1. #1
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    Question Forum-driven Design: An Era?

    It seems that there was a time a few years back when this forum was ripe with new apparatus that was specified through inspiration from these boards. RFDACM02, MG3610, myself and others spent a lot of time on here and finally came back with a built apparatus that was, in part, the product of the refinement of ideas by many minds on FH.com.

    As I browse the Apparatus Innovation section here, I am not picking up on a continuation of this trend. Was that an era that is now past, and if so, what's the reason for that? Is it the lack of people seeking out the ideas, the lack of ideas being shared, some combination of both, or something else entirely? I've noticed that some old-time posters here have started Facebook pages and blogs to discuss engine and ladder company operations and the like, which is good stuff. Have we all shifted our attention to other places?

    Just musing...

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    I think that many of us have spec'd, built, and received our rigs.....so maybe the fancy has worn off????? And yes FB has done a lot to increase communications among us......good observation. We dont need to slack off posting here just because we got our toys and finished bragging about them...lol.....
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    I think both of you all have touched on things that have contributed to the decline in seeing new/innovative/unusual rigs on here. We had bid opening on our new rescue pumper a couple of weeks ago, and the specs contained several things that I gleaned from here either directly or indirectly. Once the county Board of Supervisors and purchasing gives us the "go ahead" on the purchase, I'll have some goodies to share with everyone...
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    There is plenty of innovation out there. I think many people shy away from this forum now as it is dominated by a few that are quick to pass judgement and get off topic.

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    I have read a ton of apparatus threads and seen a lot of great ideas that I would love to incorporate into a new piece of apparatus. Truth is though, it will never happen. We are currently specing out a new engine, it will be our first new piece of apparatus in 25 years, and we don't have the money to buy anything but a very basic stripped down model. I think that is the case in a lot of places, there isn't the money for fancy options so no one is talking about them. Just my .02 cents.

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    New engine showed up end of 2010. Ya, got ideas and thoughts from here. Not starting on another new engine until next year...and I will be back browsing through here.

    Didn't post too many pics of the new engine and "ideas" cuz since the forums were redesigned...they won't accept pictures uploaded from my Mac. Just get errors....so I gave up trying.

    I do really miss the old forums.
    "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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    FWD
    You're right - we shouldn't slack off! I know we're a ways away from a new piece, but I'm always gathering ideas. You guys were some of the earliest to among the group to post your well-designed apparatus on here.

    BoxAlarm
    Looking forward to hearing more about it and seeing stuff as it progresses!

    MRFD
    One of the great things about many of the ideas shared on here is that they don't necessarily have to cost extra - they're just a better way of doing things (or the cost is minimal).

    Bones
    Any way you can get pictures up to a Flickr album or something? It would be great to see pictures.


    I don't know why, but the thread with all of the nice in-service photo details of MG3610's engine won't show up any more. MG, do you have them in another online album somewhere?

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    I think part of the reason is everyone is getting their budgets cut and truck purchases are being pushed back a few more years "until the economy turns around." I believe many departments have had to go a plain jane pumpers, ladders, etc. I have heard several stories of departments, after opening the bids that they want to go with manufacture "X", but city council or township says but Manufacture "B" does have a tank, pump, 4-door cab. It's not everything you want but it will get you to and from the station and pumps water. Why won't Mfg "B" truck work? The days of special and unique features or layouts might be in hibernation for a while.

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    Also think we are at a "technology wall". Nothing new from apparatus manufacturers that has been Earth shattering lately. The pump configuration was new a few years back (PUC, Transformer...) but was nothing major.

    The proliferation of CAFS is about a decade now. Roll up doors are a common option. LED lights are now mainstream. Automatic tire chains are decades old. Electronic pump controls are common place. What else is new to the market that people aren’t putting on most apparatus?

    I think most departments have found what they are looking for in purchases made in the past decade, and since nothing really has changed there has not been the trend to gain new ideas off each other.
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    I have to agree that this forum was far more interesting when more ideas were being shared. Of course some of it is likely that those seeking answers can either find them by using the search feature of past posts or are scolded by some for not using the search feature. I can say with certainty that I'm very glad to have utilized this forum and those posters both online, on the phone and in person to help change our process and the specs of our last apparatus.

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    While it definately is interesting to see how people in different parts of the country solve the same problem, fire truck by committee is usually not the least expensive route. Budgets probably have put the Ki-boush on much current innovation.

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    I think it's funny that everybody is talking about technology and gadgets and how budgets have limited the spec items. For sure we talked about some expensive stuff, but by far the most interesting things that came across here was the stuff that was just a better way to do things - usually either free or minimal to low cost. Setup your hose well like this, or wire this to that, or mount your equipment like this - that's the good stuff. Sometimes it was even a less expensive way of doing things!

    RFDACM, do you guys have any new apparatus plans on the horizon?

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    Maybe it's part of tightened budgets, but I think for the most part the idea of "custom" rigs doesn't deliver enough benefit for the cost. There are some good ideas, and some things that can help out the short staffed. But many people fool themselves into thinking their area is some "unique" place, when it really isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Maybe it's part of tightened budgets, but I think for the most part the idea of "custom" rigs doesn't deliver enough benefit for the cost. There are some good ideas, and some things that can help out the short staffed. But many people fool themselves into thinking their area is some "unique" place, when it really isn't.
    Maybe every rig doesn't need to be custom. But maybe the sales rep doesn't sell what fights fires the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    I think it's funny that everybody is talking about technology and gadgets and how budgets have limited the spec items. For sure we talked about some expensive stuff, but by far the most interesting things that came across here was the stuff that was just a better way to do things - usually either free or minimal to low cost. Setup your hose well like this, or wire this to that, or mount your equipment like this - that's the good stuff. Sometimes it was even a less expensive way of doing things!
    I am certainly guilty of just that, thinking only about fancy new gadgets. We have actually implemented a couple things on our rigs that I saw on here and after we made the changes most everyone was of the same opinion, Why didn't we think of that earlier or Why didn't it come from the factory that way? The changes we made were simple, free, and very effective.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    Maybe every rig doesn't need to be custom. But maybe the sales rep doesn't sell what fights fires the best.
    I will say that the Salesmen and Manufacturers (there are 4) that are working on our spec for our new engine payed very close attention to what we asked/wanted. A no frills, simple truck that is designed to be very functional, not fancy and on a very limited budget. So far not one of them is out of the race because they couldn't do that, I was fairly certain that two of them would be out right away because they are known for fancy, expensive trucks and that isn't the case here.

    I certainly agree though, that the salesmen are having to adapt a little. I don't think very many people are looking for the expensive, loaded with bells and whistles, trucks right now. They want functional and cost effective. That is certainly the trend around here anyhow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF715MRFD View Post
    I am certainly guilty of just that, thinking only about fancy new gadgets. We have actually implemented a couple things on our rigs that I saw on here and after we made the changes most everyone was of the same opinion, Why didn't we think of that earlier or Why didn't it come from the factory that way? The changes we made were simple, free, and very effective.



    I will say that the Salesmen and Manufacturers (there are 4) that are working on our spec for our new engine payed very close attention to what we asked/wanted. A no frills, simple truck that is designed to be very functional, not fancy and on a very limited budget. So far not one of them is out of the race because they couldn't do that, I was fairly certain that two of them would be out right away because they are known for fancy, expensive trucks and that isn't the case here.

    I certainly agree though, that the salesmen are having to adapt a little. I don't think very many people are looking for the expensive, loaded with bells and whistles, trucks right now. They want functional and cost effective. That is certainly the trend around here anyhow.

    Sounds great. Feel free to share anything on here - even if it's just the little stuff, obviously that's the stuff that counts!

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    Sorry if this is hi-jacking the thread but all of this talk about new innovations and ideas got me thinking about a few things..

    I saw something on here not too long ago about an engine or rescue pumper that had the booster tank above the pull-out hose bed. I thought that was a great design and for the life of me, I can't seem to find it on here anywhere. I tried searching for it but I don't remember what the thread was about. If anyone has an idea of what I'm referring to, please let me know...

    Also, until our department budget tightened up, we were looking at getting a rescue/pumper. There was a huge debate on where the pump panel should be. The primary function of the truck would be for MVA's on busy divided highways. Obviously the secondary function would be for structure fire response. Some people insist that the right-rear corner is the best place for the pump panel because it is typically the curb side and will put the pump operator out of harms way. Others think that would be too dangerous because that's where the engine typically gets hit by oncoming traffic. One person said the safest place is in the driver's seat.... well, that got me to thinking. Why don't they put a pump panel in the cab for the driver to access right from the seat? It's not really a new concept because they do it on ARFF trucks, right? It seems to work pretty good for them. Is there anything out there like this?

    Like I said, Sorry if I hi-jacked the thread...

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    Quote Originally Posted by volff1170 View Post
    I saw something on here not too long ago about an engine or rescue pumper that had the booster tank above the pull-out hose bed... If anyone has an idea of what I'm referring to, please let me know...
    Are you speaking of the new St Louis pumpers?


    Photo by BoxAlarm187

    The booster tank isn't above the hosebed, this would create a pretty dangerous center of gravity. The area above the hosebed is actually used for the light tower storage, etc.

    One person said the safest place is in the driver's seat.... well, that got me to thinking. Why don't they put a pump panel in the cab for the driver to access right from the seat? It's not really a new concept because they do it on ARFF trucks, right? It seems to work pretty good for them. Is there anything out there like this?
    The only one I've seen is a Ford F-series water supply pumper from the 7th District VFD in Southern Maryland.
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    Quote Originally Posted by volff1170 View Post
    Also, until our department budget tightened up, we were looking at getting a rescue/pumper. There was a huge debate on where the pump panel should be. The primary function of the truck would be for MVA's on busy divided highways. Obviously the secondary function would be for structure fire response. Some people insist that the right-rear corner is the best place for the pump panel because it is typically the curb side and will put the pump operator out of harms way. Others think that would be too dangerous because that's where the engine typically gets hit by oncoming traffic. One person said the safest place is in the driver's seat.... well, that got me to thinking. Why don't they put a pump panel in the cab for the driver to access right from the seat? It's not really a new concept because they do it on ARFF trucks, right? It seems to work pretty good for them. Is there anything out there like this?

    Like I said, Sorry if I hi-jacked the thread...
    We have a left rear panel with a secondary panel in the cab next to the driver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    RFDACM, do you guys have any new apparatus plans on the horizon?
    Not right off, but our next will be another engine, likely more standard, but possibly looking toward an innovative supply engine. I've personally been looking into front mount pumps, short wheel bases and carrying the minimum engine company tools while loading up on LDH, fittings. I've seen quite a few that looked like they'd fit the bill. But, it looks like we're probably 2 years out without the city council trying to delay the purchase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Not right off, but our next will be another engine, likely more standard, but possibly looking toward an innovative supply engine. I've personally been looking into front mount pumps, short wheel bases and carrying the minimum engine company tools while loading up on LDH, fittings. I've seen quite a few that looked like they'd fit the bill. But, it looks like we're probably 2 years out without the city council trying to delay the purchase.
    Very similar to what we're looking at, although we'll be even further out unless we get a grant. You can't beat the short wheelbase, 4x4 front-mount pumps for water supply! I assume you've been looking at some of Firematic's recent units; anything else you've picked up on? Front-mounts are few and far between these days, and a good water supply unit is even harder to come by. I've been keeping my eyes open.

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    Maybe people should look at fire trucks as work trucks, and not shiny new toys to show off to their friends from other departments. I'm not against buying trucks that fit your needs, but many people go overboard with "their needs". Sorry, but very few fire departments are "unique", there are a 100s of towns/cities/etc just like them.

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    [QUOTE=BoxAlarm187;1317913]Are you speaking of the new St Louis pumpers?


    Photo by BoxAlarm187

    The booster tank isn't above the hosebed, this would create a pretty dangerous center of gravity. The area above the hosebed is actually used for the light tower storage, etc.



    I don't know if that's the right truck or not... It looks about the same but I remember someone saying that the booster tank was above the hose bed. If memory serves me, I think they said that they carried 500 gallons of water. The weight of the water and the weight of the hose were almost the same so it didn't matter which one was above the other. I guess to me, it makes sense to put the water on top and eliminate the need to climb up to get the supply hose or in coffin cabinets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Maybe people should look at fire trucks as work trucks, and not shiny new toys to show off to their friends from other departments. I'm not against buying trucks that fit your needs, but many people go overboard with "their needs". Sorry, but very few fire departments are "unique", there are a 100s of towns/cities/etc just like them.
    Yep... because that's what this is all about: buying shiny new toys to show off to friends. Earth-shattering to think that perhaps we should "look at them as work trucks."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Not right off, but our next will be another engine, likely more standard, but possibly looking toward an innovative supply engine. I've personally been looking into front mount pumps, short wheel bases and carrying the minimum engine company tools while loading up on LDH, fittings. I've seen quite a few that looked like they'd fit the bill. But, it looks like we're probably 2 years out without the city council trying to delay the purchase.
    H&W in Hillsboro, Oregon builds front mounts on a regular basis. They are a great custom builder.

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