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  1. #1
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    Default Front Bumper Monitors

    Anyone out there using a remote-controlled front bumper monitor on a brush truck?

    We're spec'ing out a new brush truck (Ford F350-550, 250 gallon tank, CAFS) and there is an argument between those that want to go with a crosswalk between the cab so firefighters can ride there and pump-and-roll and those (like me) that argue that the safest bet is to do away with the crosswalk and put in a remote-controlled monitor. This way you don't have someone riding outside the truck AND should you respond with only one person (which can happen during the day), you still can easily fight fire.

    The prime argument against the monitor is the perception of higher cost, actual usefulness, and, mostly, reliability.

    So, if you have a bumper monitor, what has been your experience with it as far as reliability and usefulness? What monitor do you use (Akron, Elkhart, or TFT)? Do you use it with CAFS? Any other comments?

    Thanks in advance...


  2. #2
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simpleguy68 View Post
    Anyone out there using a remote-controlled front bumper monitor on a brush truck?

    We're spec'ing out a new brush truck (Ford F350-550, 250 gallon tank, CAFS) and there is an argument between those that want to go with a crosswalk between the cab so firefighters can ride there and pump-and-roll and those (like me) that argue that the safest bet is to do away with the crosswalk and put in a remote-controlled monitor. This way you don't have someone riding outside the truck AND should you respond with only one person (which can happen during the day), you still can easily fight fire.

    The prime argument against the monitor is the perception of higher cost, actual usefulness, and, mostly, reliability.

    So, if you have a bumper monitor, what has been your experience with it as far as reliability and usefulness? What monitor do you use (Akron, Elkhart, or TFT)? Do you use it with CAFS? Any other comments?

    Thanks in advance...
    We don't use them, don't have them.

    My thought is that there is probably a good chance that you will wind up wasting water, rather then a firefighter holding the nozzle and controlling the application.

    I'd be curious to hear what those who have them think.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  3. #3
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    I would not do away with the crosswalk we have them and love it but we would also like a monitor on front. if we had the to chose between them
    we would go with the crosswalk

  4. #4
    Forum Member Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    We don't use them, don't have them.

    My thought is that there is probably a good chance that you will wind up wasting water, rather then a firefighter holding the nozzle and controlling the application.

    I'd be curious to hear what those who have them think.
    Chief you nailed it, They are water wasting POS' and what ever happens don't let the rep tell you any different, they are a plumbing nightmare too.

    Quote Originally Posted by brynnwtn View Post
    I would not do away with the crosswalk we have them and love it but we would also like a monitor on front. if we had the to
    chose between them
    we would go with the crosswalk
    Get rid of the cross walk. You are going to get some one killed or seriously hurt, Riding on the outside of a moving vehicle is retardedly stupid.

    To answer your question, Don't do either one, If you need to pump and roll plumb a line up right next to the passenger side window, Stay seat belted and inside the Cab.
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

  5. #5
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    Had an elkhart for 8 years no complaints --- It has its place but no where as versitle as two men on a walkway - one facing forward knocking down -the second finishing up and watching behind -- the driver with both hands on the wheel - trying to use a monitor by yourslf will eventually bite you if you try to pump and roll - you will get tunnel vision , plus have at least one hand tied up operating the controls (ours uses toggle switches and really takes two hands) the joystick may let you get by with one. But still driving , you need your mind on the big picture. If you absolutley have to chase running fires with driver only -look into a sweep bumper - still not a good idea - but less likely to drive into a gulley.

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    I personally like the bumper "sweep" nozzles. These work great on an open grass fire with a definate fire line. You can set it up to where the driver operates the sweeper nozzle and the guy riding on the back mops up. I wouldnt go with the monitor as it is just something else to tear off. I mean they are "brush" trucks therefore they do see a little bit of low hanging limbs and such. It also seems that there may be a little more water wasted as the driver attempts to keep the nozzle positioned correctly. With the sweeper nozzles you can catch both sides of the fire line easily.
    Puttin the wet stuff on the red stuff!

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    We have Elkhart Sidewinders on 3 wildland type 6 engines. Work very good. The two engines that have CAFS have a smoothbore nozzle with a 1/2" tip. Does very well on water usage with CAFS and does a great job at extinguishment. The engine that does not have CAFS has a 15 GPM adjustable fog-nozzle, and while not as water efficient as the 1/2" tip flowing CAFS it still does pretty well. We do have adjustable fog nozzles for the CAFS trucks as well and we have adapted the mad-dog aspirated foam attachment to fit all the remote monitor 15 GPM fog nozzles. That configuration makes pretty darn good aspirated foam, sometimes that's the tool that makes the most sense. You do loose some stream reach, just depends on the most appropriate tool for the job at hand. Overall we are very happy with the remote monitors, no doubt they are not "AS EFFICIENT" as a man on the ground with a nozzle, but they do get used alot and definitely have their application. We haven't allowed any firefighters to ride on the exterior of a wildland engine for many years now. Our normal practice before we put remote monitors in service was a man on the ground at the end of a booster hose or 1" forestry hose. Depending on the incident and fuel-type we still do that as well. Just sort of depends on what the best method of attack is at the time. After years of riding on the apparatus and spraying from a front mouted cat-walk we believe that a man on the ground is more efficient and it doesn't seem to slow us down at all, and we have less flare-ups, slops, and control line escapes.
    Rick Gustad - Chief
    Platte Volunteer Fire Department
    www.plattevfd.com

  8. #8
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    IMO the driver should be concentrating on driving and only driving... even in a farmers field where there probably aren't any hazards such as rocks, old septic tanks, ditches, etc, fire in light fuels can change dramatically in the blink of an eye.

    Remote monitors work good, but very often do require a good water supply behind them. Working with a hoseline beside the engine works good in the grasslands of CA and the Great Basin fuel type, but not so effective in the tall grass prairies of Oklahoma and such. My agency has a truck with a 30 gpm front monitor, but it also has 2400 gallons behind it . The gallonage may be adjustable from the cab, but it definately is from the ground.

    Different fuel types require different tactics. Working off the back of truck, properly secured and with a roll cage and with a communication link can be an effective tactic. What is more dangerous, sitting in the cab, no seat belt, bombing thru the smoke only to collide with another piece of equipment, or being in the roll cage moving at about 5-10 mph properly secured.
    IACOJ
    Stopping controlled burning DOES NOT stop the burning, only the control!
    http://www.wy.blm.gov/fireuse/fums.htm

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    We have 5 remote monitors in our department. We have two Akron 1.5" nozzles that will go 60gpm to 125 gpm, and 3 sidewinders with 30gpm nozzles. They way I have trained our firemen to use them is to set them and drive to the fire. That is kind of like a sweep but you have the ability to shoot it out a little further. We shoot it ahead and to the side. Even with an operator it is too hard to try and run the joystick all the time. The Akrons are mounted on our two 2006 International interface engines. They have crosswalks behind the cab that we have guys ride and put out any spots we missed. The other three are mounted on 5ton 6x6 trucks. All these trucks carry 1200 gallons of water. We just ordered a new F450 with 400 gallons of water. We have the option to put a remote nozzle on it but don't have the money now. The ones on the interface engines come in handy for all kinds of fires.

  10. #10
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    Water usage means nothing with monitors do they?
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

  11. #11
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    we have the front remote nozzle and a cross walk on a truck they have not been used in years the old times tried them but found in to be a waste of water and when you service a large area that most farms and pasture water is sometimes a long ways away . this same truck has a cross walk and it is only used at speed less than 5 mile per hr I prefer just to get off and walk most times . we have 2 bush truck that are designed with gate to ride and spray from a safe protected area between cab and tank . Our sister station in Rotan have a 5 ton that have a cage on the front bumper to ride in mostly used for open area grass fires and I have been on the front of the truck . the main part is know what your going to do with the truck is it mostly open grass , bush , structurer ,or just ditch fires look back at your records for the past 2 yrs and see what your mostly fighting and talk to the other department in your area and see what their running and how its working for them . what works here in the rolling plane of TEXAS my not work in the flat lands of Kanses .

  12. #12
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    Water usage is not the problem. The real problem is management of your water supply. Calling for additional water and mutual aid is one of the biggest problems. Knowing when to get the extra water rolling is the key. We get into alot of heavy CRP that takes alot of water to put out. Doesn't matter if you are using the booster or the 1.5" line. The guys first on the scene have to make that initial sizeup and decide if they have enought water coming or do they need more. I would much rather 10-22 water than be running out. Our local Ag sprayers will bring tankers for us when it is bad in the spring. You just have to call and ask. A couple of semi's with 5000 gallons apiece is sure handy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCKSFIRE View Post
    Water usage is not the problem. The real problem is management of your water supply. Calling for additional water and mutual aid is one of the biggest problems. Knowing when to get the extra water rolling is the key. We get into alot of heavy CRP that takes alot of water to put out. Doesn't matter if you are using the booster or the 1.5" line. The guys first on the scene have to make that initial sizeup and decide if they have enought water coming or do they need more. I would much rather 10-22 water than be running out. Our local Ag sprayers will bring tankers for us when it is bad in the spring. You just have to call and ask. A couple of semi's with 5000 gallons apiece is sure handy.
    Not sure I understand your point... sure, those other resources are coming. So is Christmas.

    Not to mention that riding a few miles out to the hardtop to refill is not the best strategy.

    Water is always an issue... regardless of what you have in staging.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    We don't have miles to go to get to the hardtop to refill. In our area of the plains we have pretty good access at a fire. Wide open spaces and limited trees.

    Our biggest problem is staffing. We can have times where we may only have one guy per truck when it leaves the station. That is where the front monitors work great. One person can extinguish alot of fire until the calvary shows up.

    In our area you would kill a person trying to walk the line. The fire would out run you trying to walk it. I know I will get attacked that we should all be in super physical condition. That may be the reality some places but in alot of places we are just lucky to have volunteers willing to answer the call. JMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhacker View Post
    Chief you nailed it, They are water wasting POS' and what ever happens don't let the rep tell you any different, they are a plumbing nightmare too.



    Get rid of the cross walk. You are going to get some one killed or seriously hurt, Riding on the outside of a moving vehicle is retardedly stupid.

    To answer your question, Don't do either one, If you need to pump and roll plumb a line up right next to the passenger side window, Stay seat belted and inside the Cab.
    How do you fight a large grass fire that is moving faster then you can walk and fighting fire from inside the cab is not that easy to do I have tried

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by brynnwtn View Post
    How do you fight a large grass fire that is moving faster then you can walk and fighting fire from inside the cab is not that easy to do I have tried
    Fall back and punt.

    We'd probably drive the edge of the field and light it off.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Fall back and punt.

    We'd probably drive the edge of the field and light it off.
    thats why we have the crosswalks so we can ride on truck right behide the cab

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by brynnwtn View Post
    How do you fight a large grass fire that is moving faster then you can walk and fighting fire from inside the cab is not that easy to do I have tried
    Quote Originally Posted by brynnwtn View Post
    thats why we have the crosswalks so we can ride on truck right behide the cab
    If that Fire is moving faster than you can keep up with it on the Ground are you really gaining on it? Or are you just doing some thing to do something?

    Why is it so difficult to pump and roll from the air conditioned cab, seat belted in a comfy seat?

    Riding on apparatus is a stupid idea, even dumber on wild land engines. And really there is no excuse for it.
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

  19. #19
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    Default In the Flinthills

    We have large pasture and we end up 3 or 4 miles into a pasture with no roads so water is a premium. Don't have many anchor points for a back burn so normally elect for a direct attackl.

    We have 2 monitors, the newer one works better in training since it has a faster electric valve than our first one and was mounted higher so you can see it for aiming.

    Neither have been used yet on a running fire - we have the walkways behind the cab. Plan is to use them when manpower is short and we have to send a truck with 1 person until further help arrives. They will set the monitor then drive the truck along the line.

    Fighting fire from inside the cab can work when your on the right flank - can hit from the black working towards the head fire.

    In our area we have lost several firefighters to heat exhaustion/heart attach/eletrocution on the departments that walk the fire line, zero to injuries from riding secured on the outside of the apperatus.

  20. #20
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    Just how much higher is the new one mounted ? You can get one too high and the wind can sometimes give you problems . Dont ask me how I know.

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