Who wants their new fire truck custom built? Better question… Who doesn’t want their new fire truck custom built? Imagine for just a moment that you can have everything exactly the way you want it when taking delivery of the department’s newest pride and joy.
Customization of fire service vehicles in this day and time seems to have become a thing of the past for most manufacturers. But why? Is it possible that most manufacturers have become so large and unfocused on the needs of fire departments that they no longer care about what you want? It’s almost to the point that the word “customization” is looked upon the same as a four-letter dirty word when it comes to discussions about fire apparatus: but it shouldn’t be, and isn’t for all manufacturers.
Fire apparatus customization is the entire basis for normal day-today operations at Southeast Apparatus. Custom building is what sets this company apart from the other emergency vehicle manufacturers that run cookie-cutter assembly lines and offer you what they want you to have.
Southeast Apparatus offers a full range of custom-built fire service vehicles, including mini-pumpers, pumpers, tankers, rescues, brush rigs, utility vehicles, command vehicles and specialty trailers that are each individually constructed to meet their customer’s specifications; and they offer their high-quality custom work at a pricing comparable to builders who offer not-so-custom work.
“We are constantly engineering and developing new design processes to improve apparatus quality and make trucks more user friendly while still maintaining competitive pricing and offering our customers a custom-built truck,” said Office Manager Angela Moore.
Attention to detail and striving to meet individual needs and design requirements of each customer has earned Southeast Apparatus a wide and loyal customer base that includes both volunteer and career fire departments nationwide.
Southeast Apparatus and its employees have such a strong belief that each apparatus should be a unique and custom design, very specific to the department that will be using it, that they offer design and specification writing assistance to any department at no charge. A simple telephone call gives you an actual person to speak with — not a recording — who will listen to exactly what you want and need and will assist you one-on-one in creating the exact apparatus that your department wants and needs.
Having your apparatus custom built doesn’t mean that delivery times should be extended. Construction times at Southeast Apparatus generally fall below the industry standard lead time, since the employees are more interested in meeting their customer’s needs than the number of apparatus they deliver. All of their fabrication processes are performed in-house, by firefighters, which enables them to be in total control of when your new truck is ready to perform.
“Our emphasis during fabrication is on adaptability to meet our customer’s needs in the shortest amount of time possible with the highest level of quality using the most affordable products available on the market,” said fabrication manager Robert Ooten. “Both of the owners, Jonathan Wise and Kevin Williams, as well as most of our fabrication crew members have been volunteer and career firefighters, and we consider this to be an invaluable piece of insider knowledge during construction because we know exactly how to build our trucks to be as efficient as possible for those who use it based on actual user experience. We are truly firefighters building fire trucks for firefighters.”
One of the latest designs Southeast Apparatus is excited about is its mini-pumper, which is priced much more affordably than any other mini-pumper on the market, starting at $149,000. Its compact design offers over 170 cubic feet of compartment storage space, up to a 1,000 GPM mid-ship pump, up to a 400-gallon booster tank and a spacious hose bed with an all-aluminum, rescue-style, double highside body design. Already popular are the wet or dry light and heavy rescue models that provide their customers with affordable, extraheavy-duty custom construction and a highly customizable design. They still offer multiple designs of their wet-side or dry-side tankers, full-size pumpers, brush rigs and specialty trailers that are all completely able to be modified to meet each department’s specifications.
Anxious owners-to-be of a new Southeast Apparatus custom vehicle particularly enjoy the fact that they can check in on the progress of their truck at any time regardless of their location or schedule. Pictures are posted online each week at www.southeastapparatus.com to show how each truck has progressed regardless of what stage of construction it is in.
“The apparatus progress page on the website was definitely created with our customer’s interest in mind. We update the page at least once each week, but sometimes more often if significant progress is made. To my knowledge, we are one of the few fire truck manufacturers offering this service,” said Moore. “Customers can watch progress being made on their truck over the internet and save valuable time and money that they would have otherwise spent traveling to check in on the progress of their truck.”
Southeast Apparatus offers all of the vehicles they manufacture on the customer’s choice of cab and chassis, including International, Kenworth, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge commercial chassis as well as Spartan or HME custom fire chassis. All the custom-built apparatus bodies being offered have been in production for a minimum of at least 10 years.
New custom-built apparatus are not the only line of services offered by Southeast Apparatus. Refurbishment, retrofitting and remounting are among the long list of their capabilities for fire, rescue and EMS apparatus. Extensive warranty packages are offered for each remount, refurbishment or new apparatus to guarantee the life of the product you are purchasing. Apparatus warranty packages are available for nearly all used fire, rescue and EMS vehicles even if you purchased them from another company.
Southeast Apparatus also operates a full-service paint and body shop to include accident repair, custom vinyl graphics department and a full-service maintenance shop with a mobile maintenance vehicle. Southeast Apparatus can take care of virtually any fire service vehicle need, including mobile pump testing, pump repairs, hose testing and hose repair. If your department conducts EMS operations, Southeast Apparatus is the Kentucky authorized dealer for American Emergency Vehicles ambulance line. If you are in the market for a more economical alternative, ambulance remounting and refurbishing is also available.
An individual, service-first approach has put Southeast Apparatus at the top of the list for apparatus manufacturers. The Kentucky-based manufacturer and all of its employees pride themselves on the unmatched quality, fabrication, assembly and finishing of each custom-built vehicle they manufacture. You owe it to yourself and your department to contact a Southeast Apparatus sales representative for information on your next custom-built emergency vehicle.