1. #1
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    Default How to convince a fireboard to buy an engine

    We are a small volunteer department in southern California surrounded by paid departments. Our front line engine is a 1989 ward 79 ford c series. It only has a front bench seat for 3 personel no rear seats at all. We are trying to sell our board the benefits of buying a new engine. We have a squad that seats 2 that carries a large amount of rescue equipment, we also have a small 24' long mini pumper that seats 3 which is great for some of our narrow access areas. Since we cover a very busy freeway which provides us with a majority of our non ems calls. We try to staff our station with 3 to 4 people which means almost every response requires at least 2 apparatus to respond in order to have all on duty personel and equipment respond. We are looking at a new pierce puc rescue pumper with the goal of consolidating the squad, engine, and medical response into one vehicle. We have more than double the money to purchase the engine we want, but the board is still skeptical. Our ideas for the proposal are based around new safety requirement, service to the community, and cost savings. Any ideas or success stories?

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    One thing to do is get a copy of The Fire Apparatus Purchasing Handbook, by William C. Peters (Fire Engineering Publications.) It will walk you through the decision to buy or refurb, convincing political bean counters, gathering funds, developing specifications, issuing RFP's, combing through proposals, making the initial contact with the preferred builder, ordering the rig, inspections, accepting delivery, training, placing in service, and finally after-delivery service and warranty issues.

    Dealing with the politicians and bean counters is not easy. This book gives you a very good idea of at least the direction to head in.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    FWD is right, a few dollars invested in Chief Peters' books is money well spent. Although it's been a few years since the book has been updated, it will give you a good baseline to work around as you begin this process.

    As for some ideas you can use for the board, start with NFPA 1901 Standard for Motorized Fire Apparatus. While this document is mostly the nuts-and-bolts of building a fire apparatus, it does have quite a bit of information in Annex B that helps you with doing the initial design of the apparatus. But most importantly for you is Annex D, which outlines the recommendations for the replacement of apparatus. One thing that is in your favor is that Annex D suggests that any apparatus that is over 20 years old be placed into reserve status.

    Education of the decision makers is another key in your success. It sounds like your members understand the benefit of the new rig, but do the folks who control the purse strings? Get vendors to bring in some demo rigs, show the board the benefits of a new vehicle. Let the vendors help you develop a proposal that will help you educate the board.

    When it comes to cost concerns, show that that the custom cab with multiple seats will give you all better crew integrity while enroute. You're not putting the wear and tear on two vehicles on almost all calls, as now you will be do more with one vehicle. There will be less fuel consumption.

    You specifically mention the Pierce PUC, but understand that there are several other manufacturers out there building rigs that are similar, including the Ferrara MVP, KME PRO, and E-One eMAX. One rig that's currently under construction that is really similar to the PUC is this rescue-pumper being built for Lockport, NY by Rosenbauer.

    Good luck with your project...
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 05-08-2011 at 10:24 PM.
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    Default Thanks to both of you

    Thanks for replying to me post! I'm sure they neighboring depts have that book and I'll start looking, I have read 1901 and found several beneficial items but honestly have not reviewed annex d but I am looking forward to. We already have 3 pierce apparatus, a 2002 model 25 brush, a 2005 type 3 water tender, and a 2009 mini pumper. So we like pierce plus our shop works with 3 pierce pulleys already so continuity would be a plus. I have contacted the other manufactures and they are all nice and within the same price range. The puc we like is the puc wildland, it has 162" wheelbase but still plenty of room for equip. 1500 gpm pump and 650 - 750 gallons of water. The first thing we must do is have to board say yes, then we will pick our rig and all the little details. We will have a new pumper parked next to out current pumper so they can see for themselves. Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckie79 View Post
    ...We have more than double the money to purchase the engine we want, but the board is still skeptical...
    Must be nice to have that much cash.
    "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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    I got departments out here that would kill for an 89... As you have twice what is needed to buy, might you consider passing on the old engine for a donation to a needy department that has to operate on less than 10k a year?

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    Donations are nice.

    My VFD (140K a year budget) is getting a 1995 engine doanted to us by one of my neighboring departments with a $1.5m dollar budget.

    It replaces a 1966 mack, so a 1995 engine represents a pretty significant upgrade, especially since it has a foam system with a 35 gallon foam tank.

    Funny thing was the Chief asked me about a month ago if I knew a department that they had previously donated a rescue truck truck to needed a pumper when i was down there on business for my full-time gig. I told him that they were in the process of replacing thier engine with a custom, and then I told him I did know of another VFD closer (mine) to home that had a '66 as a first out engine that needed replacement. He had no problems donating it to us.

    As far as the OP, multiple vehicles can be nice as long as they can accomadate the multiple roles.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    The reason we have the money we do is that our previous chief penny pinched and over the past 5 years or so we have had to spend alot out of reserves to upgrade to modern equipment, since we are surounded by paid departments we are expected to provide the same level of service by the community. We also are self insured like other depts in ca where we have to pay for lawsuits workers comp etc. The 89 wouldn't be bad if it had comp space and seating for 4!

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    You can find free tools to make the financial case to your board at FireTruckHelp.com

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    Truckie79 sounds like you work for Rainbow VFD... could be wrong though. If that is the case i would say forget the Pierce WUI PUC if what you are talking about is the one on display at Firehouse World San Diego 2011. Instead i would tag onto Riverside county/CalFire's Smeal contract. Personally i think you will get more bang for your buck and a better match considering your area. The PUC is nice but they seem to have there limits and quirks.

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    No I don't work for them, hear good things though. I am talking about the puc at the show, considering we have to put a full engine complement of equipment, we also have hydraulic tools; cutter, spreader, ram, paratech struts, cribbing, step chocks, air bags, air chisel, recip saw, full rope rescue equipment, water rescue gear, and a good amount of wildland hose packs, rolls, and tools!!! The riverside smeal just is not big enough. I am planning on using PAC tool racks to maximize the space but still can't find room for it all in a smeal. Wish I could there are great!!!

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