1. #1
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    Default Mini Pumper vs Mini Rescue?

    My department is currently looking at replacing our utility truck with either a mini pumper or a mini rescue. Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject? I am also looking for anyone that might have some specs on a truck they have that they might be willing to share. Perhaps any sire where I might be able to find some pics of some different trucks I could look at so I can bring some info to the next truck committee meeting. Thanks in advance

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    Do you want to pump? Thats pretty much the main difference. We have a "mini pumper" with an American LaFrance body (FasTak) and rear mount pump. Carries extrication, some wildland, medical, ect.

    It works great for what we need. I personally, like the concept of mini-apparatus. But this may be from the fact that large apparatus is over-used in my area, and has plenty of room for extra stuff, so I say why not have a mini and run EMS with it....
    Last edited by FFSKPII; 02-15-2011 at 10:39 PM.

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    What are you looking to do with it? We have three. Only one of them does a great job, in my opinion. One is okay, the other was a fantastic failure.

    Ours are all mini rescues. Maybe the new IH chassis that isn't much heavier than an pickup would allow more capability, but our two F-550 units were built assuming that the chassis could handle what we were going to put in the body. They struggled...

    The other unit is on an F-350 and is truly a light unit, and does the job it was intended for admirably. Which is essentially a manpower, EMS rig with a cascade unit added after the fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    What are you looking to do with it? We have three. Only one of them does a great job, in my opinion. One is okay, the other was a fantastic failure.
    Mini pumpers work great on mini-fires, and mini-rescues work good on mini-rescues. My experience with them has not been positive.

    About 80 percent of the time you end up backing the mini-whatever up with a real apparatus, thus undermining the whole concept. Some purchase to reduce operating cost of a larger rig; in fact it increases costs because you are adding vehicles to your fleet and now running two trucks per run vs. one.

    Mini's are typically overloaded and underpowered for the job we ask them to do. The F-550 is not a panacea for small apparatus. We (the fire service) overload these vehicles with excessive equipment and/or water, then complain because they are underpowered.

    Summing up, about the only time I'd recommend a mini-whatever is if you have several access issues where a larger apparatus will not fit.

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    We used a mini-pumper for our rescue duties for over 20 years, but finally reached a point where we had too much equipment for the one-ton chassis, and we were never, ever fighting fire off the thing.

    We replaced it with a straight light rescue in 2007 and haven't looked back. No regrets.
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    We looked at a pierce light rescue yesterday and I think I am sold on the not having water on the truck, I don't think a mere 200 gallons of water is worth eating all that space. Now I need to stand firm on that and drill it into 6 other heads ha ha. Putting a pump on that truck would add outragious money to the overall cost of the truck anyways.

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    I think you're wise. If you are in a personnel situation where you are highly, highly likely to get a 2nd rig on the road for fire purposes, get a pure rescue.

    In the 11 years that I was on this department while we ran a mini-pumper for rescue, we had a grand total of two instances where we actually had a vehicle on fire, and both times we had an engine close behind.

    The space is an issue, but the dadgum weight is important too. At eight pounds a gallon, plus the weight of the tank and pump, you've blown a full ton of your GVW without placing the first rescue item on it.

    Stick to your guns!
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    Are you just looking to have the water & pump on the truck only to insure that you can put out a vehicle that starts on fire at the accident scene? If so, why not look at a self contained CAFS system? It would still take some of your compartment space away, but not nearly as much space or weight as the pump/water would take. A couple of years ago, we extensively looked into a 30 gallon system from Fire Solutions Online (http://firefighting.blogs.com/fire_f...its/index.html) with the possibility of using it on a dry rescue. We ultimately ended up purchasing a rescue pumper so we didn't have a need for this unit. We demo'd this product at a couple of training car fires and were very impressed at the knockdown ability. One of our neighboring companies ended up buying a system for their dry rescue and are happy with it.

    I've sat in many apparatus committee meetings that I thought would never end due to the haggling/arguing that occurs . Maybe a compromise like this could help in your situation. You get to keep a lot more of your compartment space and the others get to have some fire fighting ability. I would think that there are other companies/products out there that would do the same as the product I mentioned above, and you should be able to find someone to give you a demo. Good luck.

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    Wheeled Coach had such a unit at FDIC last year. IH chassis with medic box. Very neat idea I thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    What are you looking to do with it? We have three. Only one of them does a great job, in my opinion. One is okay, the other was a fantastic failure.

    Ours are all mini rescues. Maybe the new IH chassis that isn't much heavier than an pickup would allow more capability, but our two F-550 units were built assuming that the chassis could handle what we were going to put in the body. They struggled...
    The other unit is on an F-350 and is truly a light unit, and does the job it was intended for admirably. Which is essentially a manpower, EMS rig with a cascade unit added after the fact.
    I have never seen a truck of this size that was loaded PROPERLY that couldn't handle the weight. People have a bad habit, more so with rescues, of just trying to get a few more pieces of equipment on the truck. Before you know it the box is sitting on the bump stops. There is no reason why an F-550 shouldn't be able to handle all of the light rescue company equipment with ease.

    If you have any inclenations what so ever of trying to outfit this truck with ISO service company equipment, get a medium duty truck. You will quickly overload a light duty truck with everything you would need.
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    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Yep- what they said. Depends on what you need it to do. Mini pumpers are nice for brush/grass type fires, or for the odd small job- but how many of these do you get? Enough to justify the cost/ reduced storage? For vehicle or structure fires, that 2 or 250 gallon tank really isn't going to cut it... Not to mention the mini hosebed, the mini crew, and the mini equipment compliment.

    As for light rescues and pics, check out most full line manufacturer's websites. Specialty outfits like Rescue 1 and Hackney have boatloads of options for these units, and both of those websites have a TON of pics of different units they've built. IMO, these types of units are a better bargain- IF you don't treat them like a full sized rescue. They're great for EMS, extrication, scene support, air and light, etc. Just don't fall into the 10# in a 5# bag trap.

    The skid/ modular cafs unit idea is good, too. You'll trade off your rear compt, and possibly the transverse wheelhouse cmpt- but you'll save a ton of space AND weight vs a traditional midship pump and tank. You'll still have the utility/ ems capability, and you can address the nuisance fires. Darley has a very large lineup of these units, and they'll build you the truck to boot.

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    If you are looking at one or the other on a class five truck you are going to sacrific. We own a F550 mini pumper ours is too long for off road, the pump hangs down too low (1000gpm). It really is set up at a water supply piece with limited attack and brush ability. One of the best imo that has taken the class five to its limits in a well rounded attack/first responder/rescue is the Blanchat Minuteman. They call it the 95% soultion. I am not advocating one manufactures product. I think is is a realistic aproach to limited manpower and resources. I admire your willingness to help your company and learn about specing a new piece. You are the one that is going to have to operate this over the next 20 or so years.
    Last edited by rescueraver; 02-17-2011 at 07:49 AM. Reason: spelling

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