If you’ve ever looked closely at a fire engine you may have noticed the size of the front bumper. Reaching out as much as 2 feet in front of the cab, these are referred to as extensions. Our Avionic Structures division manufactures fire engine extensions, along with painted and stainless steel bumpers. Here’s why Fire Departments around the country are investing in these, and how we help them meet their requirements.

About Fire Engine Extensions

Fire Departments usually operate both fire trucks and fire engines. The trucks have the long ladder mounted on top while the engines, or pumpers as they’re often called, are packed with hoses and other firefighting equipment.

Fire engine extensions increased the protection afforded by the bumper. Extensions span the full width of the vehicle and can be as much as 24” deep. The corners are often angled at 45° to reduce the turning circle slightly. Fire departments have taken to asking that these larger bumpers be used to add space for some additional equipment.

Equipment mounted on an extension, or carried in “wells” (recessed pockets or cubbies) on the upper surface can include:

  • Sirens – often recessed into the front face of the bumper or mounted on the deck
  • Air horns
  • Tow eyes
  • Preconnects (for hoses)
  • Steamers (suction inlets)
  • Hoses
  • Wrenches

Fire engine bumpers (the front surface of the extension) are usually fabricated from stainless steel, and polished to a bright shine. The flat deck surfaces are typically made from aluminum or stainless tread plate.

Reasons for Adding Extensions

A deeper bumper improves frontal protection, which is important when talking about a vehicle costing $500k or more. However, for many Fire Departments, the bigger benefit is the additional storage, and that the equipment carried is in a very accessible location.

Placing steamers and preconnects on the extension, for example, enables faster hose connections when arriving at the scene of an incident. Storing hose in a well on the deck achieves the same goal.

Extensions are also ideal mounting places for sirens and air horns, blasting sound forward so other drivers should be able to hear the approaching engine clearly.

Importance of High Safety Standards

Fire engine extensions aren’t just decorative, they are much more than glorified storage lockers. They are an essential piece of firefighting equipment and as such they need to hold up to heavy loads and rough treatment. They are going to be walked across, bumped into, pulled, and pushed in all directions. The firefighters relying on them should have complete confidence in them performing reliably and without failure.

Why Avionic Structures for Fire Engine Extensions

Extensions are heavy-duty, highly engineered pieces of firefighting equipment. And as firefighters take great pride in their equipment there’s an expectation they will look good too.

Part of Wiley Metal Fabricating, Avionic Structures (ASI) has for many years been a leading manufacturer of stainless steel bumpers for fire trucks. We cut, drill and bend these to tight tolerances before polishing them to an intense shine. (And unlike chrome, there’s no unsightly flaking if the bumper collects a dent, as is likely.)

Extensions were a logical next step, combining our bumper expertise with our extensive metal fabrication capabilities. With advanced cutting and forming equipment, coupled with extensive design engineering skills and decades of experience, we produce extensions that meet and exceed the needs of Fire Departments serving rural, urban, and suburban communities.

Rescuing People, Protecting Property

If you’re unfortunate enough to be caught up in a serious incident or find yourself on the scene of one, you probably won’t spend much time inspecting the extensions on the fire engines. The firefighters though will be very glad to have them. They’ll be hooking up hoses within seconds of their arrival, using tow hooks to pull obstacles or debris out of the way, and grabbing the wrenches and other items stored there the moment they are needed.

Here’s the bottom line: fire engines are important, life-saving vehicles. The extensions we make help the crews manning them do their jobs even better.

Experienced, Skilled, and Capable

If you’re in the market for fire engine extensions, we can help. As an established metal fabrication business with a long track record of success with bumpers and other structures, we understand what it takes to make equipment that’s functional, durable, and yes, good-looking too.

If you need fabrications for other applications, from trucks, trailers, and RVs to agricultural and industrial equipment, we’ll be happy to help with those too. Contact us and let’s talk about what we can do for you.