Winter is upon us and we know it can prove to be the toughest season for firefighters, especially those in rural areas. We want to answer the question today: “How should I prepare my Midwest Fire apparatus for the harsh winter weather?” Most of our apparatus are constructed with All-Poly® material, which is both lighter and tougher than comparable materials used to build fire vehicles. The body of an All-Poly® vehicle is made of redesigned polypropylene in place of stainless-steel and aluminum. Polypropylene is a rust-proof, corrosion-proof material that is lightweight while remaining strong and rigid. The impact-resistant bodies are more resistant to accidents or downtime, and unlike stainless steel or aluminum, the raw poly that makes up the lockers on the body of the truck doesn’t require a coating of a protective spray-in liner.Therefore, if you have one of our trucks you are already in great shape for a successful winter! That said, here are a few things you can do to further improve safety and functionality when duty calls:
- Ensure that the engine anti-freeze is filled to the recommended level and hasn’t exceeded its useful life.
- Confirm that all vehicle chassis fittings are lubricated. These out-of-sight parts shouldn’t be put out-of-mind, as they can take a harsh beating from sand and other road grit over the course of a winter.
- Check that tires are properly inflated, and that tread wear is not beyond recommendations.
- Certify that windshield wipers are in good condition and that the windshield washer reservoir is filled with a water/anti-freeze solution appropriate for winter temperatures.
- Equip all apparatus with a supply of ice-melting agent — calcium chloride or rock salt — when freezing temperatures are possible. A 25-pound bag is likely the minimum amount you will want on hand, with up to 50 or 75 pounds for more frigid areas.
- Verify that the appropriate diesel fuel additive has been used to support the chassis, raise cetane levels, improve lubricity, and enhance overall performance.