Blanchat Mfg., Inc. is located in Harper, Kansas (about 45 miles southwest of Wichita, Kansas). Blanchat Mfg., Inc. was established in 1978 and incorporated in 1988. Blanchat Mfg., Inc. is owned by Greg and Kristi Blanchat.
Blanchat Mfg., Inc. started out manufacturing farm equipment including plows, grain carts and hay trailers. Blanchat Mfg., Inc. still produces plows today and is known for being one of the largest suppliers of moldboard plow parts in the nation.
Greg Blanchat has been a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years. In 1988, Greg was thrown off a fire truck and nearly killed during a wildland fire. Greg quickly recognized that fire departments did not have fire trucks designed to maintain firefighter safety while fighting fine fuel fires. In 1989, the BATROPS (Blanchat Apparatus Transverse Roll-Over Protection System) was introduced and Blanchat Mfg., Inc. began producing interface fire equipment. The next decade brought more of a demand for fire equipment, phasing out farm equipment production.
Blanchat Mfg., Inc.’s typical customer base are volunteer/rural fire departments which have five main problems:
- Water: The luxury of hydrant systems does not exist in rural environments. Blanchat equipment is designed to pump at capacity without water readily available.
- Manpower: Depending on the time of day a call comes in, a rural department may be lucky to have two men close enough to respond in a timely manner. Blanchat trucks are designed so that they can be operated by a single man.
- User-friendliness: Volunteer/rural fire departments do not use their equipment every day. In order for a volunteer firefighter to respond quickly in an emergency scenario, the equipment must be user-friendly. Blanchat apparatus are designed with this in mind.
- Function: All Blanchat fire apparatus are designed with multiple functions in mind. For instance, a truck may be designed to handle both wildland and structural type fires. All Blanchat fire apparatus are designed to change functions at a moment’s notice.
- Safety: Volunteer/rural fire departments have more wildland than structural type fires which requires a completely different set of safety features. Blanchat apparatus are designed to maintain the highest level of safety for firefighters using the equipment.
Necessity and the belief that there is “always a better way” are the driving forces behind Blanchat Mfg., Inc. innovations. To date, Blanchat Mfg., Inc. has built over 350 fire apparatus located all over the USA and Canada.
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