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  1. #1
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    Default NFPA over regulating standards

    I have a problem with NFPA. We are finally able to purchase apparatus that can go the speed limit on hwys. Now if an apparatus weighs over 50,000 lbs, the top speed is lowered to 60mph. I know too well what it is like to attempt to run emergency traffic at a top speed of 55mph. you create a very dangerous situation (rolling road block). I know people say just turn off lights and siren. Well, tell that to the citizen who's house is on fire. With my limited research I have found that over 90% of all accidents involving fire apparatus happen at intersections. I personally haven't seen or heard of any high speed accidents. I know there are some. Look we have a pretty hazardous job to do and I truley believe by reducing te top speed of fire apparatus not only endangers other motorist, it also slows reponse times when in our profession seconds do really count. I am an engineer and have been assign to our only ladder company for 19 years. We now have an 80,800 lbs Pierce ladder platform 2006 Dash. It's top speed is 75 mph. We run the highway quite a bit and I want to tell you all that running emergency traffic at 70+ mph is far more comfortable than at 55 mph. I am a lot less nervous and the apparatus handles so incdredibly well. If 18 wheelers can drive 80 and 90 mph down the freeway then why can't we at least go the speed limit. This is just one example of the NFPA over regulating with standard recomindations. Thanks for the oppertunity to vent.


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    Find a manufacturer that will produce an apparatus without the limit. Many builders allow for variances from NFPA standards, and they (and their lawyers) will have the purchaser sign a exemption form stating you acknowledge the variance, the hazards it presents, and that you release them from liability when something goes wrong.

    Plan B, require the proper ring & pinion ratio to go the speed you want, and have the builder limit speed via the ECU. When you take possession of it, reprogram the ECU to go the speed you want. Keep in mind, if a driver goofs and kills or injures someone, a mediocre lawyer will have a field day with this. Keep in mind a new truck will have a data recorder, and all this will be available for the jury to see. A single case like this could likely fund his kids college education, build him a new office and beach house, and buy his wife, mistress, and secretary new SUVs.


    As a point of order, 50,000 lb vehicles are limited to 62 MPH, not 60.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Apparatus accidents rarely have anything to do with speed??? Just to clarify, which planet are you reporting in from?

    Where are you driving to that 60mph is TOO SLOW in a 40 ton truck?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firebksman View Post
    If 18 wheelers can drive 80 and 90 mph down the freeway then why can't we at least go the speed limit. This is just one example of the NFPA over regulating with standard recomindations. Thanks for the oppertunity to vent.
    Because these drivers operate their vehicles each and every day as a profession, and many of these operators have hundreds of thousands of miles accident free. They know what their vehicles are capable of doing and not doing, and operate them in acceptable manners. Many volunteer (and career FF's too, for that matter) do not operate large vehicles on a regular basis, and have no clue whatsoever on what their vehicles can and cannot do. Lets not even talk about cornering, center of gravity, inclement weather operations, the list is long and distinguished.

    Yes, the NFPA does over-do it with many standards, however this is one of the ones that I happen to agree with. Your post reeks of "I am a speed demon" and "damn that NFPA for putting speed limits into the standards." There are probably several hundreds of thousands of safe operating hours between all of the regular posters here in the engineering threads. I can't speak for everyone, but I am pretty confident when I say that if you came in here looking for sympathy, you better look in the dictionary beween sh*t and syphillis.

    So what if you can only go 60MPH, big frakken deal, let people pass you if they want to, it's not dangerous. I drive my antique pumper on Interstate 78 on a regular basis and people pass me all the time. Occasionally, I pass them.The attitude presented in your post is just one of many examples why many firefighters need a swift kick in the balls. So what if it takes you an extra minute or two to arrive- if you don't arrive at all, WTF good will you be?
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 05-18-2010 at 04:17 PM.
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Pre New reg we governed our rigs at 65. 55 is too slow when your response area is 60 sq or bigger. Ask the guys in Ca that sometimes have to relocate 100's of miles away.This is ONE area I think the DEPT should have the say,NOT NFPA. And yeah,I'm plenty confident to operate ANYTHING we own at 65. Thanks to laptops,this is easy cure and it doesn't matter if you're going 10 or 100,if you screw up the Lawyers will have a field day. NOTE TO SELF: DON'T screw up. T.C.

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    I'm guessing that most roll-overs would be consisdered high speed.

    When I get my 67 MPH engine out on the 70 MPH road I get in the left lane and shut my stuff off until I come to the exit that I need and then the lights and siren come back on, not that big of a deal.

    Another thing is that most of the new drivers that we have today have never driven anything bigger than a pickup they don't need to be running 80 MPH.

    People do stuipd stuff when they see lights and hear sirens, running 80 MPH is asking for problems.

    The department to our North has a policy that top speed in emergecy mode is 55 MPH.

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    on the one hand, you really aren't losing that much time. 60 vs 65 is negligible for most responses. Traveling 12 miles you only save a minute of travel time traveling at 65 instead of 60. If you are traveling that far, in the grand scheme of things you aren't losing much time; the situation will be really crappy when you get there. For a CPR call by the time you arrive you are already 12 minutes into the arrest assuming the person went down as you pulled out of the firehouse. So what are you really gaining? On the other, the expressway is designed for "high speed" travel and the governing of apparatus really only restricts you on the expressway, since the governed speed is still way too fast in an urban/suburban environment. So does the governing really help us?

    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post

    Another thing is that most of the new drivers that we have today have never driven anything bigger than a pickup they don't need to be running 80 MPH.
    I don't want to single you out, because a lot of us think that way, but that is horrible. If you're saying you have people driving that you don't feel have the skills to handle a large vehicle, they need more training and time behind the wheel. I think the fire service as a whole does this, and we really aren't helping ourselves with that kind of attitude.
    Last edited by nameless; 05-18-2010 at 06:52 PM.

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    Nameless -

    When I said 'we', I was meaning the fire service in general. You know as well as I do that there are some people that will drive a truck as fast as it will run, regardless of age or years of service, and regardless of where there are at. There are many places that the new guy is handed keys to the station and told how to start the truck and that is his driver training. I have watched trucks running 60 plus in a 35, is governing the trucks going to help with that? No. We have to keep in mind that a vast majority of firefighters are driving these large truck a very small amount of the time and that they are exicited to be going on a call.

    For our department there are many hours of training, driving, and testing before anyone is promoted to driver. I can go into the details of it if you want. Any of our people are more than caplable of driving whatever level they are trained and tested for.
    Last edited by rm1524; 05-18-2010 at 07:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I don't want to single you out, because a lot of us think that way, but that is horrible. If you're saying you have people driving that you don't feel have the skills to handle a large vehicle, they need more training and time behind the wheel. I think the fire service as a whole does this, and we really aren't helping ourselves with that kind of attitude.
    I was brought up around tractor trailers, tow trucks big and small, and had diesel injected into my veins at a very young age. Prior to even having a driver's license, I had driven an 18-wheeler across a good portion of I-80 west of Des Moines, Ia. I was brought up with a healthy respect of, and an appreciation for big trucks.

    Take some of the rank and file of the average Volunteer Fire Department. Sure, you have some guys who may be in construction, and operate a tri-axle regularly, or maybe you do have a trucker or two. But what about the guy who welds stainless steel making commercial kitchen equipment, or maybe the accountant, or the chemist, or the Civil Engineer? The only time that these guys operate something big is when they strap themselves into the Engine or the Truck.

    Do these folks need more training? Of course they do. They need all the time they can possibly muster behind the wheel. You become good at something by doing, doing it often, and understanding how to do it. I don't think it's an attitude. Pardon the theft of a classic line from the three stooges, but "we're just a victim of coicumstances!"

    What they do not need is an 80,800lb Tower Ladder that can do 75 MPH. In fact, NO ONE needs this.

    Oh, and BTW, do you guys have an overweight waiver for that thing?
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    FWDbuff where are you from? I feel your pain for having to drive that stretch of I-80 west of D.M. As far as the governed speed, I know some of our trucks can haul. Even though they are only (why do I say only?) 1250 gallon tankers, anything above 65ish is scary and frankly feels dangerous when coming up on intersections with a full load of water. I can't imagine a 40 ton ladder truck.

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    FWDbuff,

    For once I find I have to agree with you 100%. It seems these days there are less and less guys getting hired that have truck driving experience. Driver training has to adapt to the next generation.

    We're strictly an urban dept with no highways so the speed being discussed here would be unheard of for us. Having said that, I once drove a 100' platform in Denver at 65 mph and it was very unnerving. I think limiting the top speed is a good thing IMO.

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    I drive our rigs of 20-40 tons on I-80 alot. Usually a 15-25 mile run. I don't need to go any faster than the speed limit of 60mph. It isn't because of me, but the dumbasses that are on the road too.

    The FD's policy going on a run on I-80 is to kill lights and sirens at the on ramp, and turn them back on when they hit the off ramp. 2 reasons for that. 1 is because most rigs can't hold 60 mph. 2 is because they don't want the other drivers to get weirded out when they see the rigs coded, and doing something stupid, or getting panicky, and slowing down interstate traffic, causing an accident. Highways are fair game, at 45mph.

    I would really hate to see the effect of a front tire blow out when doing more than 60 mph in traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    The FD's policy going on a run on I-80 is to kill lights and sirens at the on ramp, and turn them back on when they hit the off ramp. 2 reasons for that. 1 is because most rigs can't hold 60 mph. 2 is because they don't want the other drivers to get weirded out when they see the rigs coded, and doing something stupid, or getting panicky, and slowing down interstate traffic, causing an accident. Highways are fair game, at 45mph.
    Damn, FD policies that make sense. So few civilian drivers know how to react when they see lights behind them or hear the sirens at the last minute, that having these abrupt reactions on a highway at 65+ MPH is foolish. Score one for OFD, for being proactive in the safety of their personnel and the people they protect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Apparatus accidents rarely have anything to do with speed??? Just to clarify, which planet are you reporting in from?

    Where are you driving to that 60mph is TOO SLOW in a 40 ton truck?
    I'm still waiting for Mario Andretti to come back and answer these questions. I'm very anxious to hear his response.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I know too well what it is like to attempt to run emergency traffic at a top speed of 55mph. you create a very dangerous situation (rolling road block). I know people say just turn off lights and siren. Well, tell that to the citizen who's house is on fire.
    Lights and sirens are not making your citizen feel better.
    Lights and sirens at 55mph when you are the slowest vehicle on the road probably do very little.
    55mph approaching an intersection is possibly a bad idea as well, even with lights and sirens.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    I can't speak for everyone, but I am pretty confident when I say that if you came in here looking for sympathy, you better look in the dictionary beween sh*t and syphillis.
    Thats funny...mind if I use that?

    Here's my take on the whole NFPA thing.... am I in total agreeance with all that they do...hell no.. BUt you have to realize alot of what they do is to help protect us from our own stupidity. There are...on occasion....rigs that wreck or flip for reason out of the control of the driver....but 95% of the time the accident can be traced back to fault of the driver being stupid. The intergrated pass device is another exsample.....(not that its a bad idea) but some depts had the clip on ones, and some didn't have them at all, and for those of us that did have them...how many of us didn't turn it on everytmie they put their bottle on? It came to a head at the Bricelyn St. fire in Pittsburgh when 3 city FF's were killed...and Finaly NFPA said....OK idiots... you don't have a choice now.
    So... you may not like the governed speeds, the cheverons, the SCBA HUD's, or what ever... but some where along the line, enough firefighters were stupid and some of even got killed becasue of it and NFPA took measures to put a stop to it, or atleast help curb the incidents.
    Right wrong or indifferent, it is what it is, but on occasion some of it goes to far, it's an inherantly dangerous profession..you can't change that....and I applaud trying to make it safe for us, but at the same time...let us do our job.
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    Default hhhhhmmmmmm

    Damn, Ive been judged without even trial by jury. I've been driving fire apparatus now for thirty years and have yet to have an accident. Speed demon, that's a good one. I just think and by experience know for a fact that when driving down a four lane hwy wether lights and siren and going 60mph in a 70mph speed zone posses incredible risk to other drivers. just this year we ran on a multi vehicle pile up because of one person driving 60mph in 70mph speed zone. one vehicle changed lanes quickly to avoid hitting the car but the vehicle behind him did not have a chance. I don't want to speed, just go the posted speed limit.

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    I think there's lots of talking here but not a lot of research. Can anyone tell me how many accidents involving Fire Trucks have occurred at speeds faster than 65 mph?

    If anyone can give that number lets compaire it to the number of accidents involving Fire Trucks at speeds below the 65 mph.

    Once we have compaired those numbers we can make an intelligent comment.

    I'm kinda interested to see the outcome. I wonder if the people on the NFPA committee even considered these numbers when they were comming up with the new regs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scoders1 View Post

    If anyone can give that number lets compaire it to the number of accidents involving Fire Trucks at speeds below the 65 mph.
    Uh, maybe most of us don't ever travel at those speeds? If 95% of apparatus responds at 35-45 MPH, you'll obviously see higher percentages. The data doesn't exist to actually properly compare total miles driven at different speed ranges.

    Nice try. Good luck justifying this foolishness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scoders1
    I think there's lots of talking here but not a lot of research. Can anyone tell me how many accidents involving Fire Trucks have occurred at speeds faster than 65 mph?
    What is there to research?? Firstly, SPEED KILLS !!! Secondly, there are very few rigs that actually makes runs doing more than 65mph.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoders1
    If anyone can give that number lets compaire it to the number of accidents involving Fire Trucks at speeds below the 65 mph.
    What do you want to compare it to?? Rural highway runs, midtown runs, winding roads vs. straight streets, with or without traffic control devices??? All fit into a different niche in the real world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoders1
    Once we have compaired those numbers we can make an intelligent comment.
    The only non-intelligent comments seen are from you and the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoders1
    I'm kinda interested to see the outcome. I wonder if the people on the NFPA committee even considered these numbers when they were comming up with the new regs?
    If you guys would learn not to over drive your rigs, and knew how to drive per traffic and road conditions, the NFPA wouldn't have to say or do anything.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
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