1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I never got the idea of doing this. Spend thousands on a fire truck, then have it sit at the fire house and do miss a fire because you were riding around in your little pick up doing EMS.

    How much wear and tear do you really put on it anyways? How often does your FD replace their trucks?
    Our engines get replaced every 15 years.

    That being said, running a 4-door squad on a F-350 chassis on all EMS calls has proven to be very effective, as compared to our heavy rescue. It simply makes sense to keep the big horse in the barn when the little horse can do the job at a smaller cost.

    We purchased the 4-door squad last year. Previous to that, we had a 2-door squad with the same body, but it was only used when there was staffing of 2 or less. When we had staffing of 3-5, the heavy was run as primary EMS.

    We use the two door version at 2 of our volunteer stations with live-in volunteer staff. A third volunteer station that will be housing volunteer staff in the near future has a QRV with 300 gallons of water and a 250 gpm pump.

    Note: Combo department with 2 paid firefighters and 2 paid admin (who run calls as needed) daytime and 1 career firefighter nights. We usually have several volunteers riding out day and night.

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    I would like to see an actual cost breakdown of this, not just the thought that a smaller vehicle is cheaper to operate than a bigger one. Have you thought of the full cost or just the operating cost?

    To save money by not sending the $300,000 engine on a call, you have to buy ( from what has been stated above ):

    A 4 door diesel 4 wheel drive pickup truck. Ford gives the price of that new at $44,500 for the no-frills bare bones base model.

    Add warning lights and radio communications plus the cost of labor to install.

    Lettering with FD logos

    Now, how to carry equipment. Truck bed topper and slide-out or are you going with a purpose made body? May be a big investment for the body. Numbers vary.

    Cost to insure an additional vehicle?

    Cost of additional gear to equip vehicle?

    Projected maintenence costs over service life?

    Fuel useage?


    All these numbers need to be known to determine if the smaller vehicle can get a big enough return on it's original investment to more than pay for itself by taking the place of the bigger engine on certain calls. These numbers can be compared to the costs of the bigger engine, costs which should be known if you keep track of expenses.

    If you don't save enough money to even cover the costs of the smaller vehicle then you did not save a dime, you spent more. If you spend a dollar to save 25 cents, you are out 75 cents.

    Now, this does not cover the the pro's and con's of differing apparatus. This is strictly a cost issue I am asking about.
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    At my career department, I would never advocate the use of a quick-response vehicle for EMS runs. As E34a pointed out, crew integrity is a big thing.

    Over here in volly land, we use a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban for EMS runs. Using the Suburban works well for us for a number of reasons:
    • We can staff this with one or two people, leaving enough personnel to staff the big yellow engine if a fire or other emergency is received.
    • With a first-due area of 72 square miles, taking the engine on an EMS run increases the chance that the engine will not be as centrally located as possible should a fire get dispatched.
    • A great majority of our EMS calls can (and are) be handled with one person, so we don't have to take our limited manpower pool make them unavailable for the inevitable fire or vehicle accident.
    • We don't have to wait for a full engine crew to arrive to respond to the EMS call.
    • As rural as we are many houses with long set backs, the Suburban is easier to routinely navigate these long driveways, and keeps the wear and tear down on the engines.
    • In the event of a cardiac arrest or other incident needing additional manpower, the engine can still respond.

    As for the replacement cycle, the county budgets enough money to replace every vehicle every 20 years. Based on the number of stations and vehicles we have, this is one heavy vehicle (engine, tanker, or heavy rescue) and one small (brush truck, EMS vehicle) per year.

    Our station is entertaining the idea of a combined EMS/Brush unit (something like the California "patrol" units posted earlier in the thread) in the future. With the decline in brush fires and increase in EMS runs, this is a viable option for us.

    DFD, as for the cost issue, we've never studied it, and even if we found that we were spending a dollar to save 50 cents, it still likely wouldn't change our response protocols, as we've found a system that works pretty well for our jurisdiction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFDMAXX View Post
    I would like to see an actual cost breakdown of this, not just the thought that a smaller vehicle is cheaper to operate than a bigger one. Have you thought of the full cost or just the operating cost?

    To save money by not sending the $300,000 engine on a call, you have to buy ( from what has been stated above ):

    A 4 door diesel 4 wheel drive pickup truck. Ford gives the price of that new at $44,500 for the no-frills bare bones base model.

    Add warning lights and radio communications plus the cost of labor to install.

    Lettering with FD logos

    Now, how to carry equipment. Truck bed topper and slide-out or are you going with a purpose made body? May be a big investment for the body. Numbers vary.

    Cost to insure an additional vehicle?

    Cost of additional gear to equip vehicle?

    Projected maintenence costs over service life?

    Fuel useage?


    All these numbers need to be known to determine if the smaller vehicle can get a big enough return on it's original investment to more than pay for itself by taking the place of the bigger engine on certain calls. These numbers can be compared to the costs of the bigger engine, costs which should be known if you keep track of expenses.

    If you don't save enough money to even cover the costs of the smaller vehicle then you did not save a dime, you spent more. If you spend a dollar to save 25 cents, you are out 75 cents.

    Now, this does not cover the the pro's and con's of differing apparatus. This is strictly a cost issue I am asking about.
    Exactly!!!

    By the time you purchase the alternative vehicle that will probably be replaced every 5 years or LESS and ALL of the additional equipment that will have to be put on it any cost savings if there are any will be negligable.

    As stated, the vehicle by itself is going to cost between $50K - $150K. We carry tens of thousands of dollars of ALS equipment.

    So lets say you purchase only (2) of these vehicles over the life of a 20 year pumper. Conservatively that will be $150K in the vehicle and ALS equipment.

    In addition to bean counters wondering why 90% of your calls can be handled with an 2 people and a pick up, that $150K will pay for a heck of a lot of fuel and maintenance on your pumper!! Also don't forget that the actual fuel savings won't be very significant - you still have to fuel the QRV.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeff1974 View Post

    To MemphisE34a
    I know it's a "Slippery slope" but people "stopped treating the Fire Dept like a business" and now we are all having to provide a service "at the bottom line." Since it "costs money." Now we have to send the "Band aid response vehicle on the reported house fire" because our fire depts. can’t afford "the $300,000 engine" I wish we would have had "a business minded Chief" at least now we wouldn’t have had to lay off the "2 guys staying back at the station and we would have been able to "maintain crew integrity"" ---IMO
    Like I said, I don't believe the actual cost savings will be significant when EVERYTHING in factored in.

    I do not disagree entirely however. A good businessminded Chief would not waste tax dollars on a quick fix issue to try and appease ignorant politicians. He would make a proposal showing an REAL projected cost comparisons and explain how the MOST bang for the buck was being delivered by getting the apparatus that can handle ALL of their needs - safely.

    So just curious - How do you convince the politician that buying a $300,00 apparatus to sit in the station on the rare occasions that you actually "need it" AND spending another $150K on another vehicle to use most of the time is a cost savings? What do you think he is going to try and cut in the future? Answer: the $300,000 vehicle doing 10% of the work and the people riding it.

    Like was just sated above - spending a dollar to try and save 50 cents.
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    Kramer, I still don't see where this $150k figure is coming from. We purchased Chevrolet Suburbans for our EMS supervisors at work for $31k off the state contract. I can't find enough paint, lights, lettering, cabinetry, and ALS gear to spend the additional $119,000.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Kramer, I still don't see where this $150k figure is coming from. We purchased Chevrolet Suburbans for our EMS supervisors at work for $31k off the state contract. I can't find enough paint, lights, lettering, cabinetry, and ALS gear to spend the additional $119,000.
    Not for one, over the 20 year life of the pumper. How many pick ups do you think your department will go through over that 20 years? At least 3, probably more. And, the duplication in ALS equipment over the same time period. We seem to update cardiac monitors about every 5-8 years. They are over $10K by themselves.

    Add up 3 trucks at $31K and 3 monitors at $10K. There is $123K with just the least inexpensive vehicle option and (1) piece of ALS equipment - that's conservative and without inflation.
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Not for one, over the 20 year life of the pumper. How many pick ups do you think your department will go through over that 20 years? At least 3, probably more. And, the duplication in ALS equipment over the same time period. We seem to update cardiac monitors about every 5-8 years. They are over $10K by themselves.

    Add up 3 trucks at $31K and 3 monitors at $10K. There is $123K with just the least inexpensive vehicle option and (1) piece of ALS equipment - that's conservative and without inflation.
    I'm just going to play devil's advocate here, since I've already stated once that I agree with you that on the career side, QRV's are political suicide.

    Our last three pumpers were $502,000 each (Yes, they're expensive, I realize this). We purchase about $1.3M worth of apparatus every year. We use engines in front line service for 10-12 years, reserve status for 5.

    So let's go to make-believe land for a minute and say I have an engine and QRV in my station at work. In 20 years, I'll have purchased two pumpers for $1.1M, or FOUR pickups for $124,000, four defibs for $40,000, outfitted all of the pickups as emergency vehicles for $25,000, and other miscellaneous EMS gear for all of the pickups for $25,000 for a total of $239,000. We're a self-insured agency, so no impact on additional insurance fees. Fuel economy would have to be studied, but without some thought and research on my side, it wouldn't be fair to look at that aspect.

    Each of our arguments is fair and valid. The same set of numbers can be used by either side (the firefighters or the budget folks) of an issue to make a point. Perception is reality for both parties.

    I'll say it again. QRV's for the career fire service are poor choice for long list of reasons. In many volunteer agencies, they're the right answer for an equally long list of reasons.
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 08-14-2010 at 10:27 AM.
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    Not going to be a problem here for a LONG time. Only time we do Medical is as a backup to the local Hospital based ambulance service. And the ENGINE goes,no QRV's here. Very unlikely that will change in my time remaining. We're still primarily a Fire Dept and I'm OK with that. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I do not like the idea of breaking up the on duty crew.
    What on duty crew? We all respond from home (to the station) when we're available. Some of you need to get that through your heads.

    (Edit - Went back and looked at the OP entry - he's talking a staffed station, but still...)

    We run EMS first response with our light rescue (just like a heavy rescue/squad, but smaller). The staffed ambulance that covers our district is based seven miles away, so with the time it takes us to get to the station and get the rescue rolling sometimes we're there 5 minutes or so ahead of the ambulance, and sometimes we all get there at the same time.

    Since only the folks who run the EMS calls usually respond for them, there's no sense taking the engine. Not to mention the occasional call where I take the rescue out by myself on an EMS call and face the possibility of stranding it if the ambulance crew needs help on the way to the hospital (like for a code).

    A number of the volunteer departments in this area are running Suburban/Excursion type vehicles for EMS-only responses.

    Second edit - Syracuse, NY (a Class 1 fire department) seems to have no problem leaving the engine behind and responding to medical and nuisance calls with a midi, which is staffed by members of the same crew. If there's a fire call, the engine can go and the midi will meet them on scene if they are available (which most of the time they are, even if they are on a medical call).
    Last edited by tree68; 08-14-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Not for one, over the 20 year life of the pumper. How many pick ups do you think your department will go through over that 20 years? At least 3, probably more. And, the duplication in ALS equipment over the same time period. We seem to update cardiac monitors about every 5-8 years. They are over $10K by themselves.

    Add up 3 trucks at $31K and 3 monitors at $10K. There is $123K with just the least inexpensive vehicle option and (1) piece of ALS equipment - that's conservative and without inflation.
    True - but whether you run the engine or a pickup, you still have to update the ALS gear periodically, so that $123K just went down to $93K, and if you recycle the warning equipment and radios as well, that knocks the figure down even more.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    DFD, as for the cost issue, we've never studied it, and even if we found that we were spending a dollar to save 50 cents, it still likely wouldn't change our response protocols, as we've found a system that works pretty well for our jurisdiction.
    Understood. If it works for you then keep it up. We all run a little bit different than the next department, and what works for one might not work for another. I'm a big fan of letting the fire dept. determin what works for them, not an outsider.

    I was aiming more at the people who insist on taking drastic measures to save fuel. Mostly the politicians who can tell their voters just how much they are doing to save the planet by reducing fuel costs, but don't happen to mention the tens of thousands of tax dollars spent to do so.
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    At my career department, I would never advocate the use of a quick-response vehicle for EMS runs. As E34a pointed out, crew integrity is a big thing.

    Over here in volly land, we use a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban for EMS runs. Using the Suburban works well for us for a number of reasons:
    • We can staff this with one or two people, leaving enough personnel to staff the big yellow engine if a fire or other emergency is received.
    • With a first-due area of 72 square miles, taking the engine on an EMS run increases the chance that the engine will not be as centrally located as possible should a fire get dispatched.
    • A great majority of our EMS calls can (and are) be handled with one person, so we don't have to take our limited manpower pool make them unavailable for the inevitable fire or vehicle accident.
    • We don't have to wait for a full engine crew to arrive to respond to the EMS call.
    • As rural as we are many houses with long set backs, the Suburban is easier to routinely navigate these long driveways, and keeps the wear and tear down on the engines.
    • In the event of a cardiac arrest or other incident needing additional manpower, the engine can still respond.

    As for the replacement cycle, the county budgets enough money to replace every vehicle every 20 years. Based on the number of stations and vehicles we have, this is one heavy vehicle (engine, tanker, or heavy rescue) and one small (brush truck, EMS vehicle) per year.

    Our station is entertaining the idea of a combined EMS/Brush unit (something like the California "patrol" units posted earlier in the thread) in the future. With the decline in brush fires and increase in EMS runs, this is a viable option for us.

    DFD, as for the cost issue, we've never studied it, and even if we found that we were spending a dollar to save 50 cents, it still likely wouldn't change our response protocols, as we've found a system that works pretty well for our jurisdiction.
    My career department is getting ready to face having to run split crews for medicals and other calls that a full-sized apparatus isn't required. The way we're set up, we have one company at each station, and the particular station that's bringing this to a head is one that's getting a 100' aerial.

    While crew integrity is certainly a valid arguement, you also have to take into consideration the wear and tear on a heavy apparatus running medical calls. When you look at our call volume, fire-related calls comprise only 13% of our call volume. MVA's, medicals, service calls, etc comprise the rest. probably 80% of our calls can be handled by a smaller vehicle.

    Our current plan is to utilize vehicles we have already, not to purchase new. That eliminates the initial cost. Equipment is already on-hand as well.

    Now, when you look at it from a management viewpoint, take into consideration what happened in Seattle recently. Five people died in a fire where the first-due apparatus was on a medical call and the second-due (which ended up first-in) had a mechanical failure that wouldn't allow them to put. If you're going to "what if" the whole crew integrity, you have to "what if" a situation such as this.

    What if Seattle ran a split crew for medicals and the first-due responded with their engine and only two people. They would have had two personnel arrive with the ability to potentially perform a rescue, but at least to spray some water until back-up arrived. The likelihood of both it and the second-due having mechanical failures and unable to pump are very minimal, so they wouldn't have had to wait several minutes for the third-due to arrive to pump water.

    The heart of the whole situation is what best fits the department's operations. On my vollie department, we run our quick-attack on medicals and refrain from committing everyone and their brother to the call. That leaves enough people to respond to a structure fire if one comes in (and that's happened) and the quick-attack (which is also our "Service company"/rescue) responds when they're cleared.

    The way I foresee our career department doing it (though it's not written in stone yet, and is only in the discussion phase) is to utilize our reserve battalion chief's vehicle for medical runs. Their gear stays on the ladder and they'll respond to any fires once they clear. No matter how we do it, we're going to have to take a look at our operations and adjust to fit them the best possible, which is what any department should do.

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    Originally Posted by MemphisE34a
    So you maintain crew integrity.

    People need to stop treating the fire service delivery like a business - always worried about the bottom line. It is not a business, it is a service that costs money. What's next? Why don't you send the band aide response vehicle on reported house fires as well? After all, many times they really are not or it is very small. Why burn the deisel and wear down the tires on the $300,000 engine?

    It is a slippery slope, IMO. You need runs on your equipment and your personnel in order to justify their existence. It won't be long until the business minded Chief, town manager, or mayor comes up with the bright idea that the new engine and the 2 guys staying back at the station really are not needed.
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    As Memphis34 said, drop this idea before it gets started. Once you get into it. It is hard to get out of it.

    The bean counters are going to see this and use it against the department when the Chief asks for this or that!

    If you send an engine or truck on an EMS call, providing you have a minimum of 4 members riding, and then clear up, you have a crew that can take a fire call and do something if you make the scene first.
    If you have two members on a brush truck or QRV and no hose, water and even if you do, you are going to look like tunnieville until a full fledge fire company arrives on the scene.
    How long would it take for the bean counters to say "run the QRV to the alarm to see if it a real fire"...

    If this idea were a dog... you would say
    Bad dog... bad, bad dog...
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    Default Crew Integrity clarification

    As I light this digital molotov bottle bomb ....

    When we speak of crew integrity, is it keeping the same team together (John, Sean, Jane and Doe) or maintaining a minimum staffing per fire company?

    When NFPA 1710 was enacted, the Florida Fire Chiefs developed a document showing how they could get the minimum number of firefighters on the scene.

    But they would be coming from multiple units (2 person trucks, EMS QRV, paramedic ambulance, inspector in a car) that ASSEMBLE a team at the incident scene.

    Crew Resource Management would say that there will be no difference in performance if a crew of 20 arrived on 16 different vehicles than arriving on:
    • three 4 person engines
    • 5 person truck
    • 2 person paramedic ambulance
    • one command officer.

    Every day, airline crews are individuals that may not have worked together before.

    When I dealt with this, leave and details meant that one third of the fire company officers were NOT supervising their home company (details to cover sick/annual leave and overtime).

    Mike

    PS to Gonzo: sending a QRV or a sedan to an activated fire alarm is already done in some communities.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 08-14-2010 at 05:17 PM.

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    PS to Gonzo: sending a QRV or a sedan to an activated fire alarm is already done in some communities.
    In some cases, it has had some rather nasty property losses and deadly results...
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    I dont know about you guys. But, not speaking about money, or anything else for that matter, I would HATE to be that Bamma in a Bandaid Pickup truck, returning from a stubbed toe and drive by a house, smoke showing, people in the streets waving you down cause, remember YOU ARE the Fire Department, and have NO Ladders, Minimum to NO hose or Water. Last time I checked, that ALS monitor never put a fire out.

    Just saying, i like running fires, and id be one p'ed off Mofo. ; )
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    In some cases, it has had some rather nasty property losses and deadly results...
    Yep!

    Which is why I ALWAYS proceed to the scene in my Big Red Truck and contacted the caller when they wanted to cancel a response to an activated fire alarm.

    Caught two structure fires that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackStepNBackWards View Post
    I dont know about you guys. But, not speaking about money, or anything else for that matter, I would HATE to be that Bamma in a Bandaid Pickup truck, returning from a stubbed toe and drive by a house, smoke showing, people in the streets waving you down cause, remember YOU ARE the Fire Department, and have NO Ladders, Minimum to NO hose or Water. Last time I checked, that ALS monitor never put a fire out.

    Just saying, i like running fires, and id be one p'ed off Mofo. ; )
    I've never beat a fire into submission with a 35' ladder off a dry ladder truck either.
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    I have yet to see anyone mention the Ladder Tender concept that Pheonix employs. If it is a non fire call, they run a medium duty rescue to the call and leave the ladder in the station. The LT has all the equipment of a ladder company besides the pump, tank and aerial ladder. Saves wear and tear on the ladders.

    I agree that this concept may work in some places and not in others. My career department runs an engine to everything. With my volly department, we run a light rescue to medical calls.

    I would say it depends directly on your tactics and the way you run things. It works for some, for others maybe not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    I have yet to see anyone mention the Ladder Tender concept that Phoenix employs.
    IIRC, when Phoenix started running paramedics they didn't have enough to staff the ambulances (rescues in their jargon) or engines, so they put them on the trucks. Not feeling well? There will be an aerial at your front door shortly.
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    PS to Gonzo: sending a QRV or a sedan to an activated fire alarm is already done in some communities.
    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    In some cases, it has had some rather nasty property losses and deadly results...
    Are you referring to the number of firefighters killed responding to and from calls...? Because I promise you that is a much higher danger to Firefighters than using a QRV to initially investigate a fire alarm indication. Thatís why the majority of Depts. have dropped fire alarm activations to a single engine response, code 2 (no lights or siren)...

    Can someone please post some actual data, statistics, financial reports anything that is FACT or TRIAL BASED information to support their view (opinion) rather than continue to speculate "perceived" fears or notions. Otherwise this post will continue and continue and continue....

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeff1974 View Post
    Are you referring to the number of firefighters killed responding to and from calls...? Because I promise you that is a much higher danger to Firefighters than using a QRV to initially investigate a fire alarm indication. Thatís why the majority of Depts. have dropped fire alarm activations to a single engine response, code 2 (no lights or siren)...

    Can someone please post some actual data, statistics, financial reports anything that is FACT or TRIAL BASED information to support their view (opinion) rather than continue to speculate "perceived" fears or notions. Otherwise this post will continue and continue and continue....
    Pretty sure he was referring to civilian loss of life and property.
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    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Nope,referring to MAJOR property losses that have occured from sending a Buggy or a Mini me to an incident that SHOULD have been 2 and 1 or HIGHER. Seen it and it WON'T happen here.The only thing a QRV would be useful for here is Brush or haul the airboat. Anything else gets a REAL Engine. GT this is for Joeff NOT you. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeff1974 View Post
    Are you referring to the number of firefighters killed responding to and from calls...? Because I promise you that is a much higher danger to Firefighters than using a QRV to initially investigate a fire alarm indication. Thatís why the majority of Depts. have dropped fire alarm activations to a single engine response, code 2 (no lights or siren)...
    I would like to see published facts on those statistics. I know of no department in our state that has adopted this response. Where did you come up with "a majority of departments"?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeff1974 View Post
    Can someone please post some actual data, statistics, financial reports anything that is FACT or TRIAL BASED information to support their view (opinion) rather than continue to speculate "perceived" fears or notions. Otherwise this post will continue and continue and continue....
    Perceived fears? Can you link any publish reports that indicate QRV are more efficient? You call it fear, but why change something that works for something that has not been proved to save money or lives? Where are your study or reports?

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