforms
- Re-chassis an existing body to a new custom or commercial chassis
- Meet NFPA 1901, 2009 edition, requirements
- Improve emissions & firefighter safety
- Service your pump or perform a complete pump overhaul
- Repaint, letter and stripe an existing truck
- LED upgrades
- Stainless Steel plumbing upgrades
- 4-door cab conversions
- Body compartment modifications
- Add hydraulic ladder racks
- Add generator and lighting systems
- Upgrade to the latest technologies
The Right Parts Right Now
We have a large stock in running inventory of fire truck parts for your everyday needs and are capable of special ordering of any material requested. We have the capability of handling parts for most manufacturers vehicles as well as the aftermarket parts industry. Parts are also available through our on-line store: www.FireLineEquipment.com
Our service and repair technicians are EVT certified and have attended a variety of training classes provided by manufacturers that provide components on todays complicated apparatus.
At Fire Line Equipment, we pride ourselves on exceptional personalized service. We provide our customers with quality services, replacement parts, new and used fire apparatus and the knowledge required to support their needs. Our staff, consisting of highly trained fire apparatus sales professionals, certified fire truck mechanics and apparatus replacement part specialists, have been in the business of selling and servicing fire trucks and emergency apparatus and parts for many years. It’s what has set us apart from the rest. Whether your fire department is in need of a new E-ONE or FastLane Command Vehicle, used fire trucks, parts and service or technical assistance, our team is here to assist you.