Toughness You Can Rely On

5 Common Mistakes on Requests for Tender

At Metalfab, we sometimes see requests for tenders submitted with documents that appear to come straight from the Internet with little review or modification.  The information may be well out of date, not in conformance with a district’s local regulations and completely inappropriate for the requesting department’s needs.   We know it’s tempting to work from an existing online document, but it’s important to spend the time researching best-case scenarios for your own situation.  Getting these details right can save enormous amounts of time and money, so we’re giving some suggestions to get you started.  Your truck dimensions, storage configurations, safety features and on-board equipment should suit your needs in order to avoid unnecessary upgrades down the road. 

Updating a document you found online to fit the needs of your fire station not [...]

The Decision to Winterize Your Fire Truck

Once the leaves have fallen from the trees and the air has become brisk, Metalfab experts often face questions by customers about the “right way” to winterize your primer.  Pumps can be run either “wet” or “dry” over the colder season and there are pros and cons to each approach, while still maximizing the life expectancy of your equipment.  We tell clients that there that there is no one “right way” to approach their winter preparations.  Some departments get an early start to winter, taking precautions far in advance of cold weather to get their trucks ready, while others take it one day at a time and succeed in getting through the winter intact.  This decision is really an individual one depending on a department’s knowledge, capabilities and [...]

In the quickly contracting economic climate, municipal budgets are tight. With fire chiefs looking to save in whatever ways they can, it can be tempting to cut costs on purchases of expensive apparatus, including your truck‘’s chassis cab.

Price is just one of the many facets you need to consider when choosing a chassis cab that‘’s right for you. In addition to price, think about your department‘’s needs for seating space, length, height, turning radius, service facilities, safety features, weight, constituents, paint finish, and drive systems.

It‘’s true that a custom chassis will come with a price tag $100,000 to $150,000 (USD) above the cost of a commercial chassis, but there are a host of reasons to pay this premium.

The obvious difference between custom and commercial chassis is architectural design. Custom chassis [...]

Request for proposal text on brown envelope.

A lot of work goes into preparing a Request for Proposal document, or RFP, as you initiate the process of purchasing a new fire truck. It’s not something you want to waste time revising again and again when you find key pieces have been missed.

At Metalfab, we want to make sure you get it right the first time. By letting you in on a few key steps, we’ll help you better understand your department’s needs before you jump into drafting an RFP. Performing a thorough self-assessment and understanding the necessary elements of an RFP document will ensure you have all of the information you need to write an effective proposal . . . the first time.

Performing a Self-Assessment

Before you begin drafting your RFP, you [...]

Ask almost any career firefighter about volunteers on their force—as we did the other day while walking through our small town—and you will hear the same thing: the difficulty they’ve had recruiting volunteer firefighters in recent years. It’s a problem sweeping departments across the United States and Canada, and it puts a serious dent in the ability of many towns to respond quickly to emergency situations.

While two-thirds of fire departments in the United States are run by volunteers, their numbers have fallen over 15 percent just over the last five years even though call volume has tripled since 1990, according to the National Volunteer Fire Council. In Pennsylvania, the Fire and Emergency Services Institute reports that the number of volunteer firefighters declined from 300,000 in the 1970s to just 38,000 in 2018. North [...]

One of the most difficult topics to discuss is the high incidence of cancer in firefighters. According to data from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), cancer is the most dangerous threat for firefighters today. Sadly, over 60 percent of firefighter deaths in the line of duty between 2002 and 2017 were due to cancer. The CDC and National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety report a nine percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer for firefighters versus the general population.

Gone are the days when grit and soot proved the mettle of a local firefighter. “When I first got on, the more you smelled like soot and smoke, the more work it meant you were doing,” said veteran firefighter William Duesler in the Miami Herald. “Now, it’s no longer a badge [...]

If you are a fire chief, the purchase of a new fire truck may be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your career.   You will be making a decision that will cost your town or municipality no less than $200,000 and probably a whole lot more.  Just recently, we delivered a truck to a Canadian  department that cost upwards of $1 million.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 recommends that departments replace their fire trucks after 20 years of service.  Many will need replacement earlier, because of an accident, mechanical failure or simple wear and tear.  While not mandatory, most departments will abide by this standard to ensure that their equipment is reliable and ready to go when needed.  Most likely, the fire chief—as well as the town—has long anticipated this expense [...]

When it comes time to fighting fire, having the right priming system is critical to delivering water as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Without the right system in place—and an operator properly trained to use it—lives and property can unnecessarily be on the line. 

Priming systems are necessary to remove air from the suction hose and pump in preparation for commencing water flow.  The traditional priming system has three main components:  a priming valve, a vacuum pump and a lubricating oil reserve.  After water is drained from the pump following operation, it becomes filled with air and doesn’t have enough vacuum power to function.  Activating the primer removes air from inside the fire pump, which allows water to begin to flow in preparation for continuous operation.

On early types of fire trucks, automatic priming functionality allowed [...]

The novel Coronavirus has brought pain and heartache to millions of families, including many in our own firefighting communities.  A quick Google search reveals hundreds of local obituaries of veteran first responders who have succumbed to the disease – all leaving behind distraught families to pick up the pieces.

Fortunately, over the past several months, our learning about virus safety and protection has grown by leaps and bounds.  Prominent epidemiologists, infectious-disease specialists and public health experts have quickly educated us about simple and effective steps we can all take to avoid contamination, including frequent handwashing and sanitation, social distancing and mask wearing.

For first responders, of course, the risk of contamination is part of the job, but that doesn’t mean your department can’t be protected against COVID-19.  We have compiled some recommendations for COVID safety [...]

Easy to Sanitize Poly Cabinets

Metalfab is excited to announce the introduction of the new MP-100 Series Cabinets. These cabinets and drawers are made solely of polypropylene. No metal or dissimilar materials are used in the construction. The construction of the units is specifically designed to allow for easy and full sanitization of the unit.

Easy to Sanitize Poly Cabinets

For more information contact Metalfab at 1-800-561-0012 X24 or

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