This time, Bruno Marcanet had assembled a history of garage door opener jamed fire-fighting vehicles in the forests of Souvigne, drawing from the French Fire Service particularly vehicles that were originally born in the USA. The French have a certain design flair which cant be ignored and its especially distinctive in their fire appliances; their coach-builders not only built a vehicle which would ultimately do the job, but looked good doing it, too. While the compulsion in todays world is to standardise vehicles to make for parts commonality, low stock-holding and for the workforce to be familiar with one standard concept or design, we go back a few decades, when the bean-counters werent quite so prolific, and building something that looked good, but still did the job, created competitive designs among the major companies. France also has recently moved into this standardised world.
Now the first emergency turn-out vehicle is a very ordinary van, on a Peugeot or Renault chassis, although their contents are both extraordinary and life-saving! Technology has moved us to a safer place, where fire, accident and medical assistance is saving many more of our lives. From the view of a vehicle design enthusiast, Marcanets collection goes back to a time when garage door opener jamed actually mattered and fire appliance design wasnt just a box on wheels, but a serious attempt was made to make the bodywork something to be admired. French is a difficult language to master believe us! and although not wanting to drag you kicking and screaming into a French lesson, it is important to guide you through a comparison of the appliance names and to compare them to their British counterparts where we can. In the world of fire-fighting appliances, the vehicles have always been categorised by acronyms, examples like the TL, the MP and the PE it is necessary to know that if there is one thing that the French adore, its a good acronym.
Some gentle translation is inevitable, as it is important to explain the difference between a snorkel in the UK and a bras elevateur' in France, a direct translation would be a lifting arm. Firemen and women are called sapeurs-pompiers phonetically sapper pompi-ay in France and now referred to as SPs. Generally, the force consists of full-time professional firefighters and volunteers -and unlike Britain, volunteers outnumber full-time firefighters by 400%. In the Haute-Vienne department of central south-west France, one particular area of less than 400 square miles has six major fire stations Centres de Secours with five or six appliances each. They can also call on garage door opener jamed equipment from other town forces such as turntable ladders, or snorkel units; they take emergency services here very seriously.