Challenges of attempting to retrofit vehicles

As a recent NIOSH report demonstrates, tinkering with vehicles can have severe unintended consequences


One of the great things about firefighters is our ability to make do with less.

This quality is certainly being tested as fire departments around the nation struggle to continue providing essential fire and emergency services to their communities — with limited resources.

Vehicles are an area where many departments try to save money by deferring maintenance, extending planned replacement intervals, or retrofitting general purpose vehicles to perform specialized tasks.

As this story demonstrates, however, tinkering with vehicles can have severe unintended consequences.

Unfortunately, like too many of the causes of firefighter deaths and injuries, this is not a new issue.

Several years ago the United States Fire Administration published a report titled: Safe Operation of Fire Tankers (tenders).

Among other things, this document highlights the challenges of attempting to retrofit vehicles originally designed for other purposes into fire department apparatus.

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