1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face Pump control location

    Time to open up a can of worms. Hopefully, though this will incite a pretty good debate.

    What really is the best pump and pump panel location. Pumps are typically front, mid, or rear mount (I guess that pretty much covers the whole truck.) Pump panels have been located up front, in the crew area of the cab, on the dash, top mounted, side mounted, top-side mounted, rear-side mounted and back mounted. Is there really one best set-up or do they all have benefits depending on the applications.
    Have fun with this one, I'm KNOW everyone has an opinion on it.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It depends on your department and application you are putting it on. Every location has it's advantages and disadvantages. We have all side mounts. But I know of a department that has a lot of interstate calls that have a top mount to get the operator out of the road and hopefully out of harms way.

    I would think that even within one department you could have valid reasons for different panel locations....

  3. #3
    Brian Pratt
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I think that top-mount controls are safer as far as visibility is concerned. But they either add an extra foot or so to the engines overall length or take up space in the crew cab.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with chiefdog ,everybodies needs are different, Our dept has a mix ,1 top mount which the newest and for side mounts ,the tower and 3 older pumpers. we have aneed for the top mount mainly becuase of the garden state parkway. It does however have advantages at routine calls. this does not mean however tthat the new pump that we are going to spec is going topside.visiblity and safety are the pluses. on the down side in winter or wet weather footing can be a problem. on our pump we have abuilt in foam system on the side which can mean up and down.also we are a small 28 man dept with 15 vol. the lead engine driver is responsible for getting or over seeing all equiptment on and off the rig, and getting started setting up lights. this can bring a lot of up and down. with only 5 or 6 men on duty , the first few minutes at a working fire or even a car fire the driver is doing many other tasks while trying to monitor the pump as well as maintain communications and direct off duty people and vol. coming from home. Again up and down. also being topside does not necessarily improve hearing. we were probably not watching close enough when we speced the pump and mounted the generator top side near the pump panel and it is real hard hearing with out head phones.

  5. #5
    pvfr fyrfyter
    Firehouse.com Guest


    the only true way to determine control location is to go back in your own departments history and see what the pumper is used for and which type of mount will best serve the majority of the uses that your dept. has for the unit. also remember to keep in mind both initial and long term staffing at calls to see what other duties the operator may initially have and how long the operator may be doing these tasks.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    On the lines of pump panel locations... our department had an unusual piece, a 1952 American LaFrance with the pump panel on the curb/passenger side of the truck. Haven't seen another on that way ever since. It seemed to make sense to me, the engineer is out of the street and generally on the fire side of the truck where you can see what is going on. Can you still get them made this way, and what are the thoughts of you folks on having it on the passenger side?

    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I my self like the top mounted, it keeps me off the side of the road and away from traffic. You can see more of the fire scene and if you need to use the deck gun, the operator can run it and the pump at the same time. Like the others have said it depends on the needs of the dept. my old volly dept had a front mounted pump, it worked great when you needed to get water out of a river or a pond.

    Have a good day and be safe.

    Local 3905

  8. #8
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Rattlesnake CO has a slick idea - Fire Commander in the cab with a few other conmtrols, and valves only at the front and rear of the rig. That way no one has to be in traffic for any reason pulling a line or valve off the side.

    Check it out at http://www.geocities.com/Baja/Trails/7873/

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Metalmedic:You know that if you throw enough money at a manufacturer that they can do just about anything you want them to. I haven't seen any new deliveries with a curb side panel, but I've seen two older pieces. But I've seen the apparatus pull to the left curb and operate from there. Now the operator is in the street again. Leave it to firefighters to screw up a good system.
    As for the original post, there is no perfect place for a panel. Whatever your dept. belives will work to their advantage will work. My opinion is that a short handed dept shouldn't buy a top mount. Too much up and down. In rural areas without hydrants but with the right manpower, a top(or side top) mount is the way to go.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    All we've ever had is front mounts. We've got 3 now and they are all we want. We're a rural dept. but have hydrants in the 4 small towns we protect. They're easy to operate and are generally positioned to that the operator can see the whole fireground.


  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    we have a 1992 Sutphen with a top mount pump panel located INSIDE the crew area!what a pleasure it is to pump in any weather.and we are getting a new 1750 gpm pumper with the same set-up.We are very happy with this and would recommend it to anybody.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You certainly have different choices. Hopefully if you have a truck committee all avenues will be researched. Just remember not everybody will be happy. Our department currently has two engines, both top mount and both not-enclosed. We will be receiving a new engine in May y2k and it will be open top mount. We run quite a few traffic accidents and it is a lot safer to have your operator off the travelled way. I would not suggest an enclosed pump panel. I have seen them in operation and usually both the doors are open, the windows are open, and the operator has to stick his head out the door to see what is going on. You also loose your hearing on the fireground being inside.
    Good luck.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with the posts here, it all depends on your department, and what you are trying to accomplish in the design of the truck, we are a volunteer dept. and we have four trucks that are front mounted, and one truck that is mid-mounted, as far as drafting, it is much easier with the front mount, but as far as working a fire, it is easier with the mid-mount.

  14. #14
    G Koons
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I see more disadvantages than advantages with a top mounted pump panel vs side mounted.Ist wasted space between back of cab and front of pump panel.With side panel you have alot of storage space above the pump especially if you have no booster reel. Many new pumpers have raised cabs. This hinders seeing to the front of the truck and may hinder master stream operations of a deck gun. As far as pump operater safety either block the road off or at least the lane the truck is parked in. Our dept. pump operator performs other duties besides operating the pump. Connect lines, change air bottles etc.
    When operating front suction from a folding tank the pump operator must keep an eye on the water supply. You can't see the tank from
    the top of the truck behind a rasied cab. Also if you have vertical exhaust does the pump operator breath diesel fumes?

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have 3 pumpers in the station, a top mount, side mount, and a rear mount.

    Top mount, good view, out of harms way, but let a little mud or snow or ice get on the walkway or your boots, and it's a long way to the ground.

    Side mount, visibility not so good, south end of a north bound firefighter is hanging out in road. No problem falling off the walk way.

    Rear mount, visibility almost as good as top mount, more protected from traffic, and no falling off the walkway.

    The rear mount has proved to be the most practical for our district, which is 99% residentual, but on narrow mountainous roads. A rear mount pump panel also allows for a great deal more compartment space for a given size truck. Our rear mount is on a 170" wheelbase, 4x4 chassis to provide as small as possible turning radius, yet we carry a great deal of equipment with room to spare. Everything is in compartments, including ladders, yet we also carry positive pressure fan, Hurst tool, cribbing, chain saws, plus all the 1901 required stuff.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest



    You've all got great answers; I thought I'd give you my pitch and especially didn't want ChiefDog and Swanton to get one up on us. We run two engines; one is a conventional Mid ship pump. The newer of the two in a Top Mount. There is no clear cut winner here. I enjoy very much to new Top Mount. I'm out of the way on I-89 and I can see everything at a scene. I'm also out of every other firefighters way and don't get tangled in lines being pulled. I will say that I do have problems seeing a folding tank at the front of our truck and can't reilaibly check it's level (BIG PROBLEM). If your set in your ways it's not as handy to check on pump conditions if your roaming around the engine. And Yes you are all correct sort handed at a worker can really tire you out if you up and down every thirty seconds.

    As for the Side Mount. It works as well as it ever has. But I have the greatest trouble with not being able to see Fires on the passenger side of the truck. I worry less about traffic and more about the fire I can't see and the lines stretched off the opposite side of the truck. As for other operations such as folding tanks and tanker supply. I find myself in the way if the working side of the truck is on the pump panel side. But I must admitt I still enjoy everything being at arms reach from the ground and you'll never get that with the Top Mounts.

    Guess if I had to make a choice I'd say the Top Mount offers more for us. I hate the additional length but if it wasn't pump it would be compartment space. I like accessing both sides of the truck and seeing everything as it happens. If you pump with a Top Mount you'll agree it's nice to be high and out of harms way. Whether it's traffic,hose lines, firefighters,

    Take it for what it's worth.

    Swanton - keep Engine 3 between the lines...

  17. #17
    Stuart Cobb
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If you are short-handed (and who isn't) stay away from the top mounts. The up and down every 30 seconds can be a real pain. If you have a dedicated pump operator, then they're ok.

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm going to stir the pot a little since there is a consideration noone has mentioned yet. Several replies have mentioned being able to see the fire ground from the pump location. Has anyone thought about being able to all the action may hinder the operator from paying attention to the pump? The firefighters that need that pump operator the most are the crew inside the building and can't be seen but a good operator can tell just about all he/she needs to know with the gauges and the radio.(short of a kinked line or someone pulling one line and telling you a different line)

    Just trying to get a reaction.

    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA

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