Off-the-wall, no-barriers ideas can lead to very real and useful innovations. And it was in that spirit that we invited readers to join a virtual brainstorming session on our Facebook page about how to improve fire apparatus.
We asked, "If money and existing technology were no object, what one feature would you like to see on your fire apparatus?" And we got some great answers. Who knows, maybe the first rig the 2022 fire academy graduating class rides on will have radar to detect humans inside buildings, windshield computer display, seat belts that are easy to use and a slushie machine …
Here are the top 10 ideas to improve fire apparatus. Got ideas of your own? Join the conversation.
"An extra pair of hands." — Angelo Seven Can Quintano
"Have robots that could go in for recues when fires are too dangerous for humans to go in. They would also be able to go in and remove dangerous materials." — Gloria Jackson
"Hover truck with laser beams and dumb-driver seeking missiles and cell phone scramblers! Oh, and a slushie machine! It gets hot fighting fires in the desert!" — Matthew D. Norris
"CAFS, saves lives, property and water. Under used, under estimated, and not included on all new deliveries. PFD's now-retired Chief Alan Brunacini insisted CAFS on all new purchases; he also included the use of converting concrete pump truck for use in moving big water for elevated or above ground use." — Felipe Hemming
"Jump seat air bags (in the event of an accident). On the fire-fighting front, it is hard to narrow down a great addition to engines, trucks, rescues etc., because we generally spec out units that fulfill the needs of our coverage area. I don't believe is a problem. However, I do believe that fire apparatus manufacturers could start making airbags standard on all units. Also, they should arrange the placement of safety belts in jump seats to make them more user friendly. Doing this would give no excuses to those who 'don't have time' to put safety belts on." — Ian Nagle
"I would like to see some type of radar or sonar that could sense motion inside a building. The IC could find victims' location as he or she pulls up on scene. Also, you would be able to know exactly where our personnel are inside the building at all times." — Jerrad Anderson
"Roof top, front bumper and rear bumper sprayers that are controlled from the cab for bush fire-fighting appliances. I have been involved in some bad bush fires here in Australia and have unavoidably had flames going over the appliance. So having all-over sprayers in all appliances, not just our tankers, would be awesome. Also I would like a GPS tracking system that includes something like a black box in planes so if the worst thing happens, people can find out what happened to the firefighters in the last several minutes." — Sonya Vinen-Crook
"Computerized and Web-based link to database of all high-risk or special needs populations in the area." — Conni Taylor Wells
"Apparatus with pilot-like heads-up displays on the windshield that the officer can manipulate Iron Man-style for call information and possible 3-D models of structures." — Ryan Pescitani
"I want a quint that has the same hose carrying capability and tank capacity as a standard pumper and has a TIC and GPR on the end of the ladder to find entrapped victims." — Tyler Wilson
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