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    Default Utility truck with cascade

    Our department was discussing the possibility of a Utility truck with Cascade system as a small department were looking to go with the cheapest option. With this truck were looking to go with a truck thats primary function is strictly Cascade any added storage due to design requirements would be a bonus, however theres no need for the extra storage. In a nutshell a pickup truck with cascade system and a body around it. 2 bottle containment system/fill station, and approx 4 large 6000 psi fill bottles. First Question is what size chassis would something like this require. Seccond is what price range would this unit be in? The other option is we currently have a F350 dual rear wheel pickup. What would the cost be with providing the chassis and just having the conversion done if a 350 chassis is sufficient?

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    Buy a light rescue and have the system installed in it. Plan for the future- if you have the space to use you WILL find a use for it.
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    right now we have 2 rescue engines, one being the primary which is stuffed to the gills but the other is the backup and is only utilizing half the space so we have plenty of room for further equip were jus lookin for somtin cheap to make a mobile cascade as cheap as possible so we arent reliant on mutual aid so much

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    Buy a camper shell for the F350. Get your cascade system and mount it in the bed of the truck. Tailgate is the 'workbench' for the fill station. That is the cheap way to make a moblie air unit.

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    If cheap is the way you want to go, follow the suggestion posted above and purchase a camper shell for the F350 dually. If you go this route, you might look at putting an Exteno-Bed in it to make getting to things (fill controls, the large cylinders, etc) much easier.

    There are a great number of small and regional manufacturers that make vehicles like you want. In all of my travels and fire trucks seen, I've always thought that Fouts Brothers made a decent budget-minded vehicle for light-duty rescue and air-cascade.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    There are a great number of small and regional manufacturers that make vehicles like you want. In all of my travels and fire trucks seen, I've always thought that Fouts Brothers made a decent budget-minded vehicle for light-duty rescue and air-cascade.
    I think Fouts's walk-in rescue bodies are actually built by Reading.

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    (just some questions for us to ponder for the need of an air supply rig.)
    how many bottles are you needing to fill that it cannot be done at the station?
    is this a twice a week, twice a month, or once a year need?
    how far out is a mutual aid cascade?
    how many bottles do you currently muster up on a first/second/third alarm?



    for my department, we decided to buy a large amount of scba bottles and place them in a capped bed of our utility pick-up. we also ensure that on our 2nd alarms and greater that there are cascade rigs coming from mutual aid.

    my opinion is that you calculate the cost between the cascade and extra bottles (20 or so) and look at testing, maintainance, nfpa standards for air sampling and the such prior to getting the best option for your department.
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    trailer -get a trailer

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    Default Food for Thought

    sfd2674: Are you planning to fill these 6,000 psi bottles with your own compressor? Some one else's? Most compressor / filter suppliers will tell you that grade "D" air is adequate for firefighting B/A, and that is correct.... as far as that statement is concerned. Here is the real situation with "D" air. It has a dew point of -65 deg. F at 14.7 psi, but the dew point is pressure dependent. Inside your 6,000 psi cascade bottle the -65 dew point becomes about + 42 deg. F. Now when you take your cascade out into the cold, there will be water condensing on the inside of your 6,000 psi cylinders at temperatures below 42 deg. F. Anyone with a mobile cascade or an aerial with plumbed-in air supply needs to be aware of the physics of high pressure air. There are several possible problems with condensation inside high pressure cylinders. First the water will cause rusting on the inside of the tanks when it is in the liquid form. This means that between 32 deg. F and 42 deg. F the water will enhance the oxidation (rusting). Second, when high pressure air passes through a valve or regulator it will be possible to form frost in the needle and seat of these devices due to the temperature drop below the frost point.
    If you upgrade your adsorption columns and filters to Grade "E" with a dew point of - 95 deg. F. the 6,000 psi dew point drops to around 15 deg. F. This will produce frost uniformly around the surfaces inside the tank and result in less rusting.

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    I still say get a light rescue and use the extra space for extra SCBA bottles, rehab/overhaul supplies, etc.

    On the issue of condensation, would insulating the bottles help any?
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    Anything that would keep the bottles above 42 deg. would prevent condensation of moisture in a cylinder containing -65 deg. F dewpoint at standard atmospheric pressure. Just not sure how long it could be outside before the cylinder temp. would drop. Since the relationship between pressure and dew point temperature is nearly linear, dropping cylinder pressure to around 5400 psi would bring the pressure dew point to around 32 degrees or the frost point instead of water. Any time we create rust in a system, you risk creating particles that can be carried down stream into sensitive regulators and valves.

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    To answer a few questions ...
    The reason we are looking to do this is currently we have no way of filling our bottles on our own. If we use bottles for training, fires, or anything you would use air we have to bring them to our mutual aid companys to fill them. This is fine as long as you can get someone to come down and fill the bottles. As for filling the 6000 psi bottles we would be using the one departments compressor and im not familiar with what grade air they are using. I was looking for somtin on the utility body line with compartments down the side, using one for the containment unit and the others to store bottles and other misc. equip. and sliding the 4 6000 Psi bottles in through the rear. The reason we are lookin at mobile is right now we have nothing so were figuring if we look into doin a cascade we might as well explore mobile so we can get multiple use out of it.

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    We have something very similar to what you're looking to do. Its a 1999 Ford F-350 with a diesel, Stahl body, and was put together by Monroe Truck.

    Originally conceived as a lower cost manpower and EMS rig, the cascade and fill station was added in 2005 (give or take a year) as we had leftover money from an SCBA grant, so a rack with four 6000 psi cylinders and an Eagle Sidewinder fill station was installed in the body. The Sidewinder was the only fill enclosure that could handle two bottles at a time and still fit in the existing foot print of the body without making modifications. The cylinders sit in the body arranged front to rear, two on top of two in a rack where originally a large full length slide out tray was installed. There may be other fill enclosures now available that could fit, but I'm not sure what's new since we bought ours.

    If I were to put the existing setup in a new rig, I'd probably push for a one ton 4x4 pickup chassis with a topper. The Stahl body is starting to show its age, with rot issues, etc. The "right" topper that would allow the removal of the tailgate and have a large rear door for the entire rear of the rig would make access to the fill station very easy, and perhaps having side access doors above the side of the bed on each side could allow some other equipment to be carried. Our current rig is not 4wd, and in the winter 4wd for us is always a nice convenience.

    The only issue I see in using a pickup with our current fill station is an avenue for the "blast" if a bottle fails needs to be cut under the fill station. I suppose you could cut into the pickup bed like we had to do with the floor in our Stahl body, but I'd be hesitant.

    I like that our little unit with the cascade is not a big squad because then it isn't committing lots of resources just to provide air. If somone needs our air, all we send is a unit that really only runs on med runs or as a manpower unit. We're not taking extrication or lighting capabilities out of service to use it or refill it. Being a smaller rig, we can often sneak it closer to a scene which helps getting bottles filled and SCBAs back in service quicker.

    I can try to snap some photos of it if you're interested.
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    It seems to me that by the time you buy a 350/3500 series dualie (would a F-450/550 be more appropriate?)($27,000+), a Reading/Stahl utility body ($12,000+), the cascade components, and additional equipment, you're going to be farther along to go out and buy yourselves a nice big fill station for your firehouse.

    Additionally, I seriously doubt that you're going to be able to fit either SCBA bottle storage or a containment system into one of those outside compartments. We have a Knapheide body on a F-450, and were a little disappointed when we were all said and done with the size of the compartments.

    If you really want a mobile system, I agree with GTRider. Spend the money, get a F-550 light rescue that is going to give you the space you want for the cascade, spare bottles, and some extra room to expand at a later time. Some traffic control stuff might not be a bad compliment for this unit.

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    If you are looking to go cheap but big look at old Coke/beer trucks in your area. We got ours for $3000.00 Heck it cost more to paint the truck than it did to buy it. As far as space, there is plenty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KuhShise View Post
    Inside your 6,000 psi cascade bottle the -65 dew point becomes about + 42 deg. F. Now when you take your cascade out into the cold, there will be water condensing on the inside of your 6,000 psi cylinders at temperatures below 42 deg. F.
    Pay close attention to KuhShise's advise. Water is the #1 enemy of breathing air systems.

    When I was maintaining the mobile compressor/cascade system for my volly dept, I adjusted the pressure maintaining valve so that no air could exit the purification system until it reached 4,000 psi. The aided in the removal of water from the air, which is a big issue down here in the Southeast.

    You'll have no such option with a cascade, you'll just have to take what they give you, unless you really know what you're doing.
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    Default Utility Truck with Cascade

    When putting together a truck like this do you consider NFPA, DOT, NIOSH, etc.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    We have something very similar to what you're looking to do. Its a 1999 Ford F-350 with a diesel, Stahl body, and was put together by Monroe Truck.

    Originally conceived as a lower cost manpower and EMS rig, the cascade and fill station was added in 2005 (give or take a year) as we had leftover money from an SCBA grant, so a rack with four 6000 psi cylinders and an Eagle Sidewinder fill station was installed in the body. The Sidewinder was the only fill enclosure that could handle two bottles at a time and still fit in the existing foot print of the body without making modifications. The cylinders sit in the body arranged front to rear, two on top of two in a rack where originally a large full length slide out tray was installed. There may be other fill enclosures now available that could fit, but I'm not sure what's new since we bought ours.

    If I were to put the existing setup in a new rig, I'd probably push for a one ton 4x4 pickup chassis with a topper. The Stahl body is starting to show its age, with rot issues, etc. The "right" topper that would allow the removal of the tailgate and have a large rear door for the entire rear of the rig would make access to the fill station very easy, and perhaps having side access doors above the side of the bed on each side could allow some other equipment to be carried. Our current rig is not 4wd, and in the winter 4wd for us is always a nice convenience.

    The only issue I see in using a pickup with our current fill station is an avenue for the "blast" if a bottle fails needs to be cut under the fill station. I suppose you could cut into the pickup bed like we had to do with the floor in our Stahl body, but I'd be hesitant.

    I like that our little unit with the cascade is not a big squad because then it isn't committing lots of resources just to provide air. If somone needs our air, all we send is a unit that really only runs on med runs or as a manpower unit. We're not taking extrication or lighting capabilities out of service to use it or refill it. Being a smaller rig, we can often sneak it closer to a scene which helps getting bottles filled and SCBAs back in service quicker.

    I can try to snap some photos of it if you're interested.
    If you could provide some pictures that would be perfect sounds like you have exactly what i was looking for like i said we have an '03-04 dualy F350 right now with almost no miles on it. Right now its just a quad cab pickup with an 8 foot bed and a Cap on it no equipment at all. Just looking to use what we have to serve a greater purpose.

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    Personality, I like the trailer idea as it can sit in the bay at the station as a fixed unit, or be towed to a scene, and you still have the use of the pickup as a utility truck.

    The other advantage of the trailer is that it can simply be unhooked at a long-term scene without tying up a truck. Just my opinion.

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    Unless you have more manpower at a scene than you know what to do with, do you need to add another task? I submit that calling mutual aid or county EMA etc to operate cylinder refill is a great idea. Or to operate the tanker fill site, or lay the LDH or etc etc etc. Keep you FF at the fire. (And less expensive for you than operating another piece of equipment.)

    If you need a few more SCBA cylinders (more than 2/pack) to cover the time until mutual aid arrives buy them. Still less expensive and more useful.

    And trailer mounted works great. Our cascade is DOD surplus trailer with 8x tanks. Was brand new, cost us nothing and NO insurance.

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    Why not check with the delivery folks, Fed-Ex and UPS to see if they will donate to your department a good used step van type truck. They are very well maintained.

    They are pretty rugged and you can mount the cascade system in the cargo area also all the spare cylinders that you can muster up.

    You will have to paint it and add lights, etc., but there are tough trucks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfd2674 View Post
    If you could provide some pictures that would be perfect sounds like you have exactly what i was looking for like i said we have an '03-04 dualy F350 right now with almost no miles on it. Right now its just a quad cab pickup with an 8 foot bed and a Cap on it no equipment at all. Just looking to use what we have to serve a greater purpose.
    I'll try to snap some photos, or dig up something that I already have.
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    sounds good thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by CTVFIRE View Post
    This type of a system is very common in Europe with the construction-dumpster size roll on-roll off units.

    Configurations include tanker pods, LDH pods, technical rescue/haz-mat pods, command unit pods and heavy duty lighting pods.

    Hasn't really caught on here yet though it seems like a pretty efficient way to have a number of specialized response configurations with a minimum number of chassis.

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