1. #1
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    Default THE FUEL CRISIS / Fighting Back

    I think it is time that someone started a thread in here that can be a clearinghouse for cost saving methods for these volunteer departments in dealing with the ongoing crisis of fuel costs. This problem is not going to go away; it is a reality that we must face head-on and I can think of no better place to start discussions and dialoque than right here.

    Let's get our collective thought process working for us here until the industry can come up with hydrogen fuel cells or an alternative to fossil based fuels. I am not a tree hugging zealot but, surely there must be ways that we can share to assist us in extending the available budget dollars we have without significantly decreasing the levels of public safety that we offer.

    And please folks, let's not advocate the violent overthrow of another country as the solution; personally I have seen enough war for a lifetime! I also don't wish for this to be a rant and rave about the oil companies. We all know that the quest for the almighty dollar will not cease and that as long as there is a profit to be made and a demand that will pay it, the oil companies, and our politicians that they control, are not going to devote much time, or their profits, to alternative fuel sources.

    What we are looking for here are viable methods for us to employ which we may not have ever considered when in the past we have traditionally never really worried about the actual cost of fuel. Come on now; put on your thinking caps. There are some very, very brilliant minds that come in here and post all the time. Time to put some of that out of the box grant thinking towards another solution here.
    Kurt Bradley
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    There is only ONE realistic solution that will have any significant impact on fuel costs for motor vehicles in the next 30years. DRILL OIL WELLS IN THE US (and construct new greenfield petro refineries in the US). Drill off the East coast, drill in the Gulf, drill off the West coast (and in Ca), drill in Alaska/the frozen wastelands. Drill on the Whitehouse lawn if oil is in the area. Come drill in my front yard.

    The left wing wackos in the US (and you know what party most are in) demand that the Arabs increase their production in order to reduce crude prices but they continue to prevent drilling of oil wells in the US. They cover under the cover of a nonexistant threat to and of irrelevant possible damage to left handed curly tailed albino jackelopes (or some other critter/shrub). In reality they just hate capitalism.

    Electric production is not far behind oil/transport in the "crisis" situation. Short term new coal fire plants. With modern emissions controls they are no "threat to the environment". Medium (10yr) and long term BUILD NUC POWER plants.

    Forget about the nonsense of hybrids, biofuels, windmills, solar ____, hydrogen etc. Popular Science magazine (science fiction) nonsense and gimcracks. In microscale trails may work but none have any economic justification or practicality.

    The solution? 1.) Contact your senator/congressman and damn them for not expediting drilling for oil in the US. 2.) Everytime someone spouts "global warming", carbon credits, ethanol, "environmental ______" smack them behind the left ear and point them in the direction of a 2nd grade education.

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    neiowa, I knew you couldn't resist that urge....LOL!Oh and by the way, I could not agree more with you more but..... till then?
    Kurt Bradley
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    Some won't (and shouldn't) like it...and NFPA will choke on it....but

    Limited responses. For that common alarm, reduce the responding vehicles. For the vehicle fires, reduce the responding vehicles. In "rural" areas, let responders go directly to scene and update/reduce the overall response.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Some won't (and shouldn't) like it...and NFPA will choke on it....but

    Limited responses. For that common alarm, reduce the responding vehicles. For the vehicle fires, reduce the responding vehicles. In "rural" areas, let responders go directly to scene and update/reduce the overall response.
    There you go! Good arguement for proper sizeup and follow up communications to turn the un-needed trucks back around. How about turning off the truck if its not needed instead of idling it for two hours in standby?
    Kurt Bradley
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    To add to Bones' remark, quit sending fire trucks that get anywhere from 2-8 mpg on medical calls. Respond a brush truck or some other small vehicle (motorcycle?) on these calls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    To add to Bones' remark, quit sending fire trucks that get anywhere from 2-8 mpg on medical calls. Respond a brush truck or some other small vehicle (motorcycle?) on these calls.
    HHHMMMHHHH! Hope some of the "thinkers" at AFG might reconsider their priorities for vehicle awards for rural agencies maybe! Making that quick response vehicle or a smaller rescue truck a priority!
    Kurt Bradley
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    Default HOLD on boys and girls

    I agree that we need to address the fuel costs, however reducing responses is not the answer / and having folks go to the scene adds another whole problem- improperly equipped members on the scene. And when I say improperly equipped I am not referring PPE / SCBA.

    Yes there are certain situations whereby a reduced response is called for, however the flip side is this: You send less, and end up needing more, now there is an even greater delay and YES it can and will happen.

    I agree that we need to start drilling some holes into our soverign soil and more over we need to get the apparatus Mfg's to start pursuing alternative fuel options.

    Just my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFD2181 View Post
    I agree that we need to address the fuel costs, however reducing responses is not the answer / and having folks go to the scene adds another whole problem- improperly equipped members on the scene. And when I say improperly equipped I am not referring PPE / SCBA.

    Yes there are certain situations whereby a reduced response is called for, however the flip side is this: You send less, and end up needing more, now there is an even greater delay and YES it can and will happen.

    I agree that we need to start drilling some holes into our soverign soil and more over we need to get the apparatus Mfg's to start pursuing alternative fuel options.

    Just my two cents.

    AFD that's why I wanted to do this; we need pro and con here. What would work, what would not, and why? Thanks
    Kurt Bradley
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    Drilling probably would solve some of this but, all the stuff I have read says that even if they started drilling tomorrow they woud not have a new plant on line to refine it for 10 years and they are already at capacity in the refineries we have now. Maybe we should tie our generous foreign aid to barrels of oil instead of just giving it away willy-nilly every day.OOOPS there I go off on poloitics. Hard to keep that out of these discussions.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Here's a thought that is sure stir up the union guys....

    Why don't more communities require Police and Sheriff's to be EMT-B's...
    They are already riding around...
    Around here they show up to a lot of the medical calls already...
    Let's put 'em to work stabilizing the patient...
    That would minimize the need to dispatch an engine to a medical call, just because it's closer than the ambulance.
    Only dispatch an engine if a deputy/police unit isn't available.

    .. and given the bed-side manner of some of the law-enforcement that I know, that would also cut down on the frequent flyers....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy2802 View Post
    Here's a thought that is sure stir up the union guys....

    Why don't more communities require Police and Sheriff's to be EMT-B's...
    They are already riding around...
    Around here they show up to a lot of the medical calls already...
    Let's put 'em to work stabilizing the patient...
    That would minimize the need to dispatch an engine to a medical call, just because it's closer than the ambulance.
    Only dispatch an engine if a deputy/police unit isn't available.

    .. and given the bed-side manner of some of the law-enforcement that I know, that would also cut down on the frequent flyers....
    I know some Public Safety Departments around here in Florida that do that now Andy and I am aware of a Sheriffs Dept in Flint, Mi that does it now also.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy2802 View Post
    Here's a thought that is sure stir up the union guys....

    Why don't more communities require Police and Sheriff's to be EMT-B's...
    They are already riding around...
    Around here they show up to a lot of the medical calls already...
    Let's put 'em to work stabilizing the patient...
    That would minimize the need to dispatch an engine to a medical call, just because it's closer than the ambulance.
    Only dispatch an engine if a deputy/police unit isn't available.

    .. and given the bed-side manner of some of the law-enforcement that I know, that would also cut down on the frequent flyers....
    In Greenwich, CT the PD handles all first response. While FD has trained EMS personnel, we don't do any medical calls.

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    Default engine upgrades?

    I have a friend who is working on new technology for the DOD. One way to cut fuel costs is to have the combustion motor run at optimum efficiency and power a generator/alternator that then provides electric motors at the drive wheels. The truck would be run at peek efficiency and greatly reduce fuel burn. If they can design this technology into troop transports and new light tanks I think they can figure out how to build it into fire trucks.

    How about AFG offering funding to upgrade outdates engines? We have an 1981 Ford with a 370 cu. in. engine. I bet there are a few more of those around. How about AFG money to convert these to diesel? Or at least to upgrade the gas engines to more modern fuel injected models.

    We can burn our waste oil from oil changes in waste oil burners in the fire hall. We may not save fuel to drive our vehicles but we can save fuel to heat our departments.

    Run generators at the scene for lighting instead of running our trucks and powering scene lighting from an idling engine. The smaller engines are trypically more efficient.

    I suggest more design work in multi-functional trucks or a reconsideration of AFG funding guidelines to cover these multi-use vehicles. We are hoping for a pumper/tanker from this year's AFG. That will give us 2000 gallons and 1250gpm. Instead of running tankers and pumper seperately, I think AFG should favor these dual use vehicles in rural areas. I also like the quint as a multi-function aerial. If we can reduce the number of vehicles responding without compromising the equipment provided to support our safe operations on scene I think it can be a win:win.

    Just a couple of ideas to add to the discussion.

    Any enhancements/improvements are going to need federal intervention either through AFG rules or legislation. We need our friends in Congress to help us push these type of items.

    Jon

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    Red face

    Soft bill. Three false alarms a year for free then bill them hard. Soft bill the insurance company per unit, supply, and manpower. Unable to pay, soft bill medicare, Dept of Human Resources, or State services. Let the fire department issue a fire insurance surcharge policy to it's fire protection area businesses and residents that will waiver the soft billing. Just a quick thought Kurt, Oh boy here we go!
    Last edited by atrea1; 06-09-2008 at 07:06 PM. Reason: mis spelled kurt

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    In most cases combo units win out anyway because of the increase in cost-benefit of a multi-use vehicle for little extra over a single use.

    The combustion motor powering an electric for propulsion is a decent idea, and it's been used in ships for a long time. Only way to really pull the torque since electrics outdo combustion in that arena. The thing is, would that really save any resources to make it a cost-effective solution? How much more would the price of the truck go up versus the savings in fuel? I'm looking at that now on hybrid vehicles to replace the wife's Trailblazer. The Tahoe Hybrid is $50k to start, versus the decked out regular Tahoe for $30k (MSRP on both). Am I going to save $20k in fuel over the life of that vehicle? Not since the MPGs aren't vastly different. Looked at the same with the Ford Escape, $9k price difference for 10 MPG more on the hybrid.

    On our trucks we're not going to save a whole ton, we need the big diesels to run the pumps, PTOs and everything else. Running less and running fewer trucks on calls is a definite and valid answer. If an ambulance is in the same station as the pumper, why is the pumper going on a BLS call? If the two people on that ambulance can't do the job by themselves and they need a pumper crew to help with carrying stuff or a stretcher, sounds like they need some old school folks I know to teach them how it's done. When I ran up north we never had an FD first-responder on any calls, most of the time just two bodies, driver and paramedic on the ALS units. Never saw patient care suffer. Been on a few scenes down here where we had too many cooks spoiling the soup.

    On fire calls, do we need a pumper on a CO alarm call where the residents called and no one has any stated symptoms (because the dispatcher did their job and asked)? Why not a chief's car with a meter? If they have any symptoms when they call 911, roll the calvary. Alarm system, in VFD setting why not send 1 truck hot and hold the rest at the station? As Chris said, everyone responding to the scene lends itself to other issues, but mainly it doesn't save any fuel overall since everyone is driving their own vehicles in addition to the trucks running the call.

    Drilling more is something that needs to be done, but as someone else pointed out it's the refining capacity that's the real issue. And not really with foreign oil either. A friend in the industry said the Middle East crude looks just like the 10W30 we pour out into the motor, very little refining needed. Everything coming out of this hemisphere looks like what we drain out of the car after 10k miles, full of impurities, so lots of refining needed. And no capacity to handle what's coming in from all angles so they need to build more. The BP plant that blew up is still not back online, and I think there are a couple in Louisiana still not at full capacity. But if they're making money hand over fist and not spending it on refining then no pressure on them to do it. Then again let me rephrase that and say they have a right to make a profit since those turn into raises for the working folks next year as well as research projects. The one side of the politicos seem to think profits are evil, but if workers want a 3% raise in the next year then profits need to go up at least 2-3% to cover those extra costs.

    Overall long term is cutting back where we can, more hydro power, nuke plants, wind, solar, etc. Oil will run out eventually. We need to go back and think more like Ben Franklin and the founding fathers who tried to live by the 7th generation philosophy that the Native Americans did: make decisions thinking about how they will affect 7 generations down the line. We're their 7th generation, and how trashed are we leaving the place for our kids and grandkids?
    Last edited by BC79er; 06-09-2008 at 08:09 PM.

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    Close every drive up window in the country, this should save millions of gallons of fuel every year, not waiting in line. This will also get some of those folks out for at least the walk to the counter.

    I know this has nothing to do with the Fire Service but I needed to say it.

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    The biggest problem I have with nuke power is what do we do with the half-spent fuel rods? We're already burying them in a mountain. I'm sure someone is working to figure out how to use the other half, but perhaps it's time for more people to try to work on this little project, which I'm sure will require tons of federal grant monies for that kind of project.

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    I'm with you BJ, people drive to dang much for stuff. As long as it's something small I don't drive to Home Depot, Walmart, our favorite Mexican place, or the grocery store anymore, all less than 2 mile walk. Seen people in the 'hood drive 3 blocks to the pool. I did see a neat Modern Marvels the other week that had a compressed air car. Almost 200 mile range on the thing. Get solar panels running a compressor and the thing would be dang near without a footprint.

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    Talking

    Unless things have changed recently since crude hit 100.+ a bbl, there are thousands of oil wells in this country sitting idle or capped off. Why you ask ?? because they produce cheaper oil by importing clean sweet crude from the arabian penninsula. This means higher profits for big oil and less need for expensive refineries. Then we give them tax breaks for not pumping this american oil.

    We have been running our trucks on Biodiesel for 3 years and it's been an experiment in lowering our fuel bill. We are running B-20 made by recycling all the fryer oil used to serve the tourist fried clams and onion rings. now that big brother the government has stuck it's nose into regulating the businesses that were producing it , the cost has gone up to the point that there are minimal savings. The truck exhaust smells good though!

    Gasahol is a joke as the product can't be shipped by pipeline and ethanol producers are giant agribusinesses that are getting massive federal tax breaks to buy all the corn that they can produce and turn it into ethanol, thereby taking the corn out of the food chain and raising cost for all of us to eat.

    Wind power can substitute electrical generation by fossil fuels but only in those rural areas that will allow them to be built. won't make much of a difference in the giant urban areas.

    solar while clean is not cheap or a very efficient way to produce large quantities of KWhours. fine for smaller scale usage. but the electric companies don't like to buyback from small generators.

    Water power is probably the most overlooked & underutilized source we have. but the granola crunchers want all the dams torn down so that nonexistant fish can spawn up river.

    Nuclear power is a viable source only when we figure out what to do with the spent fuel rod assemblies and the mid & low level waste.We still have fissionable materials from 25 years of generation sitting in concrete casks, years after shutting down the plant a few miles from here and no answer of what to do with it for the forseeable future.

    Hydrogen is probably one of the best fuels in the future ,but big oil will not want this to happen as there go their record profit margins. There is an unlimited potential for energy with this process, but very little money is being spent in research. Less money per year than we are spending for a single day in Iraq.

    There is a small demonstration hydrogen power project being run by a small non profit educational group here that are running their entire enviromental education center with alternative fuels. their vehicles from cars to tractors all run 100% recycled bio diesel , their electricity is solar and wind their heating ,& cooking is all hydrogen and methane digester powered.

    Ok enough of my rant !!!
    Ed

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    Default Not just Fuel all Energy Use

    Electrical cost that the power companies are charging (kwh) have doubled sinse last year.

    We have installed controls that turn off the HVAC System(s) whenever the apparatus doors go up. Once they go closed HVAC comes back on. Have seen a savings of several hundred dollars in the 3 months we have had it.

    Getting ready to install motion sensors in all rooms. These will turn off the lights and TV when no one is in the room.

    Were an EMS & Rescue Company can't do a whole lot about reduced responses, if fact our responses are up 8% from last year. Ambulances only get 10 mile per gal.

    nc

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    Quote Originally Posted by nc1130 View Post
    Electrical cost that the power companies are charging (kwh) have doubled sinse last year.

    We have installed controls that turn off the HVAC System(s) whenever the apparatus doors go up. Once they go closed HVAC comes back on. Have seen a savings of several hundred dollars in the 3 months we have had it.

    Getting ready to install motion sensors in all rooms. These will turn off the lights and TV when no one is in the room.

    Were an EMS & Rescue Company can't do a whole lot about reduced responses, if fact our responses are up 8% from last year. Ambulances only get 10 mile per gal.

    nc
    Great stuff guy. Now put a few solar panels on the roof and retrofit existing light fixtures to LED arrays and your savings will continue to multiply.
    Kurt Bradley
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    I come from a privately run dept who contracts between two towns. We currently purchase our diesel from the local extramart. There has been talk about purchasing our own fueling station. tank, pump, ext. that way when the price of diesel is low we can buy more than just 100 gallons of it. Hopefully filling a 2000 gallon tank will get us a better discount on the diesel itself on top of not being subject to paying pump price when ever we need fuel.

    Our fire house also has heating oil fired furnises. Since the building is 50+ years old there was talk of taking out a mortgage (we own everything except one truck free and clear) to both modernize the building and fix areas in need of repair. it's a steel building that has fiberglass insulation that isn't the most efficient. We might have someone spray foam the entire building. it should yeild us up to an r-72 in some areas. the energy savings will definately help offset the cost of the renovation.

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    Another thought that is starting to happen around here is for an AFA ect. in a multi-company / dept. response is the unit closest to the incident responds hot (except for troubles) and the secondary responding companies respond cold unless told otherwise. Obviously the idea is thrown out for "more critical" calls. You tend to be a little more forgiving on the go pedal when responding cold.

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    Talking Things we have done already

    Installed lighting timers sensors to shut off security lighting during daylight hours.
    Installed more energy efficient flouresent lighting in engine bays. big difference in lumens and half the cost to run.

    Installed high effiency exterior lighting on both stations.

    We run a b-20 biodiesel , less emmissions and was lower cost than conventional diesel. about the same now.

    Looking to install new engine bay heater for better fuel efficiency.

    Replacing a 1982 chevy 454 gasser with a F550 mini brush/pumper truck for traffic accident response and other details that don't require full engine capabilities.

    More changes to come in the future

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