Diesel technology plays a key role in protecting public health and safety, thanks to its unique combination of power, performance, reliability, portability and ease of fueling and service.
From powering routine emergency services, to specialized disaster response efforts and sustaining critical functions such as electrical power, drinking water and wastewater treatment systems, diesel is the technology of choice.
According to the National Fire Protection Administration there are just under 30,000 fire departments in the United States. Firefighting equipment estimates include 71,800 pumpers; 7,500 aerial apparatuses; 80,600 other suppression vehicles (e.g., pumpers less than 1,000 gallons per minute , brush vehicles, tankers); 50,800 other vehicles (e.g., rescue, lighting, and ambulance vehicles); and 57,000 stations. All of the major apparatus – pumpers, aerial vehicles, tankers are powered by diesel, as are a majority of ambulances, hazardous material response units and other vehicles.
Coastal and waterway cities also depend substantially on diesel-powered fireboats as a key aspect of marine and port safety and rescue services. These fireboats with multiple diesel engines driving the vessel as well as high-capacity pumps typically have water pumping capabilities exceeding 5,000 gallons per minute.
Wildfire fighting in the west not only utilizes conventional fire apparatus but a fleet of diesel-powered bulldozers that enable cutting of firebreaks through rough terrain and brush. These are frontline responders in controlling spread of wildfires.
In the United States in 2021 there were 20 natural disasters due to adverse weather conditions, with the cost of each exceeding $1 Billion U.S. dollars (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). From western wildfires to Hurricane Ida, the intensity of weather-related events is increasing. Rescue and recovery efforts after natural disasters continue to demonstrate the vital role of diesel power first-hand.
Beyond the initial emergency services response, construction machines and material handling equipment help in rescue, recovery and rebuilding operations clearing debris, helping reopen roads and rebuild communities. Diesel also is used to power National Guard high-water rescue vehicles, provide backup electrical power through generators and lighting systems, run supplemental water pumps and portable refrigeration units.
Diesel technology plays a diverse role powering many key aspects of homeland security and national defense. There are many diesel-powered applications such as self-contained mobile command centers to commercial vehicles and refrigerated trailers, mobile generators and light towers, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and state and local emergency and relies heavily on diesel powered engines and equipment.
Diesel engines are also a central part of our military services, fueling a wide range of tactical, transport and support vehicles.