101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Sunday, September 6

Sunday Fun - Your first

They say you always remember your first.

No matter how many came after, regardless of shape, size or ability, that first one will always have a special place in your heart.

My first was this 1976 International 10 speed double clutch 1000 gallon water tender. We shared some great experiences together and at times was my only friend out in the middle of nowhere on an abandoned car fire or running as fast as we could (mid 40s) to a freeway accident.

I learned from her that if you take care of your equipment, there is still no assurance it will work when you arrive on scene.
Aside from the water, she carried 8 pieces of assorted cribbing, 50 feet of supply line, two preconnects and a shovel. That was it.
Every time we went to the gas station on the other side of town she would backfire...loud enough to make folks duck. She had no primer motor and the light bar gave out from time to time, but it was experiences like that that taught me to expect the unexpected and adapt to ever changing situations.

Do you remember your first?

5 comments:

9-ECHO-1 said...

Wow...first ambulance was a 1972 Cadillac/ Superior rasied roof unit. It was white, had the great big V8, and Superior's "CPR Package" for the patient compartment. Equipment include a big, black, honkin' AMBU bag and Thomas half-ring traction splints without ankle hitches (we made them out of triangular bandages).

First fire truck that I got to drive was a 1957 Chevrolet p/u with an Ansul Magnum skid loaded Purple K/AFFF fire unit in the back. It was worn out by the time I got on it, and the steering was all over the road. And the doors would sometimes just open, for the heck of it, while you were running down the taxiways....

Frank said...

Not only do I remember my first (from when I was just a kid, so not technically a rig I ever operated), but I recently bought one of her seven identical sisters, 22 years after I last saw her.

The Engine 17 Project

Little Girl said...

Oh Axxon 8000 how I remember you .... watching for the lights to blink as a call was coming in .... and how I missed the dos base computer commands.

Those were the good old days .... now have to deal with Intergraph and all its little quirks. :)

Fire Critic said...

Oh yeah. It was in the back seat of my....oops.

Nevermind.

I read the last question and now I have read the whole post.

My first was a 1984 Mack CF. I loved it. It was good to work off of and a great engine...even if it was yellow!

mack505 said...

Ahh, HM, I remember her well. 1963 International Harvester R185/Howe. 750GPM, 500 gallons of water. Square gears; not only did you have to double clutch, but if you missed, you had to STOP and start again.

RFD Engine 3

By the time I got my hands on her, she was living out her golden years training new operators and tanking water for brush fires. She had a mechanical gear primer which you had to engage and disengage with the clutch.

Carried lots of hose, and two Scott IIa AirPaks in boxes on the rear step (which we were still riding.)

In 1993 she went on to a second life with a small department in VT, replacing an even older rig. We sent her with a full load of hose, and she reportedly was a bit of a local legend in the mid-90s.

I hear she was recently finally retired. I've thought of looking for her, but I don't have the time, money, or garage space to give her justice.

Her replacements have both been great trucks, but you never forget your first love.