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Design Critique: Products for People

Encouraging usable designs for a better customer experience.

Oct 28, 2018

Fire Department Chief Dan Phillips joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about designing the new fire engine for Plymouth Township, Michigan. How does a fire department decide which features are most needed, most wanted, and affordable for a given budget and for the the engine's coverage area?

Unlike most passenger cars, a new fire engine is custom built and takes ten months to deliver. Their cost is over half a million US$. The pressure is on a department to get it right, because the service life of a fire engine is 15 years active duty and 5 additional years in reserve. The new engine balances several values:
* Provide safety for the local citizens and their property
* Provide safety of the firefighters who use the truck every day
* Provide good financial stewardship of limited public resources to get the best solution for the budget.

You can see our Public Safety Committee's short documentary videos on the obsolete current fire engines at

Our first new fire engine is a Pierce Enforcer. Check out Pierce's website for the Enforcer and other models they make:

Thank you to the men and women working in fire departments everywhere.