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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Weigh in on this question please

    I've been in the fire service for a number of years and have heard separate opinions that the following statement is true and also that it has no truth.... so I decided to ask here to see what others think.
    I used to be station at a house that had an older Kovatch engine. During the year that I was there, we had to replace the elbow pin on he pump panel levers several times. One the the older (more experienced) engineers explained that "locking" the levers by twisting them is really only for fireground/training use and that riding down the road with them in the "locked" position causes more wear and tear on the elbow joints/ pins. So that occaisionally you'd go to open a discharge and the whole handle and rod would disconnect and slide almost totally out.
    So- now I am at a station with a younger crowd and we also have an older Kovatch. Quite often I'll come in and find ALL of the handles/levers all twisted to the locked postion, even when the engine hasn't been out on a call. The reason given is so that the don't "rattle" out driving down the road (which I have never seen happen in the first place).
    Have I been informed wrong? Or are some of my new peers practicing the locking of levers too liberally?
    Thanks for taking the time to read this and weigh in!

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    My regular ride is a late 90s KME pumper and we routinely leave the pump levers in the "locked" position. I'm not aware of us having any problems with the elbow pins on any of our apparatus.

    I have though, seen some of the levers move out a couple of inches if they aren't locked down.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    never seen them locked on our trucks, haven't had any issues with them.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Memphis, TN - USA


    I too have noticed that many new people keep pull/push style valves in the locked position all the time.

    Not saying it is necessarily right, but it has always been my opinion and practice when I was driving to only lock levers when they were gated back somewhere in the middle during pumping operations. I never had a problem with a valve when it was all the way open or closed while pumping, let alone sitting in the house.
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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Central NJ


    Most of ours dont even have locking mechanisms. My memory tells me theres a roll pin in there to keep the handles from spinning all the way out and falling off. When I worked with rigs that had them I simply kept them snug enough that the valves still freely operated but the handles werent so loose they were "wobbly".

    To me this sounds like one of those stories someone came up with to convince naive members to do something because that was "his idea" and he just liked it done that way. Instead of just telling them to do it his way, he came up with a crafty (BS) story as to why it was important.

    If you really want to know, find out who makes the valves and read the user manual.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Erie, PA/ Home of Lake Effect Snow


    We have locking valves on our 93 Sutphens. We've never had any problems with locking the handles down. They are all locked when the valve is not in use. I think that the majority of the valves are Hale, if that means anything.

  7. #7
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999


    Itís not that necessary on the newer rigs. Complete different type of vale being used.

    The older rigs we had when I came on had different type valves and you had to turn the knob and lock it, as water would seep out thought the valve if you didnít.
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  8. #8
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Thumbs up Hmmmmm..........

    Coupla Points...... First, as has been said already I think, the Apparatus manufacturer (Seagrave, Pierce, KME, etc) is Irrelevant. They don't make the Valves they use, Valves come from Akron, Hale, etc.

    Second, we do not lock valves. Why waste time unlocking a Valve when you need it??
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  9. #9
    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Houston, TX


    195. And the people who lock them are goobers.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Yates County, New York

    Default locked

    we kept ours in the locked position on a 91 engine we had because when we were pumping the vavles seemed to seep if we didnt, which lead to a charged 2 1/2 inch preconnect in the rear hosebed afterwards. we thought it was bad vavle seats at first till we figured out the valve was cracking open enough with the pressure of the pump. hence forth the valve was no longer left unlocked, and the problem went away.

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