Thread: Rural Truck Company Ops
12-05-2000, 10:56 AM #1CDFFirehouse.com Guest
Rural Truck Company Ops
I am looking for information from departments that are using truck companies in rural or suburban settings. I would like to discuss operations, placement, setback issues, type of rig and length of aerial used in rural areas.
12-05-2000, 12:02 PM #2Smoke DamagedFirehouse.com Guest
Truck Company ops has been a long time interest of mine. Truck functions should be carried out on EVERY fireground, with or without the presence of a Truck Company.
There is a mentality for Truck ops that has to be developed and Command MUST allow the people to carry out those functions.
Lacking the response of a dedicated Truck Company, an Engine can be assigned to carry out Truck ops. This rarely occurrs. With the presence of a Ladder Truck in the response, it normally arrives as an Engine Company with an aerial device. Or functions as a VERY expensive Hose Wagon and ours has in the past.
I don't know if Truck crews can be thrown together with the next four or five volunteers to come thru the door, without specific training in advance of Truck Company functions. The TEAM MUST be knowledgeable of their individual function and the responsibilities of all the other members of the company.
Ok, there's four paragraphs of saying a lot of nothing. I'll look back soon and see where the discussion has gone.
Pandora's box is officially open.
12-05-2000, 12:43 PM #3CDFFirehouse.com Guest
Good points, Currently the crew of the first arriving tanker is assigned the truck work, it works ok, however, I wonder if it would work better if they had a traditional truck.
12-05-2000, 02:27 PM #4Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
My company provides the primary aerial support for two boroughs and one township, and secondary aerial support for parts of two other townships. The areas we run range from hydranted, suburban residential, commercial and light industrial settings all the way around to rural agricultural areas with only dispersed, static water supplies.
We run two aerials: a 100' straight ladder truck and a 55' quint (OK, it's a "squirt"...but I just hate that designation). Regardless of what setting we're in, we've got essentially the same set of "truckie" duties (vent, force, search, etc.), and we'll use whatever means necessary to get them done. That may mean that the ladder "takes the front" & the quint takes an attack position when possible, or it might mean that the quint is far down a dirt lane doing everything because there isn't room for the ladder (or anything else). That may also mean parking them both and using ground ladders. In general, the quint gives us speed and maneuverability, while the ladder gives us stability and range.
Particularly in rural settings, you've got to assign apparatus and companies to functions, rather than positions, when you plan. It's easy in the towns to say "...first engine lays in for attack and leaves room for the ladder to take the front..." and to do that every time (and that's how we operate). In a rural setting, you might be able to get only one rig of any kind anywhere near the fire building, so you'd better pick the best rig available for the exact situation you're in on any given scene.
We use only straight sticks in the interest of versatility (We're also looking to replace the 100' ladder with a full 100'-110' quint in the next year or two...even more versatility). Since we can't guarentee the space needed to deploy a platform or an artuculating device (snorkel, etc.), we simply don't have them. This eliminates the possibility of getting to a scene, positioning the truck so that it should be able to reach the structure, and being unable to use it because the platform won't fit through the trees, or some similar nonsense. If you can't poke a straight stick through, you won't get a platform or a snorkel through...but if you can get a platform or a snorkel through, you can just about always get a stick through. Of course, some situations won't allow for aerial ops, some setbacks can't be overcome, etc...and that's what gound ladders are for.
In rural settings, you also need to get comfortable with the fact that you're going to get towed every once in a while. We've sunk both aerials into the mud while using them off road when the situation called for it. Our main objective is to get in and get the job done...getting out is just a detail that can be taken care of in due course. The key, of course, is to make sure that you get into position to operate safely and effectively before you get stuck, not to get stuck before you get into position. The other key is to only get into these situations when it's really necessary. This may all seem trivial or silly, but I've seen truck companies make their operations slower, more difficult, and less effective simply because they refused to leave the blacktop for fear of getting stuck.
I'll be glad to add to this...tell me what you want to know, and I'll try to give you some useful answers.
12-05-2000, 05:00 PM #5CDFFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks, this is the kinda stuff I'm looking for. I have set our platform up off road before and I have always thought that a stick would be a better option in many rural areas. Have you thought of or do you use a modified outrigger pad for off road set up? I thought maybe a larger pad would allow for a more stable footprint on front yards. I also like what you said about getting stuck once in a while, sounds like an aggresive truck crew getting the job done. Pull it out when the fires over right, just dont do it every time, or when its not justified. Is your truck a mid ship or rear mount aerial? If its a rear mount do you find yourself having to back into position? Thanks for your input so far.
12-05-2000, 05:49 PM #6Aerial 131Firehouse.com Guest
Where can I help?
SD is right, truck ops get done now with every engine or should the biggest difference is that now with a truck company operation you can have the engine do a better job with hose ops and let the truck get the SO, SAR, and Vent done.
One of the biggest issues will be the timeliness of arrival of the truck operation. If the distances are so great that the engine will have to wait then the next in engine will need to do the jobs of the truck company.
It all measures out in what you want. We have a station assigned to truck operations (65' LTI), but that does not mean for one second that we can not do any of the engine tasks. We have a first in due areas where we are the engine not the truck.
What it does give the fire district are a group of people that have the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) in certain areas of the fire fighting operations that might make a better difference in controlling the fire or stopping the damage that might occur or might promote the departemnt in a light to the public that is favorable. Truck companies ops can be multi-faceted and the teams must be allowed to function with some independence, not much but some( PPV fan to door, Vent, SAR, SO, etc.
Bob is right on when the fire ground is functional in nature. If you need vent then assign, need SAR then assign, does not matter who gets the job READY SET THINK GO.
I have gone to fires as a truckee and done nothing but SO for hours, removing burned materials, mucking out rooms, shoveling out ash, water, dirt, trash you name it so that when we all left the house was ready for reconstruction and the owner could not believe what we had done (remember it did not cost him anything but taxes). He was thrilled that he would be able to speed up his reoccupation of his house by several days by having the FD do the early work early and not having to wait for the restoration company come in days later and have to chip out the muck because it was frozen solid.
12-05-2000, 06:38 PM #7Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
>> Have you thought of or do you use a modified outrigger pad for off road set up? I thought maybe a larger pad would allow for a more stable footprint on front yards. I also like what you said about getting stuck once in a while, sounds like an aggresive truck crew getting the job done. Pull it out when the fires over right, just dont do it every time, or when its not justified.
I do really want to clarify one thing about this, though, and I can't stress it enough:
The rules for setting up an aerial off road are the same as the rules for setting up an aerial on the road...namely that if you can't set it up safely using the standard equipment provided with the rig, then you can't set it up at all.
You should NEVER use shoring or cribbing of any kind under outriggers, or try to extend the capabilities of the rig with changes to outrigger pads or anything else. When our rigs get stuck, it's usually a by-product of the fire scene. They're set up on relatively flat, relatively dry ground, but get sunk in because of drainage from the fire building or because they sat on marginally damp but stable ground for a long time and just can't get out after the ladder is down.
Also, I would NEVER advocate setting up in sloppy mud or something of that sort that makes the rig unsafe from the get-go. I'd add to your comment above, to read: "just don't do it every time, or when it's not justified, or when your best judgement tells you that it's simply unsafe to do so."
I don't want to leave the impression that we've got engineers running around looking for opportunities to go off road with aerials, or that we're constantly stuck in the mud someplace. It's very rare that it happens, but is has on a few occasions. Sometimes you need to go to extraordinary lengths to get the job done, and that's when you've got to make a responsible call on whether to setup in that yard, field, or wherever. I have seen truck companies just flat out refuse to leave the blacktop, even for stable ground, and that seems a bit overly cautious to me. The reasonable criteria from my point of view is "can I set up and use the rig safely when I need it?", not "if I put it there, is there a chance it might get stuck three hours from now?".
>> Is your truck a mid ship or rear mount aerial? If its a rear mount do you find yourself having to back into position?
Ours are rear mounts. It's occasionally necessary to back into position, but not so often that it's a problem. All else equal, rear mounts will tend to be shorter, with tighter effective turning radiuses than mid-mounts, at least on the margin, and that's one major reason we like them.
[This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited 12-05-2000).]
12-05-2000, 08:46 PM #8CDFFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks again for your thoughts, I'll take all of your points into consideration, You seem to be speaking with the voice of experience. Ever consider a tractor drawn aerial for rural use?
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