1. #1
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    Default Dead Horse Topic...but need a little assistance...

    I apologize in advance to those who hate rehashing old topics. But I need updated information. Yall have helped me in the past and need it again.

    Current problem I have is my county "enjoys" (apparently), purchasing non-compliant NFPA apparatuses. They particularly don't like hearing the dangers of this (both to the firefighters and to the county's finances) from me--since I only have ten years in the service. One guy on our county's board has "50 years of truck driving experience" (and that was a direct quote right before he said he knows all there is to know about trucks).

    So, what I really need assistance with is links to articles involving non-compliant apparatuses, the legal fallout from incidents involving these trucks, and any other information you can possibly come up with concerning this subject and why it is very important to purchase a COMPLIANT apparatus.

    I know some of you are a little hesitant to include your names--or at least you usually are, which I completely understand. But if you offer advise, etc., please include (at the least) your rank/number of years in the service (career/volly)/ and your state. This information will most likely be used in a official capacity relatively soon.

    I appreciate the help. As a side note, my county has purchased four (4) non-compliant tankers and is preparing to purchase #5, hence the reasoning for this request.

    Thanks!

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    Are the tankers being purchased designed for firefighting use?

    I only ask because every manufacturerer that I have ever dealt with will refuse to sell any product or part that it not compliant at the time of sale. They won't even allow you to sign a waiver.

    What's the rest of the story?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Are the tankers being purchased designed for firefighting use?

    I only ask because every manufacturerer that I have ever dealt with will refuse to sell any product or part that it not compliant at the time of sale. They won't even allow you to sign a waiver.

    What's the rest of the story?
    I'm with Bob. There seems to be a lot more here than meets the Eye, no pun intended.

    Personally, I'd love to be able to tell Pierce or Seagrave exactly how I want a piece of Apparatus built, but we all know that won't happen.........
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Are the tankers being purchased designed for firefighting use?

    I only ask because every manufacturerer that I have ever dealt with will refuse to sell any product or part that it not compliant at the time of sale. They won't even allow you to sign a waiver.

    What's the rest of the story?
    Memphis, all I will say about the manufacturer is that it is not a "national" manufacturer. The trucks ARE being purchased for firefighting purposes...and what's worse is they are being fitted with 500gpm pumps, yet are being utilized as pumpers.

    I have already "proven" to the "powers that be" that the "tankers" are non-compliant by acquiring a copy of the specs through the manufacturer, as well as the specs that are needed to "upgrade" them to NFPA compliance. The actual specs are only two pages long (chassis were bought seperately) the NFPA specs were thirteen pages long.

    I also proved it through several other steps, but won't go into detail here.

    But to yalls concerns about something "not meeting the eye," this is all exactly on par with reality.

    Again, thanks for any assistance on the legal ramificiations of using the aforementioned trucks and any articles you can provide.

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    You may have already done so, but have you consulted with your department's attorney to get his opinion in regards to the department's potential liability of purchasing a non-NFPA compliant apparatus? I would think anyone on the board would listen to the guy hired to protect them legally.

    While there may be some good help here, you might also be able to call the NFA library and have them do a search for materials about lawsuits due to non-NFPA apparatus.

    It seems like I've seen some articles in magazines or websites when I had a relatively minor debate with a couple of board members about this kind of thing, I'm trying to do some searching to see if I can find them again.

    Edited to add: You might also make sure there's nothing in your state laws that require new apparatus to be built per NFPA. While I've never seen anything in Missouri's statutes, I know we have a requirement that all new bunker gear must meet NFPA. It wouldn't surprise me if there are states doing so with apparatus.
    Last edited by Catch22; 07-31-2009 at 12:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    You may have already done so, but have you consulted with your department's attorney to get his opinion in regards to the department's potential liability of purchasing a non-NFPA compliant apparatus? I would think anyone on the board would listen to the guy hired to protect them legally.

    While there may be some good help here, you might also be able to call the NFA library and have them do a search for materials about lawsuits due to non-NFPA apparatus.

    It seems like I've seen some articles in magazines or websites when I had a relatively minor debate with a couple of board members about this kind of thing, I'm trying to do some searching to see if I can find them again.
    Thanks Catch, I'll definitely do that.

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    Lightbulb Well.............

    Coupla points about the NFPA. First, NFPA Standards are NOT Law, nor are they "Required" by any State Government that I'm aware of. To relate specifically to Tankers, a 500 GPM Pump is acceptable.

    And, get this: I can stop by Fred's Truck and Body Shop, Give them a Check and a Spec Sheet for something that I want built. Here's My Specs..... Cab to hold 6 - 8 adults, Water Tank of 1,000 Gallons, Water Pump to deliver 1,250 Gallons per Minute, Multiple Hose Connections, Storage Cabinets to hold lots of Tools, Space to carry a lot of Hose, A few Ladders...... You get the Idea. Now I explain to them that this Vehicle is for my Pressure Washing/Industrial Cleaning Business. They build it the way I want it, no questions Asked, No "Rules" other than Federal and State DoT Requirements..... You see where this is going, Right??......

    Fred's Price......... $ 200,000.00

    OR, I get it built by a Major Fire Apparatus Builder...... Price...... $ 400,000.00

    I Get it built by Fred..... Beat NFPA's Game......... Priceless.....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    i would like to shake the hands of your county board... its about time someone had the balls to tell the NFPA to go shove it up their @#%
    ~Big O~

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Coupla points about the NFPA. First, NFPA Standards are NOT Law, nor are they "Required" by any State Government that I'm aware of. To relate specifically to Tankers, a 500 GPM Pump is acceptable.

    And, get this: I can stop by Fred's Truck and Body Shop, Give them a Check and a Spec Sheet for something that I want built. Here's My Specs..... Cab to hold 6 - 8 adults, Water Tank of 1,000 Gallons, Water Pump to deliver 1,250 Gallons per Minute, Multiple Hose Connections, Storage Cabinets to hold lots of Tools, Space to carry a lot of Hose, A few Ladders...... You get the Idea. Now I explain to them that this Vehicle is for my Pressure Washing/Industrial Cleaning Business. They build it the way I want it, no questions Asked, No "Rules" other than Federal and State DoT Requirements..... You see where this is going, Right??......

    Fred's Price......... $ 200,000.00

    OR, I get it built by a Major Fire Apparatus Builder...... Price...... $ 400,000.00

    I Get it built by Fred..... Beat NFPA's Game......... Priceless.....
    I understand that it's not LAW. However, if something were to happen, I wouldn't want to have to explain to a Jury of 12 people who would be inundated with NFPA, yada, yada, yada, why I didn't follow the nationally accepted minimum standards.

    On your tanker pump gpm, I understand 500 gpm is acceptable. However, the tankers are being used a frontline pumpers.

    And lastly, if you were to go by Fred's Truck and Body Shop, I'm confident you would make sure to protect your men. However, our county board has absolutely nothing of that sort in mind--getting a chassis with a tank painted red with FD name on it is all they're interested in (some of them).

    Thanks for your responses. I do appreciate them.

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    While NFPA 1971 isn't law.. it can and will be brought in as evidence should an accident occur and someone gets injured or dies as a result.

    Remember the Lairdsville case and NFPA 1403? Google it if you have to. One probationary firefighter died in a training fire as a "live victim".. 2 others were severely burned.

    The FD and the defendent in the case claimed ingorance of 1403, then claimed that they did not have to be held to a standard, as they were "volunteers"... they lost big time, the assitant chief in charge of the drill served a few years in jail over it...

    As far as if an accident occurs.... can the County write a check or checks with lots of "zeroes" aned commas?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    While NFPA 1971 isn't law.. it can and will be brought in as evidence should an accident occur and someone gets injured or dies as a result.

    Remember the Lairdsville case and NFPA 1403? Google it if you have to. One probationary firefighter died in a training fire as a "live victim".. 2 others were severely burned.

    The FD and the defendent in the case claimed ingorance of 1403, then claimed that they did not have to be held to a standard, as they were "volunteers"... they lost big time, the assitant chief in charge of the drill served a few years in jail over it...

    As far as if an accident occurs.... can the County write a check or checks with lots of "zeroes" and commas?
    As Gonzo said it isn't the law, but buddy if you have a problem with members being hurt or an accident with that truck, the injuired members will sue the crap out of the city, county and or department and will win big time. I don't know of any fire apparatus maker that would built a piece not NFPA compliant or have a waiver signed by the folks who are buting the ride.

    Moose I am not going to address you statement as it is worthlesss.

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    Sounds like a terrible problem. I can't imagine how anyone would buy a non-NFPA compliant rig. But then, and correct me if I am wrong, there are the good old boys of the FDNY. I don't think their rigs are NFPA compliant along with a dozen or more other large cities in the US. I am sure that the FDNY has far more law suit worthy incidents than any combination of departments across the country. But I doubt the NFPA stuff is brought up. Again I could be way off.....

    I am not sure you will win this one with your town/city/etc.etc..Sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554 View Post
    Sounds like a terrible problem. I can't imagine how anyone would buy a non-NFPA compliant rig. But then, and correct me if I am wrong, there are the good old boys of the FDNY. I don't think their rigs are NFPA compliant along with a dozen or more other large cities in the US. I am sure that the FDNY has far more law suit worthy incidents than any combination of departments across the country. But I doubt the NFPA stuff is brought up. Again I could be way off.....

    I am not sure you will win this one with your town/city/etc.etc..Sorry
    The thing with the big cities is they *can* come up with defensible deviations from NFPA. Simply put, with size comes the ability to say "Our training division reveiwed this and determined our implementation was superior in X, Y and Z as it pertains to our specific SOP/SOG's'. Small departments lack that training division.

    For a smaller dept - I wouldn't want to go against NFPA if you can help it.

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    DHS has been adopting NFPA as law since 2003. It doesn't just apply to grant purchase or other purchases made with federal funding, it's emergency preparedness as a whole. So if something isn't NFPA compliant the department can and will be held liable when something goes wrong. Also it's already been happening in CA, if people don't have physicals or proper training they aren't allowed to respond to wildland incidents. Trucks don't meet NFPA, not invited.

    Court rulings are based on 'beyond a reasonable doubt', which is where convictions for not being compliant have come from for a long time. The argument is a 'reasonable' fire department would comply with minimum safety standards as detailed by NFPA codes. So it's been taken down to when someone gets hurt because of a lack of compliance it's negligence. That's why Lairdsville was negligent homicide/manslaughter, not a higher charge. It wasn't done on purpose but the ruling was that 'reasonable' firefighters would not have conducted the drill in that manner. Same reason all career departments require FF1 and 2 (NFPA 1001) before anyone hits the street, do have people paid to do a job not trained to that level isn't reasonable. For those in the grant apps for AFG, same reason they keep asking for % trained for all departments, it's going to come down to either get the training or no grant money.

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    What are the NFPA deficient items?

    Small items or the big stuff like lack of baffles, no aux. braking, etc.

    I'm with you on the NFPA compliance. Hard to explain deviating from it in court.
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFNG View Post
    The thing with the big cities is they *can* come up with defensible deviations from NFPA. Simply put, with size comes the ability to say "Our training division reveiwed this and determined our implementation was superior in X, Y and Z as it pertains to our specific SOP/SOG's'. Small departments lack that training division.

    For a smaller dept - I wouldn't want to go against NFPA if you can help it.
    We certainly fall under the "smaller dept" category. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFDMAXX View Post
    What are the NFPA deficient items?

    Small items or the big stuff like lack of baffles, no aux. braking, etc.

    I'm with you on the NFPA compliance. Hard to explain deviating from it in court.
    The big stuff: braking isn't sufficient, baffles are not properly installed, there is no dump valve (and it's supposed to be a tanker), insufficient lighting, pump wasn't certified...almost everything that can be "el cheapo" is exactly that.

    As I said, we have four of these "tankers." I will be the first to admit I am no expert on the NFPA. But the sales rep told me directly that none of them are compliant (the specs confirmed this, for those who don't like "word of mouth"), the state rating bureau says they aren't compliant...I could go on. The argument here is not whether they are or aren't...that's been taken care of.

    The controversy is over the question: why is it so important to purchase an "NFPA compliant" apparatus. This controversy is in overdrive because the board is preparing to purchase a 5th truck--identical to those mentioned. Someone earlier in this thread mentioned asking our county attorney. My response to that is I may as well ask the first person that drives by the station...he has no clue, which is why he "allowed" (presumably since he was the county attorney when each of the four trucks were purchased) the non-compliant trucks to be purchased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Same reason all career departments require FF1 and 2 (NFPA 1001) before anyone hits the street, do have people paid to do a job not trained to that level isn't reasonable. For those in the grant apps for AFG, same reason they keep asking for % trained for all departments, it's going to come down to either get the training or no grant money.
    Are you referring to TX depts requiring FFI and II or "ALL" career dept.'s? I consider my dept. to be fairly big, not FDNY,LA,Houston big, but on a overall national level. We train our new guys in FFI and II but do not require the certification. I know of some career dept.'s that have very short acaemies ie: 4 weeks or less, which could hardly get all the preferred required time to meet those certification standards.

    On topic, I am not trying to say NFPA is not a good way to go, but as it has been said time and time again on these forums, not all dept.'s can meet NFPA standards, but rather pick and choose what they want. And in these tough budget times, the $200k rig probably looks better to the guy signing the checks than a $400k rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Coupla points about the NFPA. First, NFPA Standards are NOT Law, nor are they "Required" by any State Government that I'm aware of. To relate specifically to Tankers, a 500 GPM Pump is acceptable.
    The State of Wisconsin Department of Commerce has adopted select NFPA Standards and as such they are law in Wisconsin. Examples include, 1901, PPE and SCBA standards. There are more, and here they ARE THE LAW.

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    NJ has also adopted 1901 for apparatus and quite a few others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554 View Post
    Are you referring to TX depts requiring FFI and II or "ALL" career dept.'s? I consider my dept. to be fairly big, not FDNY,LA,Houston big, but on a overall national level. We train our new guys in FFI and II but do not require the certification. I know of some career dept.'s that have very short acaemies ie: 4 weeks or less, which could hardly get all the preferred required time to meet those certification standards.
    TX fire training wasn't recognized as IFSAC/NFPA until 2004, but the training was documented as an equivalent to FF1 & 2 so it would stand up as far as being properly trained to NFPA. That meets the reasonability argument in my book and in most court cases that I know of. Don't need the certification (wallpaper) but at least having properly performed the hours is what is expected per NFPA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The State of Wisconsin Department of Commerce has adopted select NFPA Standards and as such they are law in Wisconsin. Examples include, 1901, PPE and SCBA standards. There are more, and here they ARE THE LAW.
    Just about all of the NFPA standards have been adopted by WI law with the exception of only a few dealing with FF qualifications....and even those were debated in the State senate before but haven't made it through.....so far.

    CaptainReb22.... You can search for case law of non NFPA compliant equipment and apparatus for previous lawsuits. If they are willing to pay for a lawsuit there really isn't anything you can do but show them the information and maybe inform your public of what is happening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post

    CaptainReb22.... You can search for case law of non NFPA compliant equipment and apparatus for previous lawsuits. If they are willing to pay for a lawsuit there really isn't anything you can do but show them the information and maybe inform your public of what is happening.
    Dickey, that's exactly what I want to do...minus the public part--unless you count the members of the volunteer fire department who are going to be affected by this decision. I plan to give them every bit of information I can on what exactly the NFPA is and why it's important to follow it. Examples of significant judgements against an entity who did not have a compliant apparatus are just one of the several different things I am going to present them.

    I do not want to start a ****ing match with the board. I simply want them to know why it's important and to make sure that they CANNOT claim ignorance if something ever happened--although in most cases ignornace isn't a defense.

    Thanks to everyone who's replied so far.

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    Capt...


    Contact Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, WI for either Scott Niles or Dan Schultz who can give you all the literature and information you need. Or any truck mfg. of your choice.
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    Post Well............

    Dickey - Thanks. I thought there might be a State or two that did that. We have not, and won't. In Maryland, the only recent law enacted that specifically mentions a NFPA Standard was one that I helped work on, which prohibits the use of a switch that is required by NFPA to turn off white lights when the parking brake is applied. The Maryland Fire Chief's Association felt that the Apparatus Driver and/or Officer should have the sole control over what warning lights were turned on or off.

    The state of Delaware almost had a Law passed barring the use of NFPA 1500 in that State. Some negotiation at the last minute caused the DVFA to drop it, but they had more than enough votes to get it passed in the State legislature.
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