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Paramus (NJ) Fire Deptartment Makes New Platform Fire Apparatus Its First-Out Truck

 

By Alan M. Petrillo

The Paramus (NJ) Fire Department truck committee was busy in 2014, spec’ing out a pumper and an aerial and refurbishing a mini-pumper. But of major concern, was the necessity to replace its 30-year-old ladder tower that was still performing but showing its age. “That was a very busy year for our truck committee,” says Paramus’s former chief Kevin Sheehan. “We needed to replace our 1985 Hahn LTI 100-foot tower, which was a very reliable truck, but is now in reserve with the department.”

The department comprises four fire companies with 125 volunteer firefighters running out of four stations. It protects the 12-square-mile borough of Paramus, which is 89 percent residential and 11 percent commercial, Sheehan noted. “We have three regional covered malls, the largest regional hospital in the state, numerous office buildings, a multifamily townhouse development, and many healthcare facilities,” he says.

Sheehan says the truck committee came up with relatively generic specs for the platform it wanted, went out to bid, and KME was the sole bidder. Paramus awarded KME the contract for the truck.

Tim Rice, a Paramus volunteer, paid firefighter in Hackensack (NJ) Fire Department, and member of the truck committee, says the old Hahn was an open cab truck, which had long ago lost its allure. “Besides the open cab, the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) storage was in the truck’s compartments instead of seating areas. But with the new KME truck, we gained new riding seats as well as four cabinets of compartment space,” Rice says.

The new KME aerial is a 102-foot AerialCat built on a Predator LDF (long four door) cab and chassis with a 10-inch raised roof. It’s powered by a Cummins 500-horsepower ISX-12 diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS five-speed automatic transmission. Rice points out that the rig is a true truck, carrying neither pump nor water tank.

Overall length of the KME AerialCat is 580 inches, overall height is 141 inches and wheelbase is 254 inches. The truck has Line-X painted compartments, ROM painted roll-up doors, 27-inch deep compartments, a transverse compartment, and 195 feet of Alco-Lite ground ladder storage in its ladder tunnel.

Paramus (NJ) Fire Department 102-Foot Aerial Specifications

Sheehan notes that all of the Paramus ground ladders are stored in the ladder tunnel on their beam ends. “They are easier to carry that way with limited manpower,” he adds. “They all are accessed through the rear under the torque box. We have a 35-foot extension ladder, two 28-foot extensions, two 24-foot extensions, two 16-foot roof ladders, one 14-foot extension ladder, a 10-foot attic ladder, and a 16-foot roof ladder on the fly section of the aerial.”

Jason Witmier, KME’s product manager of aerials, says the 102-foot platform has an elevation range from minus 12 degrees to plus 80 degrees, ¼-inch ice and 50-mph wind ratings, and an unrestricted 1,000-pound, 23-square-foot platform capacity.

William McGuffey, owner of William H. McGuffey Inc., who sold the truck to Paramus, says the fire department wanted a joystick controller on the platform, in addition to the three lever controls at the turntable. “There’s a built-in Iqansystem that controls the rotation speed of the ladder in relation to its extension and elevation,” McGuffey says. “There’s a similar effect on extension and retraction, so there is no whipping at the tip and no shock when it gets to the end of travel.” He adds that the Iqan system is programmable in the field or remotely, where the speed of the ladder and other elements can be modified. Manual overrides are provided for all functions, he says.

Witmier points out that the joystick operation is simple. “You push forward and pull back on the joystick to raise or lower the ladder,” he says, “and a left or right joystick movement either extends or retracts the ladder.”

The AerialCat platform also carries an Onan 10-kW hydraulic generator, two electric cable reels with 200 feet of electric cable and junction boxes, all Whelen LED emergency lighting, six FRC Spectra LED scene lights on the body of the rig (two each side and two at the rear), FRC LED Spectral lighting on the platform, and a Federal Q2Bb siren.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist and is 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.

Paramus (NJ) Fire Department 102-Foot Aerial Specifications

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