By Ricky Riley
In my neverending search for innovative and cool options, I’ve seen a not-so-new one that is now slowly becoming mainstream in some departments.
In the past, the pump panels on fire apparatus had usually about three choices for their appearance. It was a polished stainless steel, brushed metals, or a vinyl-covered pump panel. Depending on your location and the weather you encountered, these panels could start to show wear pretty early in their lives. Couple that with a lack of attention to proper cleaning and care as well as leaking water stains, and the appearance of the panel could start to look really haggard.
With the popularity of spray-in bed liners on personally owned pickup trucks, naturally we firefighters thought about putting this spray-on protectant on the rigs that we ride at work. It initially started out as a protectant for the front bumper of the apparatus (photos 1 and 2) By spraying this on the top edge of the bumper, departments protected their painted or chrome bumpers from chips and marks. These marks and chips came from the busy front bumpers of apparatus today that can house attack lines, front suction hoses, and a host of extrication and stabilization equipment.
After the success of this application on front bumpers, of course, firefighters wanted to think of more uses for this product. It then started with cab interiors, compartment floors, and finally the pump panel (photos 3 and 4).
This application provides a rugged and, in my opinion, cosmetically pleasing look to pump panels. The protection of this product to this area of your apparatus prevents the nicks and scratches from blind caps and chains attached to them. It also helps prevent the water stains that can appear on the metals and has a clean appearance after washing the rig.
This product has a number of different names depending on the manufacturer. No matter the name, it’s an outstanding way to protect your rig from the day-to-day beating it can take on the streets.
Please send us any pictures of how you use of this option on your rig at @fireapparatus1 or at @TTCombatReady on Twitter.
Thanks for reading this installment of “The Rig,” and we will be on the lookout for the next best option for our readers next month.
RICKY RILEY is president of Traditions Training, LLC, and a captain with the Kentland (MD) Volunteer Fire Department. He worked for 11 years as the operations chief of Clearwater (FL) Fire & Rescue and served 20 years with Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue. He is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board.