I'm with a volunteer dept in Tennessee. My self and 4 other firefighters on my department have been tasked with designing a brush truck. This is the first time any of us have done this. I'm looking for advice on chassis and anything for a brush unit. useful equipment, things you might of done on a truck, things that worked and didn't work. My chief has asked that this truck be a multi purpose truck mainly for car fires and brush fires and that the pump be diesel and plumbed to run off the trucks fuel tank. I've been reading a few articles and have looked over NFPA 1906 these have been helpful so far. Any other information or suggestions would be useful.
Give these guy's a look, they really seem to be doing a good job. http://www.blanchatmfg.com/
I think you (or perhaps the chief) have identified one of the first things: what do you want the vehicle to do? This will drive the rest of it (no pun intended).
The next question is, what's your budget? Are you going to be purchasing a turn-key vehicle, or have to do some budget shopping? Aluminum flat bed with compartmentation, or a skid unit in a pickup bed? Brush trucks can run the gammut of pricing and design.
Of course a diesel pump is going to run quite a bit more money than a gas engine, in addition to the increased weight. Lombardini is one brand of diesel engine that I've seen used on brush trucks in this area.
There are a lot of regional manufacturers that build high-quality brush trucks. If you're in Eastern Tennessee, I can give you some ideas of manufacturers you may want to talk to.
Send us your thoughts and we can provide input on those ideas.
Tons of companies build brush trucks, we did quite a bit of research prior to our purchase. Out of the four companies we looked ate we ended up buying a Skeeter Brush Truck built out of Houston. We have had it for about a year and are very happy with our choice.
Our brush trucks are quite simple.
We use a Ford F450 chassis with a 300g skid, and are able to keep the price under 40K per truck.
The biggest thing will be how far do you plan to take it off raod. Will it be a logging trail truck or a pasture truck, as examples?
william: I would take a quick look at the sort of brush / wildland fires that have occurred in your fire company's recent past. Then speak with the members that were on those calls, asking about terrain & problems they encountered. Try to design the equipment to meet your historical type of problem(s). We are running an old Mack CF as first due (wildland - structure interface) with 750 tank. In tandem with this (a different station) is a Ford F-550 with compartments for equipment and a 250 gal skid mount with class A foam tank and proportioner. While not a disappointment, this rig poses some interesting problems with regard to off road operations. The tandem rears will not bite into clay or swampy areas and are prone to getting stuck or being blocked by narrow skidder trails. The F-250 that brings a trailered 4 x 4 with a 40 gal plastic tank has been a much more maneuverable and reliable vehicle for handling access of crews into steep and wet terrain. Each of these 4 vehicles represent different levels of access and effectiveness. Our department covers 100 sq mi primary response area and another 500 sq. mi. of mutual aid response. 40% and above slopes are man-killers when equipment and water must be hauled up-slope by a crew. It is much easier, but more dangerous to work down slope or cut off a head at the top of a slope, and then work the flanks from the bottom or "In the Black". We are very fortunate in that our state DC&R usually ends up with the long term overhaul while we get put back on line quickly because of structural fire duty. As others have said, Don't try to re-invent the wheel, but contact others who are using off road equipment. Compare the manufacturers recommendations and check with your state procurement people to see if your company can "Piggy-back" on the state price. A standard chassis & equipment at a reasonable price might allow for the difference to be used to better equip the rig with what is needed in your coverage area.
Now this is a brush truck :)
Do some internet searching for used trucks. Also look into what your state may have available for surplus units. Some times you can buy a truck already built that has most of the equipment on it and then upgrade it over a few years. You tube has some really nice videos of brush truck. I would avoid a pump tied to the apparatus fuel tank,two issues,long runs can depleted the apparatus of needed fuel in case you have to get out of bad situation,also a portable pump is a better option in case of failure or upgrade.
Well you've looked at some of the standards, so that's good. But you need to specify what parameters you're operating under. What's your budget first of all? What kind of terrain will it operate in? WHY does the pump HAVE to be diesel? How big of a truck are you looking at? How big of a tank? How much equipment space, and what equipment are you going to carry? Are you going to want just reels, or do you want preconnected hose beds? SCBA?
Originally Posted by william1719
You've left your question VERY vague. You need to start defining every use for the truck, and all the specs that will be necessary to meet those uses.
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Just remember the more multi-purpose you make the truck, the bigger and heavier it becomes, which means it becomes less off-road friendly.
I consider a truly functional brush truck to have less than 200g of water, a small pump capable of flowing enough for 2 1" lines and space for some brush tools and maybe a chain saw on single rear wheels. Sure, you could carry more water and a bigger pump, but now you are talking more weight, dual rear wheels and a vehicle far less capable of operating off-pavement, unless you consider hard dirt or stone roads off-road.
I tell you this from expereince as I have been down the "multi-role" path several times with a few departments, and for the most part, they don't work out very well.
A simple truck is 300 gallons of water a 5 gallon foam cell and some sort of eductor. A pair of 1" discharges (one should be a speed lay) and trash reel with around 150' of 1" line. Pump needs to put out 50 GPM at 80 PSI more pressure is good.. Truck should have 400' of 1" soft attack and 4 1" combination nozzles and one 1" x 1"x 1" gated wye. As far as hand tools,2 pulaski's, 2 heavy duty rakes, 2 size 0 shovels. One power saw plus PPE. This a 1 ton truck with a flatbed,cheaper then full custom body and easy to source.