KME Panther PRO Rescue-Pumper
The Coplay (PA) Fire Department needed to replace a 30-year-old engine and an equally aging rescue truck. But instead of purchasing two new vehicles, it decided to merge their functions into a single rig, a rescue-pumper.
“We were replacing a 1986 Mack engine and a 1984 rescue squad,” says Brandyn Bechtel, Coplay’s assistant chief. “The engine was an open-cab model, and there were lots of mechanical issues with the rescue squad, and it was no longer feasible to keep repairing it. We spoke with a few local dealers about having them build us a rescue-pumper that would function as a standard engine and a medium-duty rescue, and KME came in well under what we anticipated budget-wise, so we went with KME.”
Coplay is a one-square-mile borough in Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, with a population of 3,300, Bechtel points out. The department has 15 volunteer firefighters working out of a single station with the new rescue-pumper and a 2010 KME pumper, covering mostly single-family dwellings and an eight-block commercial district with high-density buildings.
“We have some tight alleys in town, so we needed a vehicle that could get into them,” he notes. “That meant the new rescue-pumper had to be under 35 feet long, but still have enough storage space to be able to take all the equipment from our old pumper and the squad.”
Keith Weaver, saleperson at KME, says KME built Coplay the rescue-pumper on a Panther medium four-door chassis and a 204-inch extra-long PRO pumper body of 3/16-inch aluminum with a 10-inch raised roof, seating for six firefighters, H.O. Bostrom ABTS seats with SecurALL™ SCBA locking systems, and a Hendrickson FIREMAAX® air ride suspension.
The PRO rescue-pumper incorporates a 22-inch-wide pump box holding the main discharges and intakes and the pump controls in the L1 compartment next to the pump box. The pump is a Waterous CXS 1,500-gpm single-stage unit, and the water tank holds 750 gallons.
Weaver notes that directly above the pump box are two 1¾-inch crosslays on slide-out polypropylene trays, each holding 200 feet of hose, and a crosslay holding 200 feet of 2½-inch hose on a slide out tray above them. The rescue pumper’s front bumper holds 150 feet of 1¾-inch hose, there’s a 2½-inch discharge in the hosebed, and the rig’s deck gun is a Task Force Tips 1,500-gpm Hurricane with an 18-inch Extend-A-Gun. The driver’s side pump box has a 2½-inch discharge, a 6-inch intake, and a 2½-inch intake. The officer’s side has a 6-inch intake, a 2½-inch discharge, and a 3-inch discharge with a 4-inch Storz coupling.
The rescue-pumper is powered by a Cummins 450-hp L9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, has a 200-inch wheelbase, is 33 feet 5½ inches long, and 9 feet 8 inches tall.
Bechtel says the new rescue-pumper carries 1,000 feet of 4-inch supply line and 600 feet of 3-inch hose in the hosebed, which is covered with KME’s Lock-N-Load™ hosebed cover. The top of the rig has three coffin compartments on each side, one of which houses a pair of HURST hydraulic hose reels. Coplay carries its rescue tools in the R2 compartment, including a HURST 5000 series spreader, combi, cutter, and three rams. A HURST electric hydraulic pump is mounted in the compartment, which also holds a HURST portable gasoline-driven pump.
The rescue-pumper is set up to carry three backboards, one stowed in the enclosed ladder tunnel, and the other two in a coffin compartment, as well as a Stokes basket stowed above the ladder rack. In the crew cab, an EMS cabinet holds a medical bag, suction equipment, oxygen equipment, and an AED. The rig has backlit Hansen handrails, Whelen LED emergency lighting, and six Whelen M9 Super-LED scene lights—one on each side of the cab and two on each side of the body.
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.