When it comes to keeping tires on their trucks, volunteer or underfunded county fire departments must follow federal, state and local regulations despite budgeting concerns.
Firetruck tire issues may be causing your department to spend extra money you don't have on expenses over and above the cost of new tires, so choose commercial truck tires and accessories for your station's engines with these thoughts in mind:
Fires and tires are best approached scientifically
You train and study and train some more to become proficient in fighting fires. If you rely on your trucks to help you do your job and carry you safely to and from fiery job sites, you or someone on your crew must study and understand the relationship between your truck tires and the jobs you do.
Tires that are the wrong size for the truck, improperly balanced or under-inflated may make the truck unstable at the very worst and fuel-inefficient in the best case. Determine the complete weight you're placing on tires, check tire pressures at least once a week on all vehicles and stick to a routine rotating and tire maintenance schedule so you notice problems before they become dangerous.
Station chiefs and assistants should stress the need for monitoring tires on volunteers' vehicles as well, especially if vehicles carry winches, plows or other emergency response equipment. Have pressure gauges, compressed air, and other tire care products available at the station for your volunteers' use to help them keep their vehicles road-worthy.
Investing in specialty tire monitoring can help understaffed departments.
Emergency vehicles are already required to have tire pressure monitoring (TPM) systems on their service fleet. Elaborate smartphone apps or simple screw-in caps meet this requirement equally. But should your department go further with TPM and invest in additional equipment and backup tire pressure monitoring?
If your current system catches low or high pressure tire situations--and you have a scheduled tire maintenance program with enough staff to actually follow through with the schedule--your current system may be enough.
If your station's firetrucks are going through tires rapidly, you're seeing increased fleet fuel costs or it's time to buy new tires all around, do some research on advanced TPM systems that offer early alerts to key personnel. Many new systems also collect performance data on mileage, speed, etc. to help you track tire wear and fuel-efficiency. These systems can save you labor costs if they are reliable and you have them installed by professionals.
Tire manufacturers list weight and performance limits on their websites to help you select the correct tires to carry the full weight of your trucks and firefighting tools. Your tire specialist will also know the best tread types to choose for firetrucks working in your regions's terrain and climate. All of these factors should be considered for your next fleet tire selection.
For more information, contact Evans Tire & Service Centers or a similar company.