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  1. #1
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    Default Apparatus Growth

    I've been wondering about this one for a while now. Aside from multipurpose rigs (rescue engines/engine tankers, etc), why are apparatus getting larger? I understand that the options you chose will potentially affect the size of the apparatus. I understand that an extended front bumper adds length, I understand that a top mount pump panel adds 24+ inches. For the sake of this discussion we are talking about suppression engines.
    Do you think the increase in size is related to safety requirements (such as enclosed cabs)? Do you think the increase is due to technology? What other theories do you have?
    I think back to our 1972 Mack CF 1250 gpm pumper or consider our 1983 Sutphen 1500 gpm pumper. Both these apparatus are relatively short (< 30') and the Mack is double short (< 9' OAH). Then I think about our relatively newer apparatus, regardless of custom or commercial (obviously the custom is shorter) they are longer and taller, even with the same size tank and basic equipment. They just sit higher. I'm thinking about a 1,500 midship pump, 600 gallon tank, 30 gallon foam, (2) 200' 1 3/4" preconnects, generator and a hose bed capable of 1,500' 5" LDH and 1,000' 3". Any builder can build a short apparatus but usually you are giving something up to get the short length and low height. I'm not looking to debate builders but instead the industry.
    What are your views?
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  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Well, certainly cab sizes are increasing due to the tree-hugging engines....
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Default

    You can't put 6 gallons of water in a 5 gallon jug.

    Now convert that water to equipment, and there's your answer, for simplicity.

    It isn't the industry that is to blame, per say. It is the dept's that are trying to do more, with more specialized equipment and tools that are available now, that wasn't 20, or even 10 yrs ago. Or can now afford to have them. Operations of a standard pumper have also changed, to add to the mix.

    Compartment space and hose amount is pretty much what dictates its length and height anymore. Want more compartment space, and keep or add to your hose lengths, then you have to make it taller or longer, or both.

    Welcome back Walt, long time no see. Invitation still stands.

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    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  4. #4
    Forum Member Tim1118's Avatar
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    Default

    Expanding on what Firemech1 said... I think lower staffing, and knowledge of available funding (and future projections) are also a contributor. Knowing that you only have the manpower to get one rig out the door before requesting mutual aid will make you want to have more equipment on that one rig. So, instead of leaving the generator/light tower/etc on the rescue, it goes with the engine.

    As for the rest (going back to your standard engine), I think that safety, reliability, comfort, and ability have all played a major part. Safety devices such as air bags (SRS kind, not lifting bags), ABS and stability control, better suspension configurations, and the like are going to need a little space... and then there's the emissions equipment that is really affecting cab sizes. Motors themselves are bigger because we tend to use more horsepower today to climb hills and drive our pumps, then add the heavier drive line that the additional power requires. More space inside the cabs to add comfort on all three axis, bigger compartments to hold the larger fans/rescue tools/specialized equipment. It seems like steadily each year, we go a little further with the rig-spec than we did last time, adding something in a few areas. Over time, all the little things we've added, have turned into a much larger truck.

    I suppose the summary to this novel is, all of the equipment additions, all of the hose/water/foam/fuel/crew capacity increases, coupled with the power/emissions/strength/NFPA/DOT requirements, have made our trucks what they are today.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default

    I suppose the summary to this novel is, all of the equipment additions, all of the hose/water/foam/fuel/crew capacity increases, coupled with the power/emissions/strength/NFPA/DOT requirements, have made our trucks what they are today.
    I concur....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  6. #6
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    When it comes to design, I consider every apparatus a box. The size of the box dictates what you can put in it. If you want more compartment space, or a larger tank, or a light tower, etc you either have to give something up or get a bigger box. I understand that.
    I also understand that tactics have changed due to how our fire loads have changed. When our 1972 Mack was delivered it had a two stage pump and dual 1" reels and that's how they fought fire at that time. It was modified slightly to put preconnects on it. Now last month I spoke to a department in New Mexico and their department is transitioning back to using high pressure pumps and booster lines. I understand that is done quite a bit in different parts of the world and is a topic for another discussion. What I'm looking at is how our tactics have changed.
    Aside from tactics, the number of fires has overall decreased. Because of how our department operates I overlooked the fact that many departments run EMS as well which accounts for the majority of their calls and that again adds to what you need to get in the box.
    Thanks for your input, I was just wondering what other peoples views were.

    FIREMECH, I plan on taking you up on the offer in a couple months.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim1118 View Post
    Expanding on what Firemech1 said... I think lower staffing, and knowledge of available funding (and future projections) are also a contributor. Knowing that you only have the manpower to get one rig out the door before requesting mutual aid will make you want to have more equipment on that one rig. So, instead of leaving the generator/light tower/etc on the rescue, it goes with the engine.

    As for the rest (going back to your standard engine), I think that safety, reliability, comfort, and ability have all played a major part. Safety devices such as air bags (SRS kind, not lifting bags), ABS and stability control, better suspension configurations, and the like are going to need a little space... and then there's the emissions equipment that is really affecting cab sizes. Motors themselves are bigger because we tend to use more horsepower today to climb hills and drive our pumps, then add the heavier drive line that the additional power requires. More space inside the cabs to add comfort on all three axis, bigger compartments to hold the larger fans/rescue tools/specialized equipment. It seems like steadily each year, we go a little further with the rig-spec than we did last time, adding something in a few areas. Over time, all the little things we've added, have turned into a much larger truck.

    I suppose the summary to this novel is, all of the equipment additions, all of the hose/water/foam/fuel/crew capacity increases, coupled with the power/emissions/strength/NFPA/DOT requirements, have made our trucks what they are today.

    NO it's just because bigger is better...didn't you know that....

    I've just retired after 32 years..90-95% of the fires I went to were put out with less than 100 gallons out water.

    Why so many are building trucks for that 1 in lifetime fire, god only knows.

  8. #8
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    Most items have already been covered, but for a comprehensive list:

    1) Safety improvements

    2) Reduced fleet size and staffing

    3) Keeping up with the Jones's

    4) New technology: Gas detectors, AED's, Thermal imagers, combi tools, ect.

    5) Emissions requirements

    6) The perceived need to carry "Stuff" you might use once every 10 years.

    7) NFPA.

    8) FMVSS.

    The standard FD pump should be: nimble, agile, and user friendly.

    A FD pumper should not be a lumbering albatross

    C6

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Command6 View Post
    Most items have already been covered, but for a comprehensive list:

    1) Safety improvements

    2) Reduced fleet size and staffing

    3) Keeping up with the Jones's

    4) New technology: Gas detectors, AED's, Thermal imagers, combi tools, ect.

    5) Emissions requirements

    6) The perceived need to carry "Stuff" you might use once every 10 years.

    7) NFPA.

    8) FMVSS.

    The standard FD pump should be: nimble, agile, and user friendly.

    A FD pumper should not be a lumbering albatross

    C6
    C6 is right on the money. I sold apparatus for quite a few years starting in the early 90's. Then, departments were looking for apparatus that was agile and could move around in tighter places. When I left sales a few years ago, I had sold a "rescue/pumper/tanker" to many volunteer departments. These machines as you can imagine were huge..... Departments didn't know if they would have funding for another piece of apparatus so they put all of their eggs in one basket.

  10. #10
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    The equipment list of an engine or truck has definitely increased. Engines used to get away with very little compartment space, all they needed was space for a few hand tools and some extra nozzles and assorted hose fittings and appliances. They also were able to mount things on the exterior, something we barely do any more. Trucks were the same, hand tools, ladders, tarps, and buckets was good enough. Moving from open cabs and "canopy cabs" to fully enclosed caused the cab to greatly increase.

    Personally I think apparatus are getting larger than necessary and many of us are carrying excessive equipment.

  11. #11
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    I wish there were some sort of requirement that if you purchase a piece of fire apparatus with taxpayer dollars you had to have x number of hours and/or x number of miles on the vehicle before you were allowed to replace it. Of course I don't actually wish that... but I believe some departments would spec their vehicles much more carefully if they knew that it would be in service for 30+ years and they had to use it.

  12. #12
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    To add to what C6 said, we are the ones everyone turns to when the cops and public works wont do the job. In my area we were tasked with having to search for missing persons using a radio frequency device. Not that it is that busy but it was something the cops did not want to deal with. It seem that when nobody knows who to pass a job off to the fire dept. is usually the ones to handle it, haz-mat, tech rescue, missing persons, extracation, ems,......

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by viperfire1 View Post
    I wish there were some sort of requirement that if you purchase a piece of fire apparatus with taxpayer dollars you had to have x number of hours and/or x number of miles on the vehicle before you were allowed to replace it. Of course I don't actually wish that... but I believe some departments would spec their vehicles much more carefully if they knew that it would be in service for 30+ years and they had to use it.
    Nope, already DOING that. I build them for 20 but SPEC them for thirty. And 25 is their REALISTIC run HERE. T.C.

  14. #14
    Forum Member Tim1118's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viperfire1 View Post
    I wish there were some sort of requirement that if you purchase a piece of fire apparatus with taxpayer dollars you had to have x number of hours and/or x number of miles on the vehicle before you were allowed to replace it. Of course I don't actually wish that... but I believe some departments would spec their vehicles much more carefully if they knew that it would be in service for 30+ years and they had to use it.
    I think that a high majority are currently spec'ing them to last 20-30 years, hence the larger size and heavier equipment... but ending up with a 10-year truck. It's sad that the economy dictates how we're able to (safely/effectively/efficiently) do our jobs... but, we all know that's part of the deal.
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    10-year pumper: $375,000.00

    20-year pumper: 475,000.00

    The 10-year pumper we purchased in 1994 is still in front line service with over 100,000 miles. A lot of the bean counters can remember to the penny how much that truck cost, but they seem to have amnesia about the 10-year part of the conversation.

    C6

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    D --- All Of The Above

  17. #17
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Command6 View Post
    10-year pumper: $375,000.00

    20-year pumper: 475,000.00

    The 10-year pumper we purchased in 1994 is still in front line service with over 100,000 miles. A lot of the bean counters can remember to the penny how much that truck cost, but they seem to have amnesia about the 10-year part of the conversation.

    C6
    That amnesia thing you speak of is WAY more common than you might think,hehe T.C.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by don120 View Post
    NO it's just because bigger is better...didn't you know that....

    I've just retired after 32 years..90-95% of the fires I went to were put out with less than 100 gallons out water.

    Why so many are building trucks for that 1 in lifetime fire, god only knows.
    Because that once in a lifetime fire that you're not prepared for could be that once in a lifetime law suit you don't want.

    Being in the military we understand the value of being prepared for the unlikely. Having the mentality of better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Of course, I had this mentality before being a Marine or even being a firefighter. I grew up with this mentality tromping around up in the mountains of North Georgia. You don't want to get stuck out overnight unprepared, smae concept.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefightinirish217 View Post
    Because that once in a lifetime fire that you're not prepared for could be that once in a lifetime law suit you don't want.
    You are going to get sued because your first out engine didn't have some axillary piece of equipment? Interesting.

    I'm all for being prepared, but I'd rather have a piece that functions well 99% of the time and might come up short 1% of the time. Than have a truck built for the 1%, but isn't built well for all the other stuff I do.

  20. #20
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    You are going to get sued because your first out engine didn't have some axillary piece of equipment? Interesting.

    I'm all for being prepared, but I'd rather have a piece that functions well 99% of the time and might come up short 1% of the time. Than have a truck built for the 1%, but isn't built well for all the other stuff I do.
    Have to agree with nameless on this one. Outside of pure injustice, you carry no liability to your capabilities.

    At one point in time, pumpers never carried any kind of EMS/BLS equipment. For the most part, most do now. Same with extrication equipment that were put on the trucks/aerials only. Now they do.

    There is also a trickle down effect, if you will. While the trucks/aerials are getting loaded down with more equipment and tools, they also need to shed some of their work load and tools down to the pumpers.
    Going back to extrication, we used to send to a MVA with entrapment, a Med Unit, Engine, Truck, and a Rescue. Today, we send the aforementioned, minus the Truck. It saves on manpower, and frees up the truck for a worker, where it is needed most.

    @ firefightinirish217... unless you are ForceRecon, you learn to do more with less. Just saying.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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