My dept replaces Class A pumpers every twenty years as we are supposed to. To defray the cost of replacing more than one in any given year, we cycle the engines through, so we replace a different one every four years. Before I present my question, I would like to outline my district and department.
Our apparatus consists of one reserve 750 gpm 1000 gallon pumper, three 1250 gpm 1000 gallon pumpers, one 1250 gpm 3000 gallon tanker, one 4x4 750 gpm 750 gallon brush unit and one 4x4 250 gpm 250 gallon lite duty/brush unit (Chevy 1500 w/ mechanics body and skid unit). We are a volunteer department witrh roughly thirty to forty active members. We have a state highway that passes through the middle of our district and we only have hydrants in half of our district. Currently, any haz-mat and rescue/extrication needs are served through mutual aid. However, the agency that providees the rescue/extrication is a volunteer ambulance company that may fold soon. Legally, the fire dept is responsible at car accidents and rescue scenes. If this other agency is to fold, we are not currently able to provide the needed services. Also, our dept has recently become more medically oriented with the possibility of future EMS support or as a first response for the town EMS.
Now for my question. I would like to propose to my district the idea of purchasing a medium duty recsue truck and a Class A pumper in one year. (I may also suggest the possibility of only purchasing the rescue, we have little need for so many pumpers. We are able to flow more than enough water for any structure in our district, unless it is a major incident, in which case we would need mutual aid man power and equipment anyway). In past years, we have bought custom pumpers. My plan would involve a stock pumper and a semi-custom rescue. The proposed rescue would carry basic EMS equipment, haz-mat equipment, extra fire equipment (SCBA, hand tools, fans, etc.), foam, SCBA air cascade system and possibly a small incident command center. It wouldn't have to include all of these options, these are just ideas we have considered. My question to the forum is this: Would it be better for us to purchase a combination rescue/pumper or go with my plan? What are the drawbacks to either plan? Anyone else experienced a similar situation or have a similar peice of apparatus? Any advice/suggestions reagrding any aspect of this problem would be greatly appreciated.
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Thread: Apparatus Selection
10-17-2000, 02:57 AM #1martinjFirehouse.com Guest
10-19-2000, 03:25 AM #2Resq14Firehouse.com Guest
Very good question. Hopefully this will spark some creative discussions. While I don't think I can answer it definitively, I can share some experiences I've had in very similar circumstances. Our dept. is very much like yours... manpower, geography, composition, apparatus, replacement schedule, etc. Additionally, EMS is provided by a somewhat separate municipal volunteer EMS department.
We're at the juncture where we determined we needed to replace our aging aerial truck, and an aging 1000gpm/1000gal engine company. The aerial truck issue was settled rather traditionally: buy a new aerial truck. For the new engine company though, we decided to consolidate our Rescue Truck and this engine company into one truck... a rescue-pumper. We came to this conclusion after thoroughly reviewing and planning our future. We looked at every aspect of our response area, and planned accordingly. We felt the Rescue-Pumper concept was an extremely practical and responsible way to proceed.
PROS: You get a versatile truck which can handle the initial phases of almost any emergency, and handle it well. As you're also volunteer, I assume you make use of mutual aid for anything which would require extensive operations. So, you'd be calling for more trucks, equipment, and people if the need arose anyhow.
Our truck will be carrying EMS equipment, basic water and rope rescue equipment (advanced items will be on the truck company), a moveable winch for operation off all sides of the truck, an extensive Amkus Ultimate System extrication and tool complement, Paratech high-pressure lifting bags, 500gal/2000gpm pump w/CAFS, 15kW AMPS generator, fixed and tripod halogen scene lighting, basic haz-mat equipment, attack and supply lines, and your typical fire suppression inventory.
This truck will meet our engine company needs in excess of 95% of the time, and our rescue company needs in excess of 95% of the time. For those times when we need more help, we have mutual aid, cuz that's what it is for. I feel that this is a win-win situation, and that it's cost-effective and makes sense to do this.
CONS: Inside my mind, and occasionally contrary to reality (aka TonyLandô) I envision myself en-route to the "Towering Inferno--Rota-Ray's a flashin' and Federal Q's a screamin'--"Scotting-up" in the back of a dedicated rescue truck, with a 20,000mW light tower, a billion pound winch (front and rear of course), A-Frames, Level A HazMat suits, a crane, 57 bottle cascade system, command post, observation platform, fold-out awning, ice rescue gear, swift water rescue stuff, confined space equipent, collapse/trench rescue cache, high/low angle gear, hydraulic rescue tools, pneumatic tools, cutting torches, dive gear,... in otherwords, "the works."
You've gotta remember, compromises have to be made, and reality needs to play a part in these compromises. Does your department really need a dedicated special-use rescue truck? Or could you simplify operations and training and equipment and maintenance by combining the two rigs in the "best of both worlds" approach? "Bigger" and "more" isn't always better. You may find that it's possible for one vehicle to do the job of many, and I'm sure Larry would agree. FEMA/USFA has a publication on Technical Rescue Team development, and I'd recommend getting a copy (it's free) and reading it. It brings up some good points and things to keep in mind when forming groups and designing rescue vehicles.
That's my humble opinoin at least.
FYI: We have purchased a 95' E-One Aerial Platform on a Cyclone II chassis... should be here very soon. Also, we will be receiving an E-One/Saulsbury Rescue-Pumper, also on a Cyclone II chassis, sometime by early spring. I'll be sure to post the good, the bad and the ugly as far as what we experience through this process.
LT ANTONIO RIDGE
YARMOUTH FIRE DEPT
DIVISION OF EMS
10-19-2000, 12:24 PM #3LHS*Firehouse.com Guest
Will you pay cash for the rig or rigs, if so what is available for the rig or rigs???
10-19-2000, 01:42 PM #4Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
Without knowing about your budget, mutual aid availability, and other key factors, it's a little hard to say for sure, but I lean toward the rescue/pumper concept for the following reasons:
1. Versatility...Some incidents aren't as reported. When you roll with both rescue and engine functionalities (especially if there's a foam system on that rescue/pumper), you have the baseline capability to deal with the vast majority of conditions you may find on common rescue calls. Ever roll up on a crash with entrapment on a pure rescue truck, only to find out that you've also got fire that you can't control with the extinguishers on board? You don't want to.
2. Staffing Requirements...I borrowed this from one of our mutual aid companies...they went to a rescue/pumper a few years back on the theory that it only takes one driver with a crew to get that rescue/pumper out and do the job. When they ran a stand-alone rescue, they needed a driver and crew for the rescue and another driver and (at least) some sort of crew for an engine. Sometimes this was a problem. Since getting the combination rig, things have worked well for them.
3. Cost...all else equal, you can probably put a rescue/pumper in your station cheaper than you can put a pumper and a rescue in your station. On an ongoing basis, then, you also have only one rig to maintain, repair, etc., rather than two.
There are, of course, some drawbacks:
1. Breadth of rescue capability...you can probably outfit a rescue/pumper to handle most rescue calls you are likely to see. If, however, you need to cover all the aspects of technical rescue, along with vehicle and basic fire rescue, you may find that you come up short with the combination rig. All apparent evidence to the contrary, there's a limit to how big they can build fire apparatus.
2. You'd be tying up an engine at rescue calls, whether you need it or not...if you already have plenty of engines, as you say you do, then that's not a big issue.
3. You'd be tying up a rescue at fire calls, whether you need it or not...this could be a bigger problem. You can help to mitigate it by making sure that your rescue/pumper isn't your primary attack piece, and/or by securing mutual aid coverage to fill gaps.
Just some offerings for you to consider. Hope this helps.
10-25-2000, 05:41 PM #5cozmosisFirehouse.com Guest
We don't run a full-sized rescue/pumper rig, but we do use a mini-pumper for our rescue and wildfire operations. The truck carries 300 gallons of water, our extrication tools and has pump-and-roll capabilities. To me, it just doesn't make sense to tie up two rigs for a rescue call when one truck will do the job.
Also, for vollie departments who fill their trucks with people before rolling out the door, I would think it would be best to have as many resources as possible available on the first rig out.
11-02-2000, 08:42 PM #6ffengFirehouse.com Guest
Some good responses so far to your question. Here's another opinion. From what I read in your post regarding what you want to do with the rescue, I don't think you could actually get a true pumper/rescue with the rescue capabilities you are looking for. Well, I take that back, I guess you could, but the truck would get pretty big and likely quite expensive. I don't think that truck would be a typical pumper/rescue that's out there.
It seems as though if you are looking to have as much rescue/hazmat/cascade/command type capability as you described and you've got enough other pumpers, why not just go the more straight rescue route? Why give up rescue capabilities to also have a class A pumper when you really don't need the additional pumper.
As has been mentioned in other replies, I think there might be some justification to put some level of suppression capabilities on board. If you have a manpower issue or you think this rig could end up on its own at an MVA, suppression capabilities might be warranted. I would look at a pto pump, small booster tank and couple handlines. You don't need to get into 1000' supply lines, etc. You might also want to look at foam capabilities and also maybe a big dry chem (500 lb) unit. They don't take up much space, get a reel and a lot of flammable liquid knockdown - remember you can't extinguish 3d flammable liquids fire with foam, dry chem no problem.
If you do go the pumper/rescue route, one comment from experience. The department I started with ran a pumper/rescue. It had the only set of jaws, etc. We were a fairly large combo dept covered a city,surrounding town, 60,000 people with 6 engines/2 ladders - 3,500-4,000 calls/year. The pumper rescue was one of the engines and had first, second alarm assignments like any other engine. We got in trouble every once in a while. This engine would end up first due on a working fire and end up as attack engine. We've got 5" supply to this truck, 2 or 3 handlines off and a MVA comes in. We had to scramble. And you can't always ensure this truck isn't first due. Department couldn't live with this, solution was to set up two other strategically located engines with jaws, etc. Ended up with 3 engines with rescue equipment, 3 without. Pretty unlikely to ever get caught using this option.
You really have to look at your calls and fire/rescue demands. If you run less calls overall or have multiple trucks with extrication equipment, maybe you can get away with a single pumper/rescue and run it on both types of calls and not get caught.
Or here's another option to look at - buy a more traditional rescue/pumper or put one or two sets of auto extrication equipment on a pumper or two and then get a commercial chassis/medium duty straight rescue truck for your tech rescue, hazmat, cascade, command center, etc. Commercial chassis medium duty can be had for reasonable funds and set up one or two pumpers for MVAs.
Walk through the decision making taking into account must have, nice to haves, etc. and then plug the truck you come up with into your fire/rescue demand experience and see how you come out. If you get caught, adjust the must haves/nice to have and try again with another option.
11-03-2000, 03:18 PM #7640SATFDFirehouse.com Guest
You've got THE QUESTION! I've asked myself a hundred times how my department can make this similar situation better. I still haven't come up with the perfect answer. Today we are very similar to you we run Hurst and cover 6 communities all on a 1996 Chevrolet K3500 4X4 with 12 foot walk-around body. We've been running like this since 1979 with more and more and more equipment and calls. The problem is in our town it makes me sick to see that 1250 GPM Engine chasing our "Heavy Rescue" to these calls. On top of this we're running out of room. I would love to see our department run 1 truck to our 150 Rescue calls a year but for us the truth is with 2 Engines already we can't justify a 3rd (Rescue/Pumper). But we do need to get a Larger Cab a Chasis (Internation/Freightliner) under our guys. The major reason is if these hit something I'd like to see something in front of them that will take it. I'd say if you can swing that idle Engine and FIT ALL your Rescue Equipment on it then go for it. Although the truth is you can't fit what you need on an Engine. It just can't be done. Maybe you can pop a door or take a roof but when it comes to blocking, jacking, lifting, and stabilizing you can do it out of an Engine!!!
So now with all this confusion what do you do. Well I think the only question you can ask that tells you what to do is this: What kind of Rescue Company are you going to be? All or some! We are All. We've got no one coming to bail us out. We have to do it all and with that we need a big truck with alot of room. We'll just have to keep the Engine coming (very carefully. Very!)
So for you ask your guys what there going to do. If your going to go light duty and have help coming for the big stuff then get all your can for the department and buy the Rescue/Pumper (stock). Don't spend a bunch of extra money on a truck that isn't anything special; save it for the next time around when you need that Super Heavy Duty HEAVY RESCUE in 2010. Then that Rescue Engine will do it all for you. It can handle 1st Due and it can run your MVAs. Better yet it can be First Due FROM an MVA.
Good Luck & Buy a Nice Truck!!!
11-04-2000, 09:58 PM #8pwc606Firehouse.com Guest
RESCUE/PUMPER OR MEDIUM DUTY SQUAD AND CLASS A PUMPER? MONEY IS A FACTOR, BUT SHOULD NOT HOLD YOU BACK FROM PROVIDING A GOOD SERVICE TO YOUR COMMUNITY. LOOK AT THE MANY OPTIONS THAT ARE AVAILABLE FROM MANUFACTURERS AND WHAT WOULD BE COST EFFECTIVE TO YOUR DEPARTMENT. CONSIDER HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR A MDR OR HDR TO GET TO THE SCENE OF AN INCIDENT FROM THE NEAREST MUTUAL AID STATION. WHAT WILL BE YOUR FUNCTION IN 10 TO 15 YEARS AND WHAT WILL BE THE TYPE OF INCIDENTS YOU WILL BE RESPONDING TO.
A RESCUE ENGINE WILL LIMIT YOUR ABILITY IN SPACE ON THE PIECE FOR RESCUE BUT WILL PROVIDE A GOOD FIRST LINE PUMPER. A MDR WILL LIMIT YOUR ABILITY TO MOVE ONTO THE ADVANCED LEVELS OF RESCUE WORK FOR SPACE AND WEIGHT. IF YOU LOOK AT THE POSSIBILITY OF COMBINING A HDR WITH A PUMPER YOU WILL BE WELL SERVED. I HAVE NOT SEEN TOO MANY MVC'S THAT HAVE FIRE INVOLVED BUT WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE PREPARED. CONSIDER HOW MUCH WATER YOU WILL USE ON AN EXTRICATION. A CAFS IS LOOKING PRETTY GOOD TO ALOT OF DEPARTMENTS THESE DAYS AND YOU HAVE A QUICK KNOCKDOWN IF YOU NEED IT. E-ONE BUILT A HDR WITH A 250-280 GALLON WATER TANK ON IT AND THE ULTIMATE SYSTEM FOR MARSHALL RESCUE SQUAD IN VIRGINIA AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE REALLY NICE. IF NEEDED THIS CAN ALWAYS BE UPGRADED TO A LARGER TANK AND GPM FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT. IT WOULD ONLY MEAN CUTTING OUT SOME OF THE COMPARTMENT SPACE.
YOU HAVE ALOT OF GOOD IDEAS HERE TO LOOK AT FROM THE FORUM I HOPE THEY HELP.
11-11-2000, 03:53 AM #9martinjFirehouse.com Guest
First, I would like to thank evryone for their imput. It has been really helpful. Our dept has not yet established a truck committee to review our next purchase. I was only looking for some insight so that I may determine where to begin my search. All of your insights have greatly helped me determine what we should be looking for.
As of right now, I believe that we may either purchase a single dedicated rescue or possibly (if the budget allows) a separate rescue and an engine to replace an older one. I hope that we can make the second option work, considering it would really satisfy most all of our needs this way. Now, if permissable, I would like to ask for your help again. Does anyone have a good layout for their rescue truck, in terms of accessability and functionality? Any photos, links or manufacturers would be appreciated as well. All of the information that you have provided, along with the research I am conducting will greatly aid my dept's purchase of the proper equipment to meet our needs and specifications.
Again, thank you all and stay safe.
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