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  1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post pumpertanker vs. one of each

    I'm looking for input on a future truck purchase.The new truck committee is looking at purchasing either a) 1500 water/1500 gpm pumper tanker or b) 1000 water engine and a 2000 gallon tanker. We currently have (2) 1500 water/1500 gpm engines that are getting old. Our response area is 36 sq. miles with numerous hydrants coming in that we didn't have 20 years ago. We still will have areas with no hydrants. Has anyone had similar dilemas and how did they solve them. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Similar dilema.

    Both a consultant and a committee did seperate and independant evals and came up with the same results. Poor and inadequate present equipment, minimal manpower, present and future water availability and sources, expected growth and present fire load.

    For starters we went with 9 - 2,000 gallon 1500gpm pumper tankers (and 1 - 3000 gallon tanker). Less manpower needed to do more. More bang for the buck, multiple use apparatus and the list goes on...

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Either way they both have thier advantages. You have to stop and think, "Do we have enough man power to get both of the trucks and everything else we need to the scene?" If not the anwser is a pumpertanker. Another problem would be money involved in buying 2 new trucks. Our Dep. needed a rescue and a pumper, we did not have money and manpower for 2 trucks. We ended up buying a rescuepumper. Its not the exact situation, but just think about it for a second.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Three years ago faced similar problem with a 1974 tanker (1800) and a 1979 PT (1250/1000)needing replacing. Decided on combining the two into one. Ended up with Pierce Dash with 1500 pump and 2500 water. This is our second out, with a 1500/1250 Lance as first out to all structure fires. Our experiences have been nothing but great. It freed up one more firefighter for fighting fires instead of driving, resulted in less maintenance problems because the two trucks were being used all the time ( use it or lose it ), and with that much water arriving on scene with between 8 (daytime minimum) to 12 firefighters we have found that the fires go out within 15 minutes instead of hauling water for two hours. Both pumpers are set up the same and carry the same equipment; the only difference is that the big one has a quick dump in case we are called to haul water for our neighbors. Tandom axels have caused no problems and I would recommend them on anything over 1500 gal.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Only other thing to consider is down time. If one is out for unexpected service, can the other unit carry the workload? I am on a small volunteer department with only four rigs. Besides the rescue/equipment van, we have two engines (1994 Freightliner 1500GPM/1000Gal, 1979 Ford/Hale 1250GPM/1500gal) and a tanker (1987 GMC 2500gal). Both pumpers have dump valves, and the tanker has a portable pump mounted to the rear deck. All three have very different uses and capabilities, but all three are interchangeable in a pinch (all can either haul water or supply attack hoses). So consider making sure no gaping holes are created if a truck should go out of service for any reason. Two pumper/tankers would be a fast way of preparing for that possibility.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I became the bad guy when I suggested this to my rural department. Here's the reality...we have three stations covering 89 square miles...mostly rural area with flourishing housing developments. Average response numbers from our main station is in the neighborhood of 7 to 10 on an initial structure fire dispatch. Average at the other two stations is anywhere between 1 and 3 (with one being the norm). So here's the quandary...at the other two "understaffed" stations, what do you take, the pumper (with a 750 GPM pump and small tank) or the tanker (with a 500 GPM pump and an 1800 gallon tank). My opinion is that you get rid of the main pumper and tell them to respond first out with their pumper/tanker (1250 GPM with a minimum 2000-2500 gal tank) They didn't like the idea...they'd rather have a 3000 gallon tanker with a 125 GPM pump that is incapable of supplying an initial attack line if they arrive first on scene.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sounds very similiar to our area...25 square miles and a hydrant system no one ever dreamed of one day built into the center of town (to the new prison...) so hydrants cover the main drag...rest of town is rural water supply though.

    Used to have a 1500/1500 2 person Engine-Tank. Replaced that with a 1500gpm/1200gwt 6 person ET. Mainly an attack piece that can shuttle if needed.

    Our 2nd ET is a 1000/1200/1500' 5" due in the next few years to be replaced. This truck primarily is water supply, but fully capable of attack operations. My guess on the replacement? Same thing, bigger tank. Probably a custom chassis, 2 man only cab, 1500gpm so it can relay pump our Engine's 5" line; 2000-2500gwt to improve our tanker capability; 1500' of 5" which it sometimes lays to water with or more often lays up the driveway after the 1st due ET and Ladder have gone up a long driveway.

    Both trucks are versatile, but one is an excellent attack piece and good water supply; the other is excellent water supply with good attack capabilities.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our station opted for a 2000/3500 custom with room for 6. This piece works great in our area as in the daytime it is our second piece. Also great for standby's as it is a very caple attack piece with manpower and lines. Primary use is a tanker, but is fully caple af an attack posture

    these are my views and not my Depts.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First off you have to look at what the ISO wants and then combine that with what will go down the roads and bridges.
    Personally If you have the money you can't go wrong with a big pump, I pefer 2000 gpm or bigger. Why? ISO wants alot of water.
    Also, I perfer 1800-2200 gals pumper-tanker.
    My Dept decided to do a total fleet replacement we went with 6 pumpers and 6 3000 gal tankers to achieve a ISO rural rating. I think we should have went with all 6 man cabs on our tankers with larger pumps.There is too many advantages with a pumper/tanker as compaired to a straight tanker, such as if your pumper is O.O.S. you can run it as the pumper or if your pumper is on another call your Tanker can roll with a crew packing out.

    Just my Thoughts!!!

    [This message has been edited by Buck (edited November 02, 2000).]

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We use a 1500gpm 750gallon attack engine for both village and rural. I found out in most cases if you can't put it out with 750gal., your going to have a major water movement. That means using tankers and or pumper tankers. Lucky for us we have an outstanding mutual aid system that can get water and manpower there in a hurry. I can't stress that enough.

  11. #11
    Daniel Barr
    Firehouse.com Guest


    These all sound like good reasons but don't forget your terrain will dictate if you can put a large truck down your streets. I know of streets in my area that you would sink a truck carrying 2500 gallons of water in the winter when the ground is soft.

    If you are rural think about the farmers lanes you go down. Can they support this truck.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    He's the facts. 2000 gallons is the maximum water you can get on a single rear axle. (This is puching the limit) Anything bigger requires tandems. I like the Engine-Tanker combo truck and it has it's purposes. I also believe in the 2000 to 3000 gallon water hauler tankers but feel they should have a pump that will deliver 1000 gpm out of the tank. When it comes to shuttling water anything to large is less efficient. I have never seen a large Engine-Tanker that could shuttle water as efficiently as a water hauler. You can design a truck a million different ways and get 100 different people to build it for you. What I recommend is this. First piece out - Engine or Engine/Tanker with 1500 gallons of water with a 10" rear dump and a 6" rear suction. This apparatus will still have an adaquate hosebed and carry a minimum of 1000' of supply line, have decent compartment space, and remain at a manuverable size. Also if this piece arrives second or third on a mutual aid call it can dump and go establish a fill/draft site, can reverse lay to a nearby water supply, or can become the draft piece on the scene drafting from a folding tank using it's on board tank as an additional back-up once a water supply is esstablished. Second piece out should carry more water than the first (1800 to 2500) and should dump off both sides and the rear. It should also have a minimum of a 1000gpm pump and because of your growing hydrant areas carry a minimum of 1000' of supply line. It may lack in manuverability but will still function in both hydranted and non-hydranted areas. This will probally be the last tanker your department ever buys with you growing hydrants. If you wanna know more chech out www.firetrucks.com or send me an email and I can lead you in variuos different directions. Take care and be safe. FGN


  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well, it really depends on funds and man power. A Pumper/tanker is going to be less of each to get the setup into one truck. Sure you will have the full size pump, but you lose a lot of handling and manuverability. If you don't go with a tandem axel chassis, you are asking for reliability problems at best and a dangerous vehicle at worse. People often fail to realzie that these chassis are rated for a weight limit as a LIMIT. They were never intended to be loaded to within 10% of that limit and left that way forever.

    If you can afford it and have someone to drive them, get a solid attack pumper and a 2500-3000 gallon tanker on a big twin screw chassis. You will be happier in the long run.

    Leo Vincent http://www.westcoastvintage.com/firewolf.html

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    ///They were never intended to be loaded to within 10% of that limit and left that way

    Says who?

    Tell me what a good percentage of the load limit is?

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest



    There are a few, very few manufacturers that will not under any circumstances deliver a rig within 90% of the gross vehicle weight rating of the axles. Some 85%. It requires real engineers not shop buiders to calculate accurately what a rig will weight before it is built and what the load will be on each axle. They calculate that by taking the empty weight of the vehicle, the water tank weight, the NFPA equipment and hose allowance figures (or whatever higher number you've provided) plus the crew loading for the given cab in question. The then work out the weight and ballances.

    It is a really good idea for a department not to buy and equip there own apparatus. In many cases they end up overloading the vehicle or putting the vehicle out of ballance and transfering the liability to themselves. It is far better to tell the builder what you intend to carry, have them mount everything and provide the proper GVW to carry the intended load.

    You're better off having them tell you it isn't possible than to figure it out yourself after you own the beast.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My department has both, a tanker and a tanker/pumper. We bought the tanker/pumper in 1987 from Pierce when we replaced our worn out 1971 tanker. There were several reasons why we opted for the combination piece. Manpower was one of the biggest issues invloved. When you only have one crew most of the time during daytime hours it is nice to have that 2000 gallons of water on your engine to hold you over until mutual aid arrives. In 1997 we purchased a straight tanker with 3000 gallons of water to supplement our non hydranted area. My department is really big into lowering our ISO rating and missed a Class 4 by a few points after the purchase. We are currently working on a new substation and with that the purchase of a ALF pumper/tanker (1500GPM/2000 gallon tank) to be housed in it as well.
    All in all the combination units really work well and every department in my county operates one, some have two it just depends on each individual jurisdictions needs.

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I believe going with two trucks would be my choice. As long as the tanker can be used as a pumper.

    I also have to agree with Buck, better check with your ISO consultant. If you don't have a consultant, check with LHS. He really does seem to know his stuff on ISO.

    Good luck

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I think it depends on the tactics you employ.

    Do you use drop tanks with a multi tanker water shuttle? If so, then by all means go with one of each. This frees the tanker to make more than one trip for water, and the pumper can remain on scene and pump. Perhaps think about two 2000 gallon tankers if your mutual aid is very far away, or one 3000 gallon tanker if you have m/a tankers in the next community.

    Another factor is the size of the apparatus. Most tanker/pumper combinations are as long as some of the aerials out there on the market. Can you fit these trucks down your streets, can they turn around easily at fill/drop sites? Is it safe to operate these behometh trucks that everyone seems to be buying?

    We have a 3000 gallon tanker that was spec'ed to be no longer than 25 feet. It also had to be very stable through the turns and well baffled. It's do-able, but there is no room for a large pump (we have a 350gal/min pump on it).

    There is a lot to consider when purchasing a tanker.


  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You gotta get a 18 wheeler tanker! Forget about 3 axels, you should go with 5! Get a industrial class tractor (kenworth, peterbuilt long nose) with a stainless steel elliptical trailer. There are quite a few companies around here with these set-ups. They (most) don't have a pump though. Are they the most practical? Probably not, but they surely are the best looking!

    When In Doubt, Blitz It Out!

  20. #20
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    "Another factor is the size of the apparatus."

    Doesn't have to be. We've got 9 P/T's on the way with 2,000 gallon tanks and they'll be 1' longer than our 750 gallon engines - and that's with a 16" extended bumper. They'll have 45 degree cramp nagles and out turn just about every other rig we have.

    First in will be the engine company and the remainder can start shuttling water if necessary.

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