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    Default Let's Talk Mini Pumpers

    Ok, after seeing this year's Rosenbauer calender, I started thinking about mini pumpers. With my volunteer department, we are currently looking at options for replacing both a 1985 E-One Class B engine as well as a light duty rescue/first response truck.

    The city is very interested in replacing the Class B engine with a Class A, for ISO purposes. We currently have a both a 2003 Freightliner/E-One and a 2007 Freightliner/E-One, both class A. I don't see the need for another full size engine in our department with the area we cover and the amount of calls we run. However, the mini pumper with a Class A pump and ample compartment space would serve two of our needs in one.

    So, what is everyone's opinions on mini pumpers with Class A pumps? I am talking in the F-550 chassis range. I know we had some discussion on a 1250 pump being a little too much for the driveline of a chassis that big to handle in the long run, but how about the 1000? Thinking about something like this:



    Lay it on me. I want real opinions from people who know before I present this option to the rest of the fire department officers as well as the city.
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    If you get a mini pumper with a 750 GPM pump and 300 gallon tank you get a NFPA engine.
    Oh, and the truck you posted is the same one that was discussed, but it was just a typo because it had a 1,000 GPM pump not a 1,250.
    Last edited by FireRescue61; 02-06-2010 at 11:02 PM.

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    Thinking what the purpose of a mini pumper is for us...........
    In our dept, we use this truck as a initial attack for brush fires, rolls occasionally on MVA's and sometimes a pump station for water shuttle. To us, the main reason for one is to access homes built in remote locations on steep grade, narrow roads that maybe our engines cannot get to. If I were going to spec a new mini out, I would go with atleast a 1000 gpm pump with only 300 gallon. Here it is important to fill tenders as quickly as possible and as long as you can get water to it - the 1000 gpm pump could possibly handle a sructure. With our current mini - we have a 400 gpm and 400 gallon tank. This is pretty much useless for what our district has grown into. Not saying we wouldnt use it tonight, but we could use a little bigger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireRescue61 View Post
    If you get a mini pumper with a 750 GPM pump and 300 gallon tank you get a NFPA engine.
    Oh, and the truck you posted is the same one that was discussed, but it was just a typo because it had s 1,000 GPM pump not a 1,250.
    The specs I read say 1000 GPM?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    That's just what I said...It had a 1,000 NOT a 1,250...

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireRescue61 View Post
    That's just what I said...It had a 1,000 NOT a 1,250...
    Gotcha. I didnt know if the specs may have said 1250 at first.
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    We have a 2003 E-1 mini with a 750 pump. E-1 used Superior out of Canada to build these. I don't know if they are still building these for E-1. It is built on a F-550 chassis with manual transmission. It has a 240 tank. We carry 500ft of 3" and have 2 200ft 1 3/4" crosslays. It has a 100ft 1 1/2 trashline in extended front bumper. Has a 4000watt honda gen with 2 tripod lights and 2 mounted lights. We carry 2 SCBAs and 2 spare bottles, and extrication equipment, combi tool and ram.

    So far has been a good truck for us. I am not a big fan of minipumpers, but this truck definately filled a need for us. (Our town has a railroad track that runs through. It has a underpass that has only 8' 1" clearance.)

    Glenn

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    GTRider,
    We are only 120 miles from you, come visit and we will show it to you.
    Glenn

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    Talking Our Mini

    We have a 2007 Chevy 5500 with 300gallons of water and a Darley LDM pump that is rated at 1500 gpm.

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    Can the Chevy 5500 actually pump 1500gpm? seems a bit much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flochief View Post
    We have a 2003 E-1 mini with a 750 pump. E-1 used Superior out of Canada to build these. I don't know if they are still building these for E-1. It is built on a F-550 chassis with manual transmission. It has a 240 tank. We carry 500ft of 3" and have 2 200ft 1 3/4" crosslays. It has a 100ft 1 1/2 trashline in extended front bumper. Has a 4000watt honda gen with 2 tripod lights and 2 mounted lights. We carry 2 SCBAs and 2 spare bottles, and extrication equipment, combi tool and ram.

    So far has been a good truck for us. I am not a big fan of minipumpers, but this truck definately filled a need for us. (Our town has a railroad track that runs through. It has a underpass that has only 8' 1" clearance.)

    Glenn
    E-One closed up the Superior plant a few years ago and transfered everything to either the main plant in Ocala or to the Classic Fire LLC plant.

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    Are you guys confusing Mini's with Medi's?? Mini's are about the size of a brush truck with a 400 gpm pump and a 350 water tank. Usually four wheel drive and can get down into the woods better than a large pumpr. Good for parking garages if you have them too.


    Med sizes are built like a small size pumper with most having a 1000 gpm pump 300 gallons of water and in some cases a compress air foam system. These can carry the required NFPA 1901 equipment.



    A lot of departments in the Virginia/Maryland/West Virginia/Delaware area uses both of these styles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flochief View Post
    GTRider,
    We are only 120 miles from you, come visit and we will show it to you.
    Glenn
    Thanks for the offer. If the idea goes through I just may make the trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by bendone View Post
    We have a 2007 Chevy 5500 with 300gallons of water and a Darley LDM pump that is rated at 1500 gpm.
    A Chevy 5500 based truck is not a mini pumper in my eyes. Too big of a chassis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    Are you guys confusing Mini's with Medi's??

    I believe that was the case with Bendone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Whatever you do, make absolutely certain you design the rig to not exceed the chassis limitations in any way. While we don't have mini pumpers, we have two rescues on F550s, that supposedly are within the limits of the chassis, and they are horrible. Driving dynamics, handling, chassis groans and squeaks, overall rotten decisions in my opinion. Our true light rescue that's on an F350 is fine, but that's a different animal entirely, and is a LIGHT rescue.

    If you do a 4-door, be wary of SCBA seats in the rear. We have them, and they're a bad idea. Maybe newer designs allow more room, but ours are another poor design idea.

    The only good news is they're nearing the end of their service life (2002 and 2003, supposed to be in service ten years).
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    We've got a rig set up similar to what you're describing. It's on a GMC 5500 chassis and has a skid-type setup rather than a mid-mount pump, but it's designed to serve as a suppression and rescue truck. We carry EMS equipment, brush gear, extrication equipment (cutters, spreaders, rams, airbags, air chisel, etc), our ISO service company equipment, traffic control, and some other loose stuff on it.

    It serves as our primary EMS and rescue response unit, and also responds to all fires. It's limited for fires in the brush, but it works great for grass fires when the soil's not too wet (it has a front bumper turret that prevents guys from having to be outside the cab). It also has a 10 kW hydraulic generator.

    To me, they're a valuable asset. I'd like to have a larger pump on it so we could use it down some of our long, narrow, overgrown driveways, but the budget at the time wouldn't allow for that expense. We can still use it in that manner, but we're only going to get one 1 3/4" worth of flow out of it due to the set-up.

    If I had it to spec again, I'd probably drop the tank down to 300 gallons as opposed to the 400 we have. While it's not overweight, it's not far from it.

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    I like the concept of mini-pumpers. I do. I really do.

    However, I have seen many of them turn into Overgrown-Not-So-Mini-Pumpers during the planning process as departments have tried to do everything ,,,,, on a smaller chassis.

    And in 2 years they are complaining about maintainence and handling issues.

    And even those that start out with great intentions .... become overgrown after a couple of years because they become the FDs version of the overstuffed closet.

    That being said, I do like them really, as long as they are designed with a limited purpose in mind and that purpose is maintained.

    Small water tank, medium duty pump (500gpm-750), limited amount of attack and supply hose and (most importantly) a limited set of tools with a targeted purpose.

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    I have to agree with a lot of what LaFireEducator said. If you have a target hazard that you build it for (parking garages) it's probably a good idea but it's not a Class A engine. Keep in mind that what works for one department may or may not work for another.

    I understand the concept of wanting to do more with less. Question is, will less be enough. When the bean counters see that this rig cost $100,000 and you want to replace a true engine and or a true rescue will they tell you no because this is the same thing and is 1/6th of the price?

    Engines are the size that they are because of the amount of equipment carried on them. As you can see, it is possible to get a 1,000 gpm pump or larger on a pickup chassis. You will not have the room or weight capacity for an engine compliment of hose, vent equipment, ladders and tools. The laws of physics still apply to the fire service.

    When you build a mini pumper/quick attack or whatever you want to call it you are having to pick and chose what it will do. It will not do all the jobs you want it to well but it will work for more than one purpose. By this I mean it won't function well as a grass rig because of the weight and length. It won't work well as a rescue because you only have a limited amount of tools and cribbing. It won't work well as an engine because it only has a couple lines and a half tank (300 gallons) of water.

    I am also concerned about equipment damage that occurs if you take it off road chasing fire. I worry about the handling because the chassis is pushed to the limit, and quite possibly beyond. I worry about someone taking the quick attack to a MVA and getting there only to realize they need a rescue.

    Our department is getting a quick attack to use as a grass rig and rescue. We'll see how it turns out but I'm not in favor of it for the reasons I have stated.
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    If you want to downgrade a pumper while getting a light rescue, you are probably best served getting a midi, or getting another full sized engine. You can compromise on design so it better serves the rescue role vs. the engine role. You can also free up space since you can go light on hose adapters and appliances if its primary role won't be that of an Engine.


    what exactly do you want it to do? Why not get a bigger rescue and forget about the pump?

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    The idea behind this was not to create a truck we would use as a first out engine for fire supression. Like I said, we have two full size Class A trucks already that are only a few years old.

    The primary function of this truck would be rescue/medical first response. Adding the pump is just a way to have another Class A engine on the department without buying another full size Class A engine, which we really dont need. Plus it would let us get rid of our outdated Class B engine.

    Hope that clears some things up. Pretty much a rescue truck with a pump. Not a first out engine by any means.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
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    Why not keep the B engine in reserve and just make the new truck a straight rescue.
    Basically your saying you want a rescue that has a pump on it so you get credit for it. Sounds like a bad idea to me. Thats like buying one of the Hummers with the little truck beds. Its got enough of a truck bed that you could call it a truck, but can you really use it as a truck? no.

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    sounds like you'd need a Midi sized pumper to put any significant amount of equipment on it, and even then its still going to be overstuffed or lacking equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ledebuhr1 View Post
    Can the Chevy 5500 actually pump 1500gpm? seems a bit much.
    Actually it will pump more. it's rated and tested at 1500. Darley pump= more water with less horsepower!
    Maybe it's a midi but when we were looking at chassis it was in the same class as the 550 but much more manuverable and height was not a problem for us.

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    NOT a Darley exclusive. I'm not going down that road but wouldn't be MY first choice. All your major pump builders have low input, high yield pumps. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 02-11-2010 at 08:45 AM.

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    GT ..

    I see where you are headed, but, I have been down this road as well.

    Once you add the pump and a water tank, it becomes very, very tempting to add just a couple of more items so if it has to, it can function as a supression unit if it really has to. Then another couple of items sneak in ... then a couple more ..... well, I think you get the picture.

    IMO, whatever that is worth, if you want a medical response, light rescue and supression piece, even if it may only be used "if", purchase a midi-chassis, unless it is going to be one-demensional such as a dedicated brush or light-duty or meduim-duty foam unit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    GT ..

    I see where you are headed, but, I have been down this road as well.

    Once you add the pump and a water tank, it becomes very, very tempting to add just a couple of more items so if it has to, it can function as a supression unit if it really has to. Then another couple of items sneak in ... then a couple more ..... well, I think you get the picture.

    IMO, whatever that is worth, if you want a medical response, light rescue and supression piece, even if it may only be used "if", purchase a midi-chassis, unless it is going to be one-demensional such as a dedicated brush or light-duty or meduim-duty foam unit.
    I see what you're saying, but in my mind if we buy a med. duty chassis we might as well just buy another Freightliner.
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