Thread: STICK OR TOWER
01-15-1999, 05:19 PM #1FFRAGSFirehouse.com Guest
STICK OR TOWER
OUR DEPARTMENT WILL BE REPLACING OUR 1974 AMERICAN LA FRANCE REAR MOUNT 100' QUINT LADDER TRUCK. MOST OF OUR FIREFIGHTERS PREFER A TOWER OR BUCKET TRUCK. DO YOU HAVE IDEAS OR SUGGESTIONS TO HELP US MAKE OUR DECISION AND CONVINCE THE MANAGEMENT? THANKS AND BE SAFE!
01-19-1999, 06:41 PM #2STA2Firehouse.com Guest
If you want a platform then present your case to your funding board or city council. Do a needs assessment of your territory and see what you need. Check the offsets from the street on your residential and commercial buildings. On all remember to spot outside the collapse zone and see what your true length needs to be. Look at the heights of your structures and fire load. The built-in protection systems can matter also. If you have a large amount of older structures w/out sprinklers/standpipes use this to get your new apparatus. Explain how you use your current truck and how your SOP's require it on the fireground b/c of specific functions and fireground assignments. Explain how the commercial properties that you have are also the businesses that pay the taxes and who wants to burn out a tax paying customer. Explain ISO to them and the related effects AFTER you find out your current situation AND the proposed situation after you get what you are asking for. Explain how this could affect your commercial occupancies and how they and the city could benefit by getting certain types or numbers of apparatus. If your neighboring departments have Truck Co.'s see what types. Get something you need but at the same time don't duplicate the capabilities of neighboring dept's b/c they bought it. Get something that compliments the other devices but at the same time meets your needs. If your neighboring dept's don't have Truck Co.'s then that even better. Explain how there is no one else to depend on for those rare BUT inevitable incidents when you will need the elevated water or the ability to reach the 6th. floor for a rescue.
In closing I'll tell you what a neighboring dept. to mine did to get what they wanted. They already had a 100' Sutphen tower but wanted a Tele-Squirt to compliment it for their next Engine Co. When the Chief of Operations went to their city council to make his presentation he had a slide show of structures from within his city. A few of those happened to be of city council members homes. These council members payed closer attention when they realized that their home was being used in a worst case scenario. The Chief acted as though he had no idea that they were their homes until told so by the council members. Needless to say he got what they wanted by the end of that council meeting. E-Mail w/other questions. Alot of this I am sure you have already thought of but I hope I helped.
01-19-1999, 06:51 PM #3STA2Firehouse.com Guest
As a suppliment to my post I forgot something. Most platforms can flow two monitors from the platform while a typical straight stick only has room for one. That is 2000GPM vs.1000GPM in some cases. This can matter when your target hazards are involved with huge fire loads. Stress firefighter safety also. Make it very clear that working from a platform is much safer than on a 20 degree pitch on a 3 story. The cost difference is not worth a firefighters life. Rescue is also greatly enhanced in terms of versatility. Some mfg offer below 0 degree capabilities in either a stick or platform which is great for water rescue situations and the like. Now point out how it is much safer for the firefighters as well as for the victims to use and move on a big platform rather than a narrow stick. Convincing a panicked citizen to get into a bucket at 03:00 in their nightgown while their apartment burns on the 6th floor is much easier than the same situation on a stick. Hope this helps
01-19-1999, 08:25 PM #4SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
Please make sure that the apparatus itself will fit where it needs to go, in the station, and at the scenes it will respond to. If you have a lot of low-hanging power lines, or other overhead obstructions, make sure the apparatus's height is compatible. IMHO, there's not much point in a straight truck with a rear mount stick...if you can afford it, get a tower. If you have height restrictions, get a mid mount tower. If you have lots of closely built structures, and have the appropriate staffing, consider a tractor drawn aerial. You can get one into anyplace you can get a pumper.
Also, a great pet peeve of mine. . . ladder trucks are not busses to take more engine co. firefighters to the scene. Make sure to train as a truck company, and make sure you use your apparatus. . . if your used to crowding the scene with engines, you'll have to get used to leaving room for the truck, generally, side one, front and center.
Second pet peeve of mine. . .if can help it, avoid quints...though nice and very appropriate for some (maybe you?) they are too often a serious compromise to your ladder complement and other equipment. Also it's real hard to get the firefighters to do truck work when you have them stretching lines.
Just my two cents, we've all got our own drummers.
BTW my station has a 106' LTI with a Pemfab tractor. Love it. Neighboring trucks: a 130' Bronto Skylift which is a real beast on crowded streets, and somewhat slow to set up; A rearmount c100' Ferrarra; a rearmount c100' Seagrave Apollo; and a 95' FWD Aerialscope. In general, the tiller truck is easier to get into good positioning on the scene, but man does it suck if we don't have two drivers. The articulating devices-the Skylift, and I assume the Skyarm and Snorkels, are nice on parapet roofs.
Berwyn Heights V.F.D.
Prince George's Co., MD
01-24-1999, 05:24 AM #5Driver OnlyFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with Sean
Will the thing fit everywhere you want to take it is the biggest thing.. Towers are nice if you can fit them everyhere, and have plenty of room to set them up. But if you are used to that 74 ALF, and want something that is going to manuever and setup as quicky and as easily...a tower (depending on the make) is the furthest thing from that. The new mid mount towers are nice... They maneuver quite well, and don't have all that basket hanging in front of you (a real problem sometimes). I'm still partial to a plain medium duty aerial ladder though. They are smaller, maneuver better, take up less space, and set-up a whole lot faster. If you want elevated master stream capability, you can get a prepiped waterway with remote control. Make sure you put that smooth bore on the tip (I had to throw that one in!! Ha!)!
Hyattsville Fire Department
Prince George's County, MD
01-24-1999, 10:18 AM #6ECBURTFirehouse.com Guest
Owning a quint tower does not mean you have to have a lousy ladder compliment, poor access, horrible turning radius, a monster rig, a bucket over hang, wide outriggers, a tower does not have to be any higher than an aerial, doen't need to be a beast, etc. All those issues appear on paper before the metal is bent. Lousy decisions in the paper stage result in lousy trucks. There is quite an offering in outrigger spread, setup times, etc. Some will be eaasier to maintain than others.
Simply buy a tillered version and have the best of both worlds. In our area we have the choice of engines and quints and the firefighters will take a quint over an engine. I guess it is all how you lay them out. If you staff accordingly you can do two or three functions simulaneously.
A tiller by the way is the second most manueverable chassis. The Pierce All Steer is a real tiller killer. It will go places a tiller will never go.
Just because you read a tower can flow 1500 or 2000 gpm in an add doen't mean it can do it. You'll find the operating manual contradicts some folks adds.
You can get dual master streams on aerials or towers, plumbed or removables and similar flow rnnges, electric or manual.
There really isn't a reason a truck cannot be a bus to take more firefighters to the fire scene. Set your rigs up to do what you want them to do.
The idea of adding 8% or less to the price of the rig for a pump to supply master streams is a pretty good idea especially if you undestand hydraulics. 2000 gpm isn't going to happen in a relay from engine companies to your truck.
We spec'd a 750 tank on a 100 footer to offer real engine company ability. After all, most of us will use water more than the ladder device doing the job. Watch the hose bed layout if you really want to lyhose mot quints sorta lay hose under ideal circumstances only.
01-24-1999, 10:09 PM #7SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
Just about any choice is a compromise between two or more constraints...especially true in apparatus selection and design. As you spec. your apparatus, you must consider quantity and quality of staffing, response types, road conditions, frequency of use, scene configuration, budget (I should probably have put that first), and others.
In my area, suburban maryland, we have combination systems, with firefighters and operators of varying experience. Most of our apparatus drivers are either the daytime career men, 15-20+ year volunteers, volunteers who are career firefighers in another jurisdiction, or live-in volunteers with less experience, but who do it every day. It is not a terrible burden to find two drivers to operate a tiller truck. I would think that any station with more than one career firefighter could 'learn' to operate any given apparatus. On-call stations might not. . . it could be of great benefit to keep chassis very similar, if not exactly the same across each apparatus.
As a ladder company, we have our own first response area, as well as first and second due truck areas. Buildings include single family dwellings, garden apartments, townhomes, high rise apartments and offices, strip malls, dormitory and university buildings, and others. Typically there is a lot of congestion on the roads and in the parking lots...we are inside the capitol beltway. A tractor drawn aerial gets us where we need to go, with much greater ease than our straight truck brethren. Perhaps all-steer would work for them. One day, I'm sure it will.
We would not be considered a very busy station in my county, but we ran more than 3000 some calls last year. Our ladder truck went on 800 some calls last year, not to mention driver's training, dinner runs, etc. I'd go figure out the mileage now, but it's out getting chiken wings. In short, our stuff gets ridden pretty hard.
People talk of 200 years of firefighting tradition, unhindered by progress. This is true. If it aint broke dont fix it. Not everyone is ready to go out on a limb with a radical new design, fearing that their precious budget will be wasted, that it won't look right, or perhaps it won't work right and someone will lose there home or their life.
I truly believe in the KISS philosophy for firefighting. If it has more than 2 moving parts, we'll eventually break it. If it takes more than 2 steps, we'll forget how to do it. If there are 2 or more ways to put it together, we'll put it together wrong. All this is especially true at 3 a.m, in the rain, or at a fire. In my area, the KISS philosophy of firetruck design has led to alley-running engines, small, nimble, 6 man engines with 500 gallon tanks, a few preconnects, and 3" supply line. While these work beautifully here, they wouldn't work everywhere. We have 100psi hydrants everywhere you look. We have 4-8 engines and 2-4 special services coming on the box assignment. We just don't 'do' new technology (perhaps to our loss). I'll note that my station isn't all that KISS--we tend to buy any tool that you can find--but we have room for them on our ladder truck or our squad. The apparatus themselves are pretty straightforward though.
A straight ladder weighs less than a tower ladder of the same rating and length. Plus, a straight ladder can be rated at less weight than a tower. Simple statics will explain why a ladder will have a narrower outrigger spread, and perhaps fewer outriggers than a tower. You can not simply spec a narrower outrigger spread. Incidently, one outrigger each side are much, much easier to spot between cars than two.
A tractor trailer type ladder truck is large, and will take up more fireground space than a straight truck. As we like to say, though, 'hose bends, go around'. A TDA also has more room than a straight truck--we can get 400'+ of ground ladders without using hyrdraulic ladder racks. All compartments are accessible and there's no waiting for the rack to come down. We can store our ladders on their beams for easy carrying. We can get a prepiped remote control waterway (we don't, we have a ladder pipe, 4" hose, stacked tips, and lanyards)
I had mentioned not making your truck a bus for more engine company firefighters to ride. . . this had nothing to do with the specifications of your ladder truck, but rather the mentality of the crew. Train to do two separate jobs. Don't get off the truck and grab a line (unless thats your sop).
If you have been using a quint-you may find it difficult to switch to a dry ladder. As a truck company - we don't search with a hand line, but there always one if not three there. Our assigned tasks don't include water - the engine guys pull hose - the truck forces entry, throws ladders, makes the search, ventilates, etc.
for ECBURT-I checked your site out, and am duly impressed. A personal hobby of mine is coming up with stuff like that (on paper). I'm glad and jealous that you guys are able to pull off that purchase. As an engineer (the pocket protector kind) I appreciate the thought that was placed into ergonomics and ease of use. I have no doubt that you will see some (not all) of your designs catch on, some sooner than later. It is inevitable that operating pressures will go up, and hoze size and nozzle pressure down. More people will use foam. The pump panel (and other systems) will become more automated. When this happens you can sit back and say, 'I told you so', and be happy that you had some part in improving the American fire service. I caution you, though, nobody likes a zealot. As they say, you catch more flies with honey. . . that being said, you will not see these things for some time...p.g. county has not burned down yet--what works for us works for us. You had mentioned that you spec'd a 750 tank on a 100 footer, for real engine company ability...nice but if your pulling a line, who's throwing ladders? And after all, our stick goes up just about every time, far more often than the line gets charged. Different worlds.
I'll get off my soapbox now.
Berwyn Heights V.F.D.
Prince George's Co., MD
[This message has been edited by SBrooks (edited 01-24-99).]
01-25-1999, 11:27 AM #8cra539Firehouse.com Guest
Ecburt, whats your website?
01-25-1999, 12:09 PM #9ECBURTFirehouse.com Guest
<You had mentioned that you spec'd a 750 tank on a 100 footer, for real engine company ability...nice but if your pulling a line, who's throwing ladders? >
10 guys on a rig can do more than one task
01-25-1999, 07:21 PM #10ECBURTFirehouse.com Guest
A TDA also has more room than a straight truck--we can get 400'+ of ground ladders without using hyrdraulic ladder racks.
Not trying to be a "zealot" but Hyattsville's only carries according totheir web site " 216 feet of ground ladders" You carry twice what they carry? 400 feet would be almost TWELVE 35'ers?
01-25-1999, 09:58 PM #11SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
I can't speak knowledgeably for Hyattsville, and my tiller truck doesn't carry that much...we have two 30' on each side, a 50', 2 35', 20, 16, 14 & 10' attic carried in the rear, a 12' combination & a 12' roof under the bed section. Only 264'. I took 400' from the Pierce TDA brochure that I read maybe 2 years ago, which is to say, out of my a**. The best I can do is 336' with 2 35' outboard with a pair of 20's inboard, 2 30, 2 35', 2 20',2 16', 10'A, 14'C. I suppose if you wanted all your extensions to be 35' and all your straight ladders 24' you could get 6 of each on the truck with a 10' attic, 14' combination, and another 14' roof ladder under the bed section for 392'. My point is a tractor trailer is large, you can get more in it, especially if you don't put pump, tank, & hose on it. Please forgive my exuberance. I'll look for that pamphlet & see what it says, but I doubt I'll find it.
BTW in 1968 BHVFD took delivery of a Maxim TDA with a 250 gpm pump, 200 gal tank, and two crosslays.
Berwyn Heights V.F.D.
Prince George's Co., MD
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