1. #1
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    Default looking at used aerials - what to watch out for

    I understand that this is a potientially broad topic

    Our department is considering purchasing a used aerial, whether it is a ladder, or a squirt, or bucket/scope.

    What should be looked at when purchasing used.

    Thanks.
    Mohican

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    First and formost for ANY used aerial purchase, you need to see the aerial certification and that it has passed within the last 6 months. If there is no current certification, ask that the seller provide one at their cost, and if they refuse, RUN, do not walk away from the deal.

    After that, it's just like any other used purchase. Condition? Mileage? Wear 'N Tear? Will it suit your purposes? etc etc etc.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    First and formost for ANY used aerial purchase, you need to see the aerial certification and that it has passed within the last 6 months. If there is no current certification, ask that the seller provide one at their cost, and if they refuse, RUN, do not walk away from the deal.

    After that, it's just like any other used purchase. Condition? Mileage? Wear 'N Tear? Will it suit your purposes? etc etc etc.



    EXACTELY what he said. It has to be in great shape and have an certification or you would out yourself in a back position should you buy it, use it and something happens bad!!

    There are a lot of dealers that have and sell used apparatus. Check with them.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Make sure the aerial certification was done by an authorized service center and done properly. Here's an example:

    http://www.aerialtesting.com/aerial.html

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    It would be my recommendation to not only see the most recent certification but also for a few years prior. That will tell you some about how the truck was maintained. Did they just make repairs to sell it or has it been taken care of.

    Same goes for the pump if so equipped. Depending upon if you are buying it from a department or a broker, you should be able to get copy of daily and weekly apparatus inspection sheets and shop records.

    Most importantly, get a third (neutral and qualified) party to inspect it from bumper to tail board. You would do this when buying a used personal vehicle, why not with apparatus? Even if you have to pay to find out you don't want the truck it is money very well spent.

    Our department purchased a used stick about 6 years ago. Besides making sure it fits the station and will haul the equipment needed look at how you intend to use it. This particular truck was purchased because it met ISO guidelines, fit in the station (with about 16" overall to spare) and got a second aerial in the department. Now it is nickle and diming us to death and with the current economy it may not be replaced in the next couple years as planned. Morale of the story, chose wisely and make sure it is a truck you can live with long term.

    Good luck.
    Train like you want to fight.
    www.kvfd.net

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    My department is in the process of trying to replace our `87 Seagrave stick, 75', with a more modern 100` platform that's more in line with the size of buildings in our service area. Our present truck just failed yearly testing and the prognosis isn't pretty.

    What I've come across at this point heading up the replacement committee that I'd offer are some that have already been mentioned, as well as some other thoughts based on our own experience.

    Certficiation - you'll want to see it for both the aerial device itself, plus the pump. Third party is the only way to go - fair and impartial (hopefully). As was mentioned as well, check for previous year's reports.

    Consider that if the aerial is of welded construction, is it possible that there are cracks in the device. What's the condition of the hydraulics - lines, fittings, motor(s), valves etc.

    Will the replacement meet the current and future needs of your department's coverage area. Is the reach long enough.

    One that we nearly overlooked - what's the overall height of the replacement your looking at versus your present door opening clearance. Don't forget to account for any angles on your front pad, plus swing radius when pulling out of the station.

    Power train - will the new one have enough power for the terrain in your area. Take the mechanic who'll be working on it in the end and have them inspect the power plant and drive train. Same for the pump - take your engineer(s) and have them look it over. Are you upgrading your pump or downgrading. And talk to the guys who drove it and the ones who worked with it. Try and feel them out for any problems or concerns they have/had.

    See if you can borrow it to test drive on your streets. Doesn't make sense buying something that won't fit down your streets (or in the firehouse for that matter).

    Biggy - what NFPA standards does it meet? Is it up to current standards or is it out-dated? I guess if you don't care, then it doesn't matter, but with my department, we try to keep all our equipment up to current standards. That can be pretty difficult at times and sometimes overlooked, as in the case of our present aerial.

    Compartments - are they large enough or are there enough to hold all your intended equipment.

    Warranties? Probably not if you're buying from another department, but if from a company, they should be able to give you something.

    One of our biggest reasons in stepping up from a ladder to a platform was safety. We felt that having a platform provides a better work area for a team than having them stacked up on just a ladder. Also, we went longer due to our community growth.
    Hardest part is trying to get those who approve and pay for it to do just that, approve paying for it.
    Last edited by WBFD25; 03-16-2010 at 10:21 PM.

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    Consider the geographic location of where the aerial came from. Harsh winters can cause all kinds of trouble later on, electrical, body, paint corrosion, etc.

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    Default 1992 Or Newer

    Make sure it was built to be compliant with the 1992 version of NFPA 1901. Prior to this, there were several aerial failures. I believe the '92 version increased the safety factor and drastically reduced if not almost eliminated the failures. Perhaps someone can correct me if I'm off base here.

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    Default Used Aerials

    Here are a few considerations:

    If your community has steep grades (hills, etc.) ensure:
    1. That the motor has the power to move the chassis up those steep grades. As some
    motors age, they lose some of their power.
    2. That the brakes still work for going down steep grades.

    How are you going to supply water to it? I do not know your water supply, but if your hydrants cannot supply a certain GPM, the aerial may only be good for rescue, not firefighting. You will have to look at what type of hose (LDH, etc.) that you will need on that aerial, too.

    Since the economy has soured, I have seen more cities trying to sell used apparatus and equipment (pumpers, etc.) to raise cash. Some cities have excess apparatus that sits around forever. Now that those cities are cash starved, they are put up for sale. Those excess apparatus were taken out of service for a reason (mechanical failure, etc.) Be wary of what you are buying! If you do not find what you need or it is not certified, do not buy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    Make sure the aerial certification was done by an authorized service center and done properly. Here's an example:

    http://www.aerialtesting.com/aerial.html
    I highly recommend this company. Very thorough job.

    C6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Command6 View Post
    I highly recommend this company. Very thorough job.

    C6
    +1

    We have had them do our Quint every year for the past 10... this is the first year it has ever "Passed Conditionally". They got it for a worn rung cover and a squeeking pulley.

    On the flip side of the conversation, finding a fly pulley for an '89 LTI has not been fun... The good news, since it's for sale, the new owner is getting all new pullies, wear pads, and seals top to bottom. Believe it or not they all came as part of a "Rebuild Kit" that was found as NOS and it's cheaper to just get them all versus getting just the lone pulley made.

    I'm still trying to figure out what LTI did when painting back in the day. This is a well used 21 year old ladder with out ANY rust what so ever. The Amish were on thier A Game back then.
    FTM-PTB DTRT

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

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    I wont name names but I would suggest that you never purchase an aerial with a couple of specific builders' product as the main aerial device. There have been a couple that came and went, were bought and phased out, etc. that you're just asking for a nightmare when it comes to maintenance and service...
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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