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Capital Region Business Beat: Roberts Fire Apparatus

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Albany/HV: Capital Region Business Beat: Roberts Fire Apparatus
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RENSSELAER, N.Y. -- When an emergency call comes in, there's no time to waste.

"When that truck goes out the door, everything's got to work right. You're talking about men's lives and women's lives," Harry Roberts said.

Roberts is the President of Roberts Fire Apparatus in Rensselaer. The company designs, sells, and services emergency vehicles.

"We come in from the tires up. We meet with our customers and design the truck, whether it's a pumper, whether it's a rescue, whether it's an aerial," said Roberts Fire Apparatus Vice President Jacqui Swedick.

Roberts Fire Apparatus was started 14 years ago. It has helped departments buy and design new trucks, and maintain a large number of fleets from as far north as St. Lawrence County and as far south as Greene County. It also services emergency vehicles in Vermont.

Roberts said the business comes with a lot of pressure.

"It's got to be able to pump water, got to function correctly. It's a big responsibility and you certainly have to be focused on it," said Roberts.

Once designed in Rensselaer, trucks are manufactured at E-One plants in Western New York or Florida. When they return to the Capital Region, Roberts Fire Apparatus adds items like hoses, customized paint, and electronics. The small business can be considered the last line of defense before emergency vehicles are put into action.

"We don't ever want to see anyone get hurt," Roberts said. "We're constantly refreshing our guys and ourselves with factory training because things change in this business rapidly."

Swedick said their job holds extra meaning.

"It is special on so many levels. We have to opportunity to meet some great people," Swedick said. "The brother and sisterhood of area fire departments and EMS departments are just fantastic."

For more information on Roberts Fire Apparatus, go to .

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