1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Doors: Roll up Vs. Traditional

    Our department is in the process of spec'ing a new heavy rescue. We are exploring the roll up door option. I am soliciting input from departments who have experience with these doors (maintenance, usage, etc). Any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have Robinson roll ups on 2 engines and a rescue. The only problems we ever had with them is the compartment door open lamp was always lit for the first couple of years, we finally got a fix on that, the rescue is a 97 and i know of no problems with the doors or switch on that. You do lose some room in the top of the compartment and definitely make sure your equipment is securely mounted so you don't jam them closed. No real maintenance issues, probably less than with painted traditional doors, if someone scratches ours we can just replace the panel. Operationally they are fantastic, open the whole side of the truck up, no shadows, nothing to walk around, nothing to force you out into traffic. Id never use the traditional doors again.

    [This message has been edited by Halligan84 (edited September 18, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by Halligan84 (edited September 18, 2000).]

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have Dover rollup doors on 3 of our Pierce rigs. The oldest is 3 years. So far they have worked flawlessly. The only
    disadvantage is that you can't stand under them in a rainstorm like you can a horizontally hinged standard door. All kidding aside they have worked out well for us.

  4. #4
    East Haddam#1firefighter
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In 1993 East Haddam purchased a new Heavy Rescue truck from Excellance Inc in Madison Alabama. The walk-in box is made by Excellance and is warranted for 40 years. The box is bolted onto a 1992 Ford L-8000 Chassis. We chose traditional doors on our truck for multiple reasons. The first reason is; a traditional door will never jam up and be unable to open. A roll-up door could. What if one of the many rescue tools in the compartment falls and jams against the door?
    Then you cant open the door. The second reason is a role-up door needs room in the upper part of the compartment to roll-up into and that limits space in the compartment. A traditional door takes up no space at all in the compartment. There is only one small problem with traditional doors and that is at a motor-vehicle accident when the apparatus is parked on the street the doors when opened, do block traffic slightly but the thing is, if your department has good fire-police that direct traffic well then the traditional doors pose no problem. So we in East Haddam Connecticut highly recommend traditional style doors for every apparatus.

    Shawn Daigle

    [This message has been edited by East Haddam#1firefighter (edited September 21, 2000).]

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The last four rigs (tower, rescue, 2 engines) we purchased all have roll ups. I'm sure all of our future ones will also. We just got tired of walking into open doors and having to go around them when getting equipment from multiple compartments. Roll ups provide for a smaller aparatus "footprint" at the scenes. Biggest advantage to roll ups --- if some one leaves it open and you drive out of the station, you won't have one of those unplanned "Aparatus/Station Interfaces". We had one a few years back that resulted in about $6000 damage to the station and truck.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Roll-up doors are the way to go, especially on a heavy rescue. A lot of the equipment is heavy and awkward to lift. With traditional doors(even if you use roll out trays, etc.) you still have to reach and bend in positions that could cause back injuries because of the door alongside the tray. With the roll up door and slide out trays you can stand right next to what ever you need to get off of the rig.

    Let no firefighters ghost say their training let them down.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    We have dover roll-up doors also. No problems yet. Two neighboring departments have had problems with conventional doors: one company tore down the partition between their bay doors when the unit was driven out with a door open (extensive structural damage and two units with debris damage), and another company had an ambulance drive into their highside door when it was open on a call. The only disadvantage to roll-up doors has already been mentioned - No where to stand in the rain to stay dry!!

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Is most of your responses on paved or gravel road? How are the roll up door for dirt in the tracks? Any problems with freezing up winter?

  9. #9
    Neptune 33
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our one engine and squad have Robinson Roll up doors, and we love them. Our other 1974 Engine has trad. Personally I like them both. I think that it is what works better for your department. If space is not an issue because your compartments have the extra upper room, go for the roll ups, if not trad. I personally, would go with roll ups but that's my opinion.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I prefer traditional myself. We have a rescue truck with roll up doors. They need to be asjusted periodically to set the tension. the paint chips on them easily and makes the truck look bad, and things fall over sometimes in the compartments jamming them up. On our pumpers we have traditional doors. Our newest truck was purchased last year and we went with traditional again, a big factor was wanting to keep the most compartment space. For the people that cant seem to shut the doors before pulling out of the station, there is a nice new feature on our truck, it has an electronic transmission with a relay wired to the doors. If you put the truck in drive with any door open,an annoying buzzer and light in the cab come on. Makes it hard to forget.

    Anything i say in the forums is my opinion and does not reflect my department or any organization i belong to.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My Dept recently purchased a E-one Heavy Rescue with roll ups. And our our engines all have a rear roll up door.
    -I would have to say any advantage that roll ups have is outweighed by the disadvantages.
    -They are hard to keep clean and if you wash them make sure they are dry before taking them out in freezing weather.
    -They take up valuable space at the top of the compartment.
    -Give them time & they will stick...new ones are great but as they get older they will jam on you.
    -I'll agree with Medic445 there are sometimes that a roll up is nessesary(ours has a Stanely hydraulic power unit that wouldn't work with conventional doors.

    Your best option is get roll ups if there is a certain need for them on the rig otherwise I would recomend conventional doors.
    Overall, Buy doors that meet your needs.

    Those are my thoughts.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    What if one of the many rescue tools in the compartment falls and jams against the door?
    Uh, well with a conventional door, you open the door, the tool falls out and breaks your foot.

    We have been using roll up doors on our apparatus since 1976. The only time they get "jammed" and that is usually only for a few seconds is from improperly stowing equipment.

    Irregardless of style of door, equipment still needs to be secured inside the compartment. Otherwise, it jambs roll up doors, or falls out of conventional doors.

    Never had a problem with freezing...even when operating in icing conditions.

    Never had chipped paint...although that's probably because we don't paint them The scotchlite reflective trim does get beat up, but there worse things in life.

    As for wasting compartment space...that probably depends on vehicle design. We have one new truck since '76 that doesn't have them -- and that was a minipumper where every inch of space was precious. On the Engine, Engine-Tank, and Rescue the area where the roll ups roll up is all a good 8' off the ground and at the outside corners...not exactly prime real estate!

    Traffic is one concern...(totally unrelated to my fire company, I was driving along in another town when I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing the chaos the insues when a fire truck is running red lights & siren to a call, and a large door with a heavy spring opening pops open into the other lane of travel! Not a justification for rollups, just something I'll never forget!)

    We're also very frequently work in people's driveways...and I have had apparatus spotted where you couldn't open the conventional door because of a tree/car/wall to close to it.

    Overall, I really like them.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have two units with roll up doors. We have Dover on one unit and Robinson on the other. We find them much better than conventional. As some others have said easier to get gear out of but do take up space at the top. All our doors are hooked to a dash light and audible alarm if the doors are open when the maxi brakes are taken off. This prevents driving away with doors open. We have no problems with doors sticking as we spray silicon in the tracks once a month or more if needed. This is what is recommended by both manufacturers.

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