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February 23, 2004

Now this is a REAL Fire Appliance

The photo is of a Dennis "Sabre" Fire Appliance (that's a Fire Truck to readers from the US and a Fire Engine to everybody not in the Fire Service). It weighs in at 14 tons fully laden and can deliver 900 gallons of water a minute with the largest pump configuration available on the "low pressure" side and 65 gallons per minute through the hose reels at pressures of over 30 bar (450 psi) on the "high pressure" side.


It is a purpose built chassis which is not sold for any other use and the drive train combines a Cummins turbo-charged diesel engine with an Allison "New World" six speed transmission. The top speed is over 80 mph and it has a superb braking system to match - fitted with a skid check system as well.

These vehicles are unique in that the cab is designed around a complete "crew safe" concept and it is side, front and corner impact tested as well as being strengthened against roll over. Even the windscreen is fitted with "bandit proof" glass to ensure that, if struck by any form of missile it will not break. Side windows can be so fitted as well as an "optional extra". A further unique feature is the arrangement of the pedals. Dennis has the brake pedal set alongside, but ahead of, the accelerator, making it almost impossible to slip from the brake pedal onto the accelerator. The pedals are also designed to be operated by someone wearing size 14 boots!

The company have done their homework extremely well and all their dashboard layouts are identical on both sides, so it is simply a matter of specifiying where you want the driving position.

Their range includes the "Rapier", an 11 ton low floor and chassis line "urban" pump ladder unit with a high tech chassis spec, and the "Dagger", also an 11 ton vehicle but on a lower spec chassis. Where the Rapier is capable of hitting the ton up in speed, the Dagger is marginally slower. All Dennis vehicles are built on a low centre of gravity giving them really impressive handling characteristics - particularly in cornering, but the Rapier is the one which really impresses at this trick as, at 7.5m overall, it can turn through 360 degrees in just 13. 5 metres of swept arc. What is more, from a standing start it will accelerate up through its gears in a full lock turn until the back tyres are smoking and the driver loses his nerve - but it will keep all its wheels on the ground all the way.

The Dennis company makes these three fire appliance chassis' as specialty units to order, its main line of business is buses. And these perform every bit as well as the Fire Appliances. As we used to say when I was on the active lists - "If it ain't got DENNIS on the front, it ain't a fire appliance!"

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 23, 2004 03:37 PM

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It looks as though someone took that out in the mud to play !!

Posted by: MommaBear at February 23, 2004 05:38 PM

Damn, that's a sweet looking machine...

Posted by: Paul Jané at February 23, 2004 10:09 PM

BTW, those in the fire service in the US call them 'apparatus'. How much water does is carry for immediate response on scene before hook-up ??

Posted by: MommaBear at February 23, 2004 11:54 PM

is...it...close enough !! :-)

Posted by: MommaBear at February 23, 2004 11:55 PM

I still like the firetrucks that have all terrain capacity though, nothing like a truck that wade 2 metres and scale 50deg slopes, loaded. ;-)

Posted by: Fred at February 24, 2004 01:59 AM