The Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) is an annual opportunity for the team at Pierce Manufacturing to talk with firefighters, service members, fire industry leaders and administrators about industry-leading advancements and to share how we are continuing to push the boundaries of innovation.
In case you missed us, here are some of the innovations and topics we shared at FDIC 2023.
When it comes to the safety of firefighters, ergonomic design principles play a vital role in safety and efficiency. From the cab to the pump panel, every part of a fire truck should be designed to focus on the comfort and accessibility of firefighters. Including ergonomic principles in truck design can help reduce firefighter's risk of injury and improve task performance.
By putting firefighters first and applying ergonomic-centered design principles, we can create safer and more comfortable working environments for those who put their lives on the line every day to keep communities safe.
Pierce Manufacturing’s custom chassis don’t just meet safety requirements; they set safety standards.
Pierce custom chassis start with frame rails that are some of the strongest in the industry. The heavy-duty 13 inch framerails come as standard on our Enforcer™, Impel® and Velocity® chassis and Pierce is the only fire truck manufacturer in the industry to offer E-coat corrosion protection to protect those rails from a lifetime of wear-and-tear.
Built off the strength of the framerails, Pierce offers a wide range of suspension systems. From the most basic Leaf Spring design all the way to Pierce’s proprietary TAK-4® suspension systems, customers have options to meet their needs.
- The proven, proprietary technology found in the TAK-4® Independent Front Suspension system incorporates a torsion bar, independent suspension and high-performance braking. The military-grade TAK-4® Independent Rear Suspension enhances performance even further with maximum control and outstanding ride quality while still providing a low maintenance system.
- The TAK-4 T3 suspension system combines the advantages of the TAK-4 Independent Rear Suspension with a mechanical rear steering system. This is a maneuverability difference-maker that creates an even tighter turning radius on Pierce custom apparatus.
- The demand from customers for the TAK-4 suspension has been so great that Pierce is now making the TAK-4 front independent suspension available on the Saber custom chassis – a great addition to the Saber product line!
Pierce Manufacturing’s fundamental focus is creating apparatus that assist in bringing firefighters safely home to their families at the end of their shift. This doesn’t only include safety on the fire scene, but also inside the apparatus as they travel to and from stations, scenes and situations.
Pierce custom chassis safety options include:
- Frontal air bags
- Side roll protection
- And electronic stability control
The integrity of Pierce Manufacturing’s custom cabs in crash situations puts safety at the forefront. NFPA requires cabs to have one attachment point intact in a crash at 1-times energy, and some fire apparatus manufacturers rely on the cab lift cylinders to provide that attachment point. But not Pierce.
Pierce Manufacturing doesn’t rely solely on the cab lift cylinders to be the holding point to protect a firefighting crew in a crash situation. We exceed the requirements by designing all custom cabs to withstand not one, but two times frontal impact energy while maintaining attachment of both the lift cylinders and an additional four attachment points, making Pierce the unmatched manufacturer for cab integrity.
No custom chassis would be complete without the brawn of a powerful engine. Pierce Manufacturing has the broadest powertrain offerings in the industry. The PACCAR MX-13 is an exclusive Pierce engine offering that provides impressive acceleration and torque out-of-the-gate while still optimizing fuel economy and extended service intervals. The Cummins X15 remains a constant for Pierce customers and the Cummins X10 will continue to support customers into the future, with its production date in January of 2026.
Pierce Manufacturing leads the way with innovative technology, including multiplexed electrical solutions, connected vehicles and advanced telematics, ensuring firefighters have access to advanced tools and equipment both on the fire apparatus and on the fire scene. Pierce has been at the forefront of technology in the fire industry and is proud to build on that legacy.
Pierce currently offers several advanced technologies, including:
- Pierce Manufacturing’s Command Zone™ electrical solution provides world-class capabilities that can’t be found in other multiplexed or traditional hardwired electrical systems. All electrical functions integrate seamlessly into discrete Input and Output modules for outstanding reliability and flexibility. Our Command Zone electrical system provides unmatched serviceability, flexibility in customization, and advanced real-time diagnostics.
- Pierce Command Zone is the advanced electrical option for Pierce custom chassis. A full-color, industrial-grade display is able to operate in all conditions. Whether it is with the touch of a hand or in extreme conditions with heavy gloves, the Command Zone system gives real-time data of truck operations and truck health to the operator from inside the cab or outside the vehicle.
- The Wi-Fi capability of the Command Zone system enhances Pierce custom apparatus operation and serviceability.
Pierce’s Command Zone electrical solution, along with ClearSky™ telematics, have laid the foundation for the future of Pierce fire apparatus. This foundation allows new electrical options to be integrated onto the truck directly through the Command Zone system.
The Pierce® Volterra™ Pumper
Pierce Manufacturing is charging forward with the Pierce Volterra™ electric fire apparatus. The Pierce Volterra zero-emissions electric pumper was the first electric fire truck placed in service in Madison, Wisconsin nearly two years ago. Since then, our commitment to providing a solution to meet municipality’s sustainability initiatives and reduced carbon emissions requirements while still meeting the needs for safety, reliability and service for the firefighting community hasn’t wavered.
The technology behind the Volterra platform of electric vehicles consists of a patented parallel-electric drive train featuring an electro-mechanical infinitely variable transmission—or EMIVT—which allows zero-emissions operation when powered by the integrated on-board batteries, and is coupled to the internal combustion engine to provide continuous and uninterrupted power to the pumping system or drive system.
- The Pierce Volterra pumper obtains its power from the cleanest source possible—the grid—and operates under electrical power in all normal operational situations.
- The EMIVT operates at maximum rated capacity in full electric vehicle mode for all standardized pumping configurations, up to 2,000 gallons per minute, and continues to deliver that maximum rated capacity through an internal combustion engine, ensuring uninterrupted power to the pumping and drive system for long-duration situations.
Technicians who work on the truck will find the Pierce Volterra apparatus holds the status quo when it comes to maintenance for both service and cost of ownership.
- The cab, pumphouse, body, chassis and customary components are Pierce-standard on the Pierce Volterra pumper and are situated in a traditional configuration.
- Other than within the centralized high-voltage enclosure, standard maintenance can be conducted on the entire vehicle – front to back – without the need of additional high voltage training or tools, by any trained technician. High voltage components are not co-located with any other part of the truck, keeping maintenance and repair costs for the Pierce Volterra pumper aligned with other fire apparatus.
- Our battery solution has a standard 6-year warranty with an option for 12 years, and our patented EMIVT electric transmission has a standard 5-year warranty.
Pierce also showcased the Striker® Volterra™ ARFF at FDIC, which demonstrates the breadth of electrification vehicle experience. The Striker Volterra ARFF is not just another new electric vehicle, it’s over a quarter century of innovation and fire fighter’s feedback incorporated into a revolutionary new ARFF vehicle. The Striker Volterra ARFF has undergone four years of testing, demonstrations and production readiness resulting in the smartest, most innovative and environmentally conscious ARFF product built to date. The traditional Striker ARFF accelerates from 0-50 in 32 seconds while the Striker Volterra ARFF accelerates 0-60 in an unprecedented 25 seconds!
Take a closer look at the Pierce Volterra pumper and the Striker Volterra ARFF now.
Next Generation PUC
The Pierce Ultimate Configuration™ has transformed the fire industry and challenged conventional thinking about how to package a fire truck. The PUC™ pump eliminated the pumphouse so you can build your apparatus around the needs of the firefighter mission and not the water pump. It minimizes the vehicular space used for fire suppression and maximizes space for equipment while still providing big pump, foam, and CAFS capabilities. The Pierce PUC pumper is purpose-built.
- The PUC pump is the clear choice for chiefs, whose main concern is the safety of their firefighting team.
- Firefighters find the PUC pump’s worth in their ability to start battling a fire quickly because of its ease-of-use.
- Mechanics value the PUC pump’s simple serviceability.
- And administration and municipalities appreciate the low cost of ownership the PUC pump provides.
The safety of firefighters is at the heart of Pierce Manufacturing’s mission and is carried out in the engineering and design of the PUC pumper.
- The positioning of the pump panel allows the pump operator to work independently while other firefighters manage the hose and discharges, eliminating the chaos and potential hazards of firefighters trying to work over one another on a scene.
- Crosslays and hose beds are lower on the truck than a traditional configuration, an ergonomic enhancement firefighters will appreciate.
The PUC pumper exhibits all the reliable features of a traditional pumper product but improves the ease-of-use, performance, and serviceability for anyone involved in the fire industry.
At Pierce Manufacturing, protecting firefighters is what we do. Our fire trucks are built to live up to the demands of firefighters and the communities they serve. Firefighters pour everything they have into fighting fires—the Pierce team pours everything they have into making sure every fire truck is ready to perform.
What were your big takeaways from FDIC? We’d love to hear more in the comments!