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10 Safety Items to Consider on Your Next Fire Apparatus

By the KME Product Management Team

    The safest place in an accident is inside of the custom cab, as proven through cab loading and crash testing. KME’s Total Occupant Protection (TOP™) system includes IMMI’s RollTek™, which provides air bag protection that automatically deploys in a rollover situation. These airbags, located at each outboard seating position, work in conjunction with a seat belt lock-down pretension system to keep the occupant in a safe position inside the cab and to protect the occupants’ heads from striking the glass or other objects in a rollover incident.
    KME’s TOP system includes IMMI’s 4Front™, which provides air bag technology for additional protection of the driver and officer. Upon achieving a specific G-force, the driver air bag deploys from the steering wheel, which prevents the driver from striking the wheel and/or windshield as well as shielding the driver from objects that may come through the windshield. The officer air bag deploys from the lower front dash, protecting the officer’s knees from striking the front dash and causing lower leg injuries.
    ESC monitors the ABS system and steering wheel position to detect apparatus slide as well as potential apparatus rollovers. When a slip or potential roll is detected, the ESC system can control individual wheel braking as well as throttle to bring the apparatus back under control. By monitoring the steering wheel position, ESC can adjust to the corrections the driver is making to help safely bring the vehicle back to normal operating conditions. Automatic traction control (ATC) is also a standard additional feature included with the ESC system, which aids in preventing wheel slip—especially important around turns.
    Several years ago, technology was developed to provide backup camera’s on vehicles to allow a clear view behind the vehicle to limit backing accidents. The new 360-degree camera systems deliver even better visibility as they provide the operator with a live look around the entire vehicle envelope. The picture on the screen looks similar to having a drone hovering above the apparatus at all times. This system helps operators clearly determine whether the vehicle is clear of obstructions, including things like front bumper clearance in a tight turn, and rear wheel approach to a curb. And on apparatus like aerial devices with a large overhang, it provides assurance that the rear swing is not going to strike an object and can even help place outriggers in relation to the surrounding environment.
    In many departments the person sitting in the right front seat is the “officer” in charge of the apparatus, and responsible for the crew. An officer is expected to assist the driver with directions, road and traffic condition observations, and apparatus placement on the fire scene. An officer speedometer provides the officer with another tool to better monitor the apparatus response apparatus and provide feedback for the driver during emergency response.
    Envelope control uses position sensors and device monitoring to determine the position of the aerial device. By always knowing the position of the aerial device, danger zones can be programmed in so that the aerial device cannot be run into a dangerous position, like striking the cab with the device, removing a scene light located beneath the device, or moving the device over a short-jacked side of the apparatus which could cause a catastrophic failure of the device.
    Many aerial devices are equipped with a load minder, which detects pressure in the lift cylinder of the aerial device in its current position. This provides an indication to the operator if they are overloaded for the current position and warns them of this condition which can prevent damage to the device.
    Tire pressure monitoring systems like the Conti-Pressure system monitor real-time pressure of each individual tire as well as tire temperature. Indication inside the cab of the current pressure and temperature alerts the driver of potential problems or pressure loss, which could prevent an accident from happening when a tire lacks proper pressure. Along with this feature, tire pressure equalization systems (Crossfire) and Central Tire Inflation Systems (CTIS) can be provided for optimum tire pressure management.
    Advanced technology in 12-volt LED lighting has provided a variety of color, size, and brightness for scene lighting. These lights can now be located in areas beneath the apparatus, recessed into upper areas of the apparatus, as well as in specific positions to illuminate areas like the rear tire or behind the apparatus. By having these lights with improved brightness and fast 12-volt on/off access, operators are able to properly illuminate the area around the apparatus during response to clearly see if they are in a safe position.
    Another possible safety item to consider is properly locating and mounting items inside the cab. These items can become missile-like projectiles in the event of a sudden braking event. The safest way to provide these additional items in the cab is to have them secured inside a cabinet. KME provides a variety of EMS-type compartments for inside the crew area of KME cabs, with inside and outside access as well.

The KME Lock-N-Load™ hosebed is a treadplate cover that rolls back onto itself, allowing one person to roll it back and lift it completely out of the way. This design is ergonomic and allows one person to safely raise and lower the cover. While in the open position, positive locking gas struts keep the cover open at no less than 60 degrees, and the cover locks in the closed position along with “open door” sensors to notify the driver if the cover is not locked.



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