RollTek for Fire Apparatus FAQs
1. How does RollTek work?
A sensor inside the cab continuously monitors the truck’s stability, and if it detects an imminent rollover, it initiates up to three events per seating position. First, the system tightens every firefighter’s seat belt to keep them securely in their seats. Second, it pulls down suspension seats to their lowest position to increase survivable space. Third, the system inflates side airbags in every outboard position on the truck to cushion head impact and reduce head and neck injuries during the rollover.
2. Are the RollTek seat pretensioners the same as those that are used in passenger vehicles?
While similar in concept to passenger car products, RollTek pretensioners have been designed specifically for commercial vehicles.
3. Where is the roll sensor located?
The roll sensor can be located in various locations of the cab, depending on the fire truck manufacturer. Most commonly, it is located above the headliner between the driver and officer’s position. Placards are placed on the headliner directly opposite the sensor to notify personnel of the sensor’s presence and to prevent unintentional damage from drilling, riveting or other equipment maintenance/installation activities. The roll sensor itself is about half the size of a VHS tape and is labeled with a visible warning label that warns of the risks of mishandling the sensor while under power and connected to the safety devices.
4. What fills the airbag?
RollTek airbags fill with a non-toxic gas mixture comprised mostly of nitrogen.
1. Where is the airbag mounted?
Airbags can either be mounted in the cab or in the seat. Please contact your truck manufacturer to find out about the locations of the airbags in your apparatus.
2. How long does it take the RollTek components to deploy?
The entire process from activation to deployment takes less than a quarter of a second (.234).
3. How does the roll sensor know when to activate the protective devices?
The roll sensor deploys RollTek’s protective components based on the vehicle’s angular position and the angular rate, defined as how quickly the vehicle is moving through the 90-degree roll. When an imminent rollover is detected, up to three events are initiated per seating position.
4. Will the RollTek system deploy in a frontal collision?
If the vehicle is available with both RollTek side roll protection and 4Front® frontal crash protection in partnership with the vehicle manufacturer, both systems will deploy. If the vehicle is equipped with a frontal sensor from another manufacturer, RollTek is not designed to deploy in a frontal collision.
5. Will RollTek deploy if I take a ramp too fast?
No, the RollTek roll sensor only deploys the safety systems when a rollover crash is taking place. The “smart” sensor is programmed to constantly monitor and analyze factors such as the vehicle’s side angle (or tilt) and roll rate. RollTek will ONLY deploy when the rollover is unrecoverable.
6. If RollTek deploys, what do I need to know about rescue?
IMMI offers an educational program for first responders to assist them at the scene of an accident in which one or more vehicles involved have the RollTek side roll protection system or the 4Front frontal collision protection system installed. The Emergency Response Guide (ERG) provides guidance, recommended practices and procedures for dealing with a RollTek or 4Front system that has been breached, burned, deployed or has the potential to deploy during normal rescue and extrication activities.
1. How does the seat pull-down work?
The RollTek roll sensor triggers the seat pull-down when it detects an imminent roll. The seat pull-down is connected to both the inner-connect point bar (ICP bar) on the seat and to the seat belt. The pull-down is powered by an inflator (similar to those used in airbags) that pretensions the seat belt and pulls the suspension seat to its lowest position.
2. Will the system work if a firefighter is not wearing a seat belt?
Yes, the system will deploy regardless of whether the driver is wearing a seat belt. However, the RollTek system relies on seat belts as its primary restraining device. Although an unbelted passenger may be afforded some protection by the airbags, unrestrained occupants are not safe in a crash, and it is important that all vehicle occupants are seated and belted at all times.
3. How do I know if my RollTek system is operating properly?
During normal operation, the roll sensor constantly monitors the status of each component of the RollTek system. If the sensor determines that something is not right, a fault light will be illuminated to notify the driver that a potential problem exists. When the fault light is illuminated, a factory-trained service technician must check the system. A RollTek diagnostic tool is now available that reads all roll sensor faults and displays them in a graphical format. For more information on this diagnostic tool, call (866) 765-5835.
4. If my truck has been in a rollover will I need to replace the RollTek system?
For your own safety, RollTek components are designed for one use. If your vehicle is involved in a rollover, the RollTek system and seat belts must be replaced. Do not attempt to repair or restore any damaged components yourself.
5. If my truck has been in a frontal accident, do I need to replace the RollTek system?
If your truck is in a frontal accident, IMMI highly recommends that your sensors be replaced. Seat belts worn at the time of the accident also must be replaced (pretensioners included).
6. Where does the smoke come from?
RollTek employs pyrotechnic components to activate the side roll airbags. When the roll sensor sends a signal, a small charge is used to activate these components, resulting in the smoke you see.
7. Does RollTek meet Federal standards?
There are currently no Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that require anything more than a two-point belt for vehicles weighing more than 8,500 pounds. RollTek was developed with the guidance of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards for the design, manufacturing, operation and maintenance of commercial vehicles.
1. How much does the RollTek system cost?
The cost of the system varies by manufacturer. Please contact your truck manufacturer for more information.
2. Which manufacturers offer RollTek-equipped fire apparatus?
Today, Pierce, KME, Ferrara, Spartan, Seagrave, E-One, Sutphen and HME offer custom fire apparatus equipped with RollTek.
3. How long have RollTek-equipped apparatus been in the field?
RollTek-equipped apparatus have been available since June of 2003.
4. Can RollTek be retrofitted into older apparatus?
While RollTek can be retrofitted into older trucks, the cost of testing and retrofitting is typically more expensive than buying a new vehicle already equipped with RollTek. If you would like more information on retrofitting, contact the OEM for possible retrofit in existing trucks.
5. What is the service life of RollTek?
The RollTek system has a 20-year service life. Contact the manufacturer of your apparatus for more warranty information.