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from Bob Vaccaro,
I always like to see a new technology when it comes to fire apparatus. I have seen a great deal in my 42 years in the fire service but probably more in the past 10
years than ever before with the advent of computers and
the digital evolution that came about during this time.
More and more ideas have developed concerning computers and fire apparatus—some good ideas and some
bad. I won’t report on the bad ideas; you’ve probably had
your own experiences with some of those.
At the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC)
International this year, a new product was unveiled.
Even though it was a prototype, I think this one will be
a keeper. What I like most about this product was that it
was designed by a firefighter for the fire service.
Phantom Controls was founded by Jason Cerrano,
who is both a career firefighter and a mechanical
engineer. In 1999, while attending college, Cerrano
started his career in the fire service as a volunteer.
After graduating, he decided to pursue a full-time
career in the fire service. During his career, Cerrano
developed the concept for an automated fire pump
with remote capabilities to allow the operator to move
about the scene and work with the crew.
According to Cerrano, the idea for Scene Apparatus
Manager (S.A.M.) came about three years ago when he
started working on the design. It came about because,
while pumping at a fire, he became frustrated. Cerrano
is a St. Louis (MO) city firefighter with a degree in
mechanical engineering, so he was able to bring the
technology he knew into the fire service.
Cerrano said the idea took off at FDIC with not
only firefighters but several fire apparatus manufacturers being interested in his concept and design.
HOW IT WORKS
Here’s a little background on how S.A.M. works.
S.A.M. is a fully automatic pump control system. The
system will control the entire pumping process; the
operator simply asks for a pressure on a discharge and
S.A.M. will deliver it. The operator can control S.A.M.
from both a portable tablet and from a touch screen
on the truck. S.A.M. is programmed to make the same
decisions an operator would if he were standing at
the pump panel. S.A.M. will alert the operator of any
Phantom Controls’ fully automated fire pump
controls the entire pumping process
St. Louis Engine 10 with
S.A.M. installed. (Photos by