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Thread: Ladder with pump or without?

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    Default Ladder with pump or without?

    We are looking into replacing our 100' Stick. A lot of the guys want a pump on the ladder, but I'm not sure if I want to go that route. What are the pros and cons.

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    Not enough information about your fire department or area to give a sound answer.

    There are plusses in some circumstances for having a pump and there are minuses in others.
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    It is hard to say if your department should get a pump or not, every fire department operates different. Do you have manpower problems during daytime hours with getting both a pumper and ladder to a fire scene. Some things to look at will be the cost, size of the water tank & pump, extra weight, less compartment space, etc?

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    A Quint might be a good way to go?

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    For our situation we chose to stick to a straight truck, no pump. In the future if money were not an object (yeah right), I think we'd put a pump on the truck but only to boost the pressure to the master stream (not a large percentage of use, but I did say if money were not an object). We'd not use the truck to supply handlines or want a tank, as we're more tuck company purists, but supplying the aerail when hydrants a poorly spaced or non-existent requires an additional pumper, pump operator and attack rated LDH.

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    As the others have said, there are a lot of variables that come into play. With a pump, you're obviously going to lose compartment space, but you might want the pump to help supply the master stream(s) on the piece without committing an engine to that function.

    Are you thinking about a water tank also? There goes more compartment space.

    With a pump, you have more of a stand-alone piece.

    And there won't be much, if any, weight savings if you delete the pump. Most manufacturers build the rig to accept the weight of a pump, and if one isn't purchased, then they'll add weight to the area of the vehicle were the pump would be so the axle ratings and ride of the vehicle are correct.
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    I agree with the "it depends" answers. It has to be based on your department's budget, staffing and operational needs.
    Having said that, I would lean towards no pump. If you have a large enough fire problem to be using a large calibre stream you will definitely have engines there too, correct? And I don't see a real need to have a pump only as a booster for pressure already being supplied by engine(s). If this is the case you may have a whole different problem with your equipment or SOP's.

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    Obviously your mileage may vary according to your own department and area.

    That said, I'm in favor of having a pump on a ladder. It just adds that much more flexibility. I'm not a "truck only" purist, so bear that in mind. I also feel that there is nothing wrong with stretching handlines off the truck- after all, it's got the most advantageous spotting. ( and who says it's the truck crew who has to do the stretching?)

    My department got a quint 13 years ago, and it has worked out very well for us. The fact that it can- and usually is- supplying handlines in NO way keeps it from acting as a good truck company. There are two key elements to making this concept work:

    1) DESIGN. Don't simply buy someone's off the shelf quint design, or just copy what the other depts have. Design it to fit YOUR needs, and to work the way YOU work. If you want to run the pump and the stick at the same time, make sure it's specced to work well that way. If you're going to lay hose with it, spec a hosebed that can do that job effectively, and that can be repacked with a minimum of fuss- WITHOUT having to raise the stick. This will not be an easy or quick truck to spec out, but it's worth doing right.

    2) operations and training. A truck w/a pump or a quint can be a great asset on a fireground- but only if you use it to your advantage. If you're just planning to use it as a standard truck, it'll end up being an expensive truck with less compartment space. You have that asset, why not plan to use it to your advantage? A truck with a pump works particularly well when there's just enough room to spot the truck at the fire building, and nothing else. The engine drops a supply line- and it's crew- off at the truck, and lays out to a plug ( or tanker dump site). The crew then hooks the line up to the truck, and stretches off that. In our case, we most often lay in. The pump chauffer simply runs the pump on the quint, after connecting it to the line he just laid in. It just requires a little flexiblity and out of the box thinking.

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    Thanks for all the input! Our coverage area is mostly rural with two villages and couple hotels. We have an Industrail park. We run the state turnpike.
    My main issue with this is the main reason they say we need a ladder with a pump is "if the ladder is the first on scene we can't do any thing until the engine gets there"! My response is usually a head shake and "Wow"!!
    We have a good mutual aid response.
    That why I posted this is to see what other departments are doing and have done!
    There's a lot of good information and points that I am getting so thanks!

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    If you are a rural VFD and will run the ladder out first get a pump and water tank. It will just be a matter of time before you get caught with your pants down and need the water.
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    You know if some day you got a big fire and need more pressure a pump can be a plus,does not need to be a big pump. A 750 GPM 160 PSI pump and some hose could be a saver in a bad fire.

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    Our last non-pump aerial was a 75' Snorkle built in 1962. In 1990, it was refurbed and had a pump added to it. Can't think of any truck in my area that doesn't have a pump. Hoping an engine shows up to give me water is not an answer in my mind.
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    The other advantage to having a pump on a ladder is it will boost the GPM's on a fire scene should you get a large fire or you do a aid run to a neighboring district. Also if you grow in population in the 20 year average age of apparatus. I think every apparatus other then ambulance's and rescues, should have at least a 1250 GPM pump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    The other advantage to having a pump on a ladder is it will boost the GPM's ...
    How?

    Again, as has been noted it really depends on your situation, how you run and what you have to work with (peolple and equipment). But along with all the nice things a pump brings there are increased training needs, increased maintenance, more things that can take the apparatus from service. You should buy the apparatus that fits the needs of the department, not necessarily try to conquer every future eventuality that might arise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    How?

    Again, as has been noted it really depends on your situation, how you run and what you have to work with (peolple and equipment). But along with all the nice things a pump brings there are increased training needs, increased maintenance, more things that can take the apparatus from service. You should buy the apparatus that fits the needs of the department, not necessarily try to conquer every future eventuality that might arise.
    You donnot get my point,look how many department have one apparatus go down,having the ability to cover that rig during the down time should be included in future apparatus planning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    You donnot get my point,look how many department have one apparatus go down,having the ability to cover that rig during the down time should be included in future apparatus planning.
    Exactly why our tender was purchased with a 1000 gpm front mount pump and equipped with crosslays and enough equipment to be rated as a Class A pumper. It has filled in for our engine on several occassions when it was down for repairs or scheduled maintenance.

    When you don't have multiple redundancy in apparatus you have to make what you have to make what you have capable of multiple tasks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelXYZ View Post
    A Quint might be a good way to go?
    If you like being caught short as both an engine and a truck, I would agree with you.

    With the exception of being able to boost an aerial stream, the Quint will typically have to operate as either a truck OR a pumper. Rarely will you be able to position to effectively do both and they are almost never staffed to be able to do both.

    In addition, every pumper feature added to the apparatus takes away from truck function and every truck feature takes away from pumper functions. Instead of getting 2 for 1, you end up with about 3/4's of each.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 09-24-2013 at 10:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    If you like being caught short as both an engine and a truck, I would agree with you.

    With the exception of being able to boost an aerial stream, the Quint will typically have to operate as either a truck OR a pumper. Rarely will you be able to position to effectively do both and they are almost never staffed to be able to do both.

    In addition, every pumper feature added to the apparatus takes away from truck function and every truck feature takes away from pumper functions. Instead of getting 2 for 1, you end up with about 3/4's of each.
    The problem is you, like me when I was a career firefighter, look at the quint differently than a smaller volly or combo FD looks at it. We look at it as being a morphodite that costs jobs and fireground efficiency because our FDs never staffed it adequately. Some of these smaller FDs actually put 5 to 8 guys on a quint, or most often it may run as an engine, but what it does for them is give them an aerial device when they need one.

    We need to look past our reality of engine/truck to what is reality in many areas of the country. My 2 POC FDs don't have a truck company at all. One runs 2 engines, a tender and a brush rig. The 2 engines carry truck equipment and who ever is assigned to do truck work does it. The other one runs 2 engines, 2 tenders, 2 brush trucks and a heavy rescue. Again who ever is assigned truck work does it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The problem is you, like me when I was a career firefighter, look at the quint differently than a smaller volly or combo FD looks at it. We look at it as being a morphodite that costs jobs and fireground efficiency because our FDs never staffed it adequately. Some of these smaller FDs actually put 5 to 8 guys on a quint, or most often it may run as an engine, but what it does for them is give them an aerial device when they need one.

    We need to look past our reality of engine/truck to what is reality in many areas of the country. My 2 POC FDs don't have a truck company at all. One runs 2 engines, a tender and a brush rig. The 2 engines carry truck equipment and who ever is assigned to do truck work does it. The other one runs 2 engines, 2 tenders, 2 brush trucks and a heavy rescue. Again who ever is assigned truck work does it.
    Exactly.

    For example:

    At one fire, the crew of the quint (first on scene) was tasked with stretching the first line into the fire. Command had our driver position the truck for aerial use, then sent the crew in with a line. The homeowners were standing in the front yard with the chief, so we knew there was nobody inside. Seconds before our arrival, they watched the front room flash over. There were six of us on that truck, so two got detailed to horizontal ventilation.

    The engine that followed us in, grabbed a plug, laid in, then sent it's crew to the roof.

    This isn't a right or wrong thing, just a different way of accomplishing the same goals. We aren't combining two companies, we're adding capability to an existing one. Things can get pretty congested at ground zero of a worker. Why NOT be able to stretch lines off the truck parked right in front?

    Alternately, especially for rural departments with long driveways, or depts with tight garden apartment complexes, it makes good sense to have "truck" gear on the "engine" company. Once you've laid an LDH supply line down that drive, you'd better have what you need right there, or you'll be hand packing it in. It isn't much fun lugging 35' ladders down 2000+' of driveway, and you have to wonder what condition those members will be in when they get it there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    You donnot get my point,look how many department have one apparatus go down,having the ability to cover that rig during the down time should be included in future apparatus planning.
    I don't see moving a primary truck (aerial) into the pumper role as an efficient use of resources. If this is one of many aerials, then maybe this could work, but as a departments primary piece I think it is more problematic then it's worth. This is why ISO won't give a quint full credit for both. I personally like simplicity an assignments and training for truckman and engine guys is different, blurring those roles once in a while can lead to confusion and people not being in the right places, not something I choose to hamper a fireground with. Our FD has a second due engine that is used to cover a first due piece being out, and a mutual aid aerial is assigned to all boxes when our tower is out of service. But again, your own department situation may be ripe for a quint, but for my money I think they weaken the ability of a department overall by furthering the "jack of all trades, master of none" concept, with regard to actual equipment capability, firefighter training and fireground assignments.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 09-25-2013 at 11:49 AM. Reason: keyboard caused misspelled words

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I don't see moving a primary truck (aerial) into the pumper role as an efficient use of resources. If this is one of many aerials, then maybe this could work, but as a departments primary piece I think it is more problematic then it's worth. This is why ISO won't give a quint full credit for both. I personally like simplicity an assignments and training for truckman and engine guys is different, blurring those roles once in a while can lead to confusion and people not being in the right places, not something I choose to hamper a fireground with. Our FD has a second due engine that is used to cover a first due piece being out, and a mutual aid aerial is assigned to all boxes when our tower is out of service. But again, your own department situation may be ripe for a quint, but for my money I think they weaken the ability of a department overall by furthering the "jack of all trades, master of none" concept, with regard to actual equipment capability, firefighter training and fireground assignments.
    The problem is you are seeing this ONLY from how your FD operates their apparatus. Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, there are many variations to how equipment is staffed. My former career FD cross trains EVERYONE, including the paramedics, to be both engine and truck firefighters. You may be detailed to work either an engine or a truck on any given day due to staffing shortages. Add to that many volunteer FDs train their people to do whatever job needs filling. They may be a engine guy, a truckie, driving the tender, working the heavy rescue, or running the brush truck. They have to be versatile because of the uncertainty of who will arrive for the call.

    Is there a benefit to more specialized training for truckies to do truck work, and engine company guys to do extinguishment? Of course, but when you don't have the option of guaranteeing the same people on the same rig all the time cross training is the only viable solution. I spent the first roughly 1/3 of my career mostly serving on an engine, and the last 2/3 on a quint. Initially the quint ran as an engine with an aerial device and truck equipment, the last couple of years it was reclassified as a truck and ran as such in most cases. You may call this somewhat egotistical but I figured we were the jacks of all trades. This call we are doing truck work, the next we may have the first line in.
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    Oh I see it many different ways, but what readily apparent is that many people don't like to see the reality. My department trains everyone as well, in fact our crews rotate through apparatus assignments monthly. SO I'm not so blind as to only see it my way, as the way we operate clearly doesn't allow personnel to be the best at any one discipline. We also run fire and EMS which again waters down skills. We have great personnel who do strong work, but you'd have to be blind not to see that one discipline robs time from the other. But alas, this is the hand we're dealt with with low shift staffing.

    To me the bigger issue is the fireground assignments. If your on a single role piece you should know your assignment at the beginning of your tour or when you climb on board. If you roll up and suddenly need to put the aerial in use, the crew that was responsible for the primary line is likely delayed. If your roll in assigned to search and the officer finds he needs an exposure line immediately, the search is delayed. I believe the company should be allowed to focus on their assignment from the time the page drops, changing the primary duties in the middle of a chaotic scene is not a best practice in my mind. Add to this a piece that rarely is designed as a great engine to work from and is typically a shorter aerial and you're two steps behind just so city hall can save a few bucks while you try and do more with less.

    I don't find your idea that your crews were Jacks of all Trades, egotistical, but wonder if you could call them Masters of any of them? Did training not require you to split your time between engine and truck ops? Can we not agree that spending 100% of the time on one function will have better results for that function than 50/50 for two?
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 09-25-2013 at 06:04 PM. Reason: keyboard caused misspelled words
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    The famous words are " Leave Room For The Truck " with a quint you won't here these words !

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Oh I see it many different ways, but what readily apparent is that many people don't like to see the reality. My department trains everyone as well, in fact our crews rotate through apparatus assignments monthly. SO I'm not so blind as to only see it my way, as the way we operate clearly doesn't allow personnel to be the best at any one discipline. We also run fire and EMS which again waters down skills. We have great personnel who do strong work, but you'd have to be blind not to see that one discipline robs time from the other. But alas, this is the hand we're dealt with with low shift staffing.

    To me the bigger issue is the fireground assignments. If your on a single role piece you should know your assignment at the beginning of your tour or when you climb on board. If you roll up and suddenly need to put the aerial in use, the crew that was responsible for the primary line is likely delayed. If your roll in assigned to search and the officer finds he needs an exposure line immediately, the search is delayed. I believe the company should be allowed to focus on their assignment from the time the page drops, changing the primary duties in the middle of a chaotic scene is not a best practice in my mind. Add to this a piece that rarely is designed as a great engine to work from and is typically a shorter aerial and you're two steps behind just so city hall can save a few bucks while you try and do more with less.

    I don't find your idea that your crews were Jacks of all Trades, egotistical, but wonder if you could call them Masters of any of them? Did training not require you to split your time between engine and truck ops? Can we not agree that spending 100% of the time on one function will have better results for that function than 50/50 for two?
    You proved my point, you ARE seeing this through the eyes of FDs that are big enough to have seperate companies with little or no crossing over. Departments with limited staffing are all to well used to not knowing if from day to day whether they are a truckie or a hose jockey. Whether it may or may not make a difference in proficiency and skill level it is however reality and what we MUST live with and adapt to. My career FD ran a straight stick ladder truck in addition to the quint and again, while they had normally assigned staff there was no guarantee on low staffing days that a med or an engine wouldn't be riding the truck.

    There may be volunteer FDs out there that have people specifically assigned to specific rigs and they don't cross over. I have never seen one out here and I have been in a good chunk of volunteer/POC FDs in 37 years. Again cross over in the volly world is the nature of the beast.

    I don't know if I agree on 50/50 verus 100% training on only one discipline. I think it is shortsighted in many FDs not to have people capable of doing both job with speed and efficiency. Why? Because we are stuck with the hand city admin's hand us and in order to keep us safe we need people that can do whatever it takes to get the job done. And frankly, I don't expect the evil hand of budget and staff cuts to end anytime soon.
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