Thread: Quints Good or Bad?
02-17-2001, 12:31 AM #1Engine 101Firehouse.com Guest
Quints Good or Bad?
The concept of a Quint, A good idea or bad idea?
I will fight fire for Electricity
02-17-2001, 12:44 AM #2firecadet613Firehouse.com Guest
If used effectivly and proper SOP's/SOG's are in place, they are great.
If no SOP's/SOG's in regards to its use are not in place, it will be used inefffectivly.
02-17-2001, 01:22 AM #3S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
Good as long as they are not being used as an excuss to cut staffing.
02-19-2001, 02:00 AM #4ArmyTruckCompanyFirehouse.com Guest
There are too many outfits out there that need to get better at engine/truck operations as seperate entities BEFORE they start combining the two!!!
A pump on a ladder truck?? Waste of perfectly good compartment space if you ask me!!
"Loyalty above all else, except honor."
02-19-2001, 02:10 AM #5LHS*Firehouse.com Guest
When properly staffed, you can get a lot done with one rig. I don't believe we lose anything not running seperate companies.
02-24-2001, 12:36 AM #6FEOBobFirehouse.com Guest
A tool is only as good as it is used. My department has four quints. One a 100' stick used as a dedicated ladder company, and three 75 footers that are used as a combo engine and ladder company (we call them Pumper-Ladders, the Q word was considered too inflamatory).
These are useful apparatus, and the fault I have with them is not in their design. I in fact like the idea of pumps on ladders, it goes right along with pre-piped master streams. I do not think they are necessary. Our 85' tower is prepiped and has no pump, and is easily considered the best stick in town to work off of. And we do have the maze appartments that you can only get the one rig into, and have had to have an elevated stream to knock fires down in them.
What I don't like is running such big rigs around on ems, mva's, and the smaller fires like dumpsters and autos. I know we could run dedicated squad type rigs for most of this, but our region has been rather resistant to the idea of crews jumping back and forth between rigs.
Many of the officers on these rigs operate them as an engine company that happens to have a stick on top of it, and try to avoid any truck co operations that don't involve putting up the stick to spray lot's of water. Having this available has been useful on several occasions, especially when an initial attack has to pull back and go defensive.
Having worked on the P/L's, I also don't like not knowing whether I'm riding in an engine or a ladder when I get to a fire. It helps get into a good mind set if I can think of the potential tasks ahead, and if I can limit it a little more, all the better.
But the worst thing about them is that it has somewhat watered down our truck company operations. Even our dedicated ladder co's have been stealing hose lines. Yes, this is a training problem, and not entirely to blame on the rigs. But it has been a lot worse since we've had these rigs.
I do agree with LHS* that a well trained, and large enough crew can do all (or most anyway) tasks from the one rig. I've read some of his other posts, and seen his department's engine/ladder/tenders. Neat rigs. And if his dept can juggle the training challenges, more power to them.
But, it does take strong SOP's, minimum crew staffing (ours is four, which barely makes it) and LOTS of training to make the quint concept work best.
By the way S. Cook, we did go to ours as a preliminary step to cut personel.
And the other thing to watch for is the GVW. Washington State has very restrictive Laws regarding weights, and no exemptions for fire apparatus. We have wanted to replace our 85' tower (now 23 years old), but have not been able to as our department wants to get a 100 foot platform, but with a pump and tank. We tried several years ago, and have been looking into it again recently, to no avail. Nobody makes one within the weight restrictions.
[This message has been edited by FEOBob (edited 02-24-2001).]
02-25-2001, 08:32 AM #7S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
"By the way S. Cook, we did go to ours as a preliminary step to cut personel."
Was that a good move or a bad one for you guys?
02-25-2001, 11:53 AM #8LHS*Firehouse.com Guest
I think it is the chiefs job to provide the tools to the crews to do the job, not remove tools from the troops. When you take the pump off the ladder or tower have you limited the effectiveness of the vehicle? If you arrive first do you have to wait to take action? Can you produce better aerial streams with a pump on board or using a seperate engine? Will it take more or less people and time? Is there any change a ladder will arrive before an engine? If it were your home would you like the tools to take action or would sitting on your hands be ok??
02-25-2001, 08:35 PM #9FEOBobFirehouse.com Guest
Was it worth it? Losing positions is never worth it.
We took two of our houses that had a ladder and an engine, three people each, and replaced them with a quint (crew of four) and a ALS squad (two person). Our squads, or medics as we now call them, do respond to fires, so this did not initially reduce our daily on duty strength. Doing this increased our number of squads to five.
Today we now have three medic units, so we have four less people a day, and now are back to the potentially long responses for ALS service, even with making one of our engines and two P/L's ALS. Definately not worth it.
If I had my druthers, yes I would want pumps on our ladders. Of course I would not want a big red truck to pull up in front of my burning house and not be able to put the wet stuff on the red stuff. Yes this has happened in my city on very rare occasions.
But, I have not seen any worse performance of aerial master streams because of having to flow through two apparatus rather than one. In my mid-sized (though shrinking) paid department, we have more apparatus parked around than needed most of the time at fires anyway, just to get the needed manpower.
Pump or no, the platform does the best job of the rigs we have. Yes, it does take a little less time to set up if you have a pump aboard, but not that much. I know a Fire District Bat. Chief around here who retired from Santa Clara CA and when they (SC) replaced their ladder, they didn't even get one with a pre-piped water way, just to have more compartment space and weight capacity available. He said that in tests, they only lost three to four minutes by having to run all the hose around. Would I take that step? Almost certainly not! But it was an interesting idea.
So I guess my point is, even going back to my previous post, is that there is nothing wrong per se with quints. I do think that my department could use them better, but that is a training problem, not an equipment problem. Three of our quints are excellent pieces of equipment. The fourth is a shop queen.
I do think they have some problems trying to be a regular engine company; this far more often than having the stick on top of the rig helps out.
I'd rather have a new 100' platform without a pump/water, than have to get a standard 100' ladder with one. Maybe not for all our ladder companies, but surely one of our three.
PS: sorry for the extended length.
[This message has been edited by FEOBob (edited 02-25-2001).]
02-26-2001, 11:16 AM #10LHS*Firehouse.com Guest
//I have not seen any worse performance of aerial master streams because of having to flow through two apparatus rather than one.
How is that possible with the losses through the hose and 200 psi EP's? You can do it a quickly as one guy on a quint? All those connections?
//I know a Fire District Bat. Chief around here who retired from Santa Clara CA and when they (SC) replaced their ladder, they didn't even get one with a pre-piped water way, just to have more compartment space and weight capacity available.
He should have chose another make of aerial that offers a tip loading of 1500 lbs unrestricted.
//He said that in tests, they only lost three to four minutes by having to run all the hose around.
SO he is running a 4 or 5 inch line up the aerial? NOPE, so he has greatly reduced the flow ability of the ladder. The ladderpipe has a sweep of just 30 degrees versus 210 of the original. Yeah he didn't lose much.
02-27-2001, 03:25 PM #11RJEFirehouse.com Guest
Here's one way it can work.
Old way - three station dept, all vol., in a small suburb, about 1/2 rural, and some "luxury" neighborhoods w/long drives, huge homes.
Downtown station 1 - 1 engine, 1 lt. rescue squad.
Rural station 2 (typically small response) - 1 engine, 1 brush truck.
Mid-town station 3 (also biggest crews/response area and includes all the "luxury" area) - 1 pumper, 1 tanker, 1 quint, 1 med rescue, 1 brush truck.
Rural station and mid-town stations also have a "reserve" engine that's available.
Downtown structure - E1, E3, Q3, R1, R3. Q3 does "truck work", R3 is RIT. Good hydrants throughout, so E1 forward lays LDH, and E3 is (typically) manpower only.
Midtown structure - E3, Q3, R3, E1, R1. Less reliable water supplies, so either E3 forward lays w/3", and E1 supplies, or (preferred) E1 reverse or forward lays LHD. Again Q3 does "truck work" and rescues are RIT.
"Luxury" structure - here we're almost always dealing with rural water supply - Q3, E3 (notice the change) E1, T3, R1, E2. Here, the quint does primary attack, since it can do elevated streams and has 1500 gal. on board. E3 lays in, establishes water supply, etc. E1 and tanker will probably end up "shuttling", as well as E2 when (if) it gets there. Sometimes E2 doesn't roll in the daytime due to manning.
Rural structure, everyone goes (sta. 2, sta. 3, sta. 1, in that order), and quint is a truck again.
All med calls (except confirmed extrications, roll closest engine and a rescue. For extracations, add the quint (only) for extra tools. Station 3's district has an interstate running through it, so it's OIC's discretion to take the quint and rescue and leave the engine. This is usually only done on MVAs actually ON the hiway.
Note that most of the time, the quint is doing "truck work". But on those large house (mansions) it's nice to be able to get "up" quickly, and carry your own water. E3 can roll in right behind w/1000 more gal. And usually the tanker (3000 gal + drop tanks) can dump and go, leaving E3 feeding Q3, 5500 gal already here, and E1 not even on scene yet. I've seen times where E3 layed from the main road up the subdivision, then Q3 layed up the drive. That time we "relayed" from the main road (E1 to E3 to Q3), w/E1 drafting from the porta-tanks and E2, T3 and reserves running shuttle water.
Now, were there times when it didn't work? You betcha'. The "olde towne" area had very narrow streets. Q3 could come "down the hill" on whatever street it needed and usually do all right. Or it could come down the main street and turn onto any cross street. But the wheelbase/turning radius made it a little tight if you had to make a turn back in the neighborhood. It could make the turns, but had to hang the cab/tail over the curb. Sometimes mailboxes or telephone poles could mess you up. Depended on who was driving.
Station 3 did extensive "truck" training, and the drivers practiced getting down different streets in the old part of town. But being all vol., everyone was expected to know truck or engine work. Your job depended on what apparatus you got on (but you were supposed to only ride where you were qualled).
03-02-2001, 01:14 PM #12FEOBobFirehouse.com Guest
I am on a paid department. Yes, the six (minimum) people who show up on the two apparatus would most likely be able to make "all" the connections, including 5" to hydrant and 5" from engine to ladder, faster than one guy on a quint can make his hydrant connection. The only increase in pressure would be for the FL in the additional 100 or 200 feet of 5" between rigs.
It would of course take longer for our remaining older ladder without a pre plumbed waterway to get set up. This is why my department will never buy another aerial without a pre-piped stick.
This is in no way meant as derogatory to the guy on the quint, or your department. As I've said, I've read some of your other posts on other topics, and seen some pictures of your apparatus. Your department has done a commendable job of adapting to the challenges presented to you, both in general firefighting and local considerations.
As for the Santa Clara Ladder Truck, I already said I probably would not have taken that step. However, it was a compelling argument of having the compartment space to run their extrication on their ladders rather than light rescues so as to increase their on duty strength. There were more issues at stake than the pump/waterway. I don't know enough details about the apparatus they purchased to comment on the tip load remark.
A well trained ladder crew does not take that long to run 3" to the tip. You are correct that a larger pre-piped water way can flow more water. This also does not take into account that these ladder pipe operations are at times better at some incidents due to the two streams you can get from the stick at different heights if you use a bed section pipe as well as a tip pipe.
Again, do I wish our 100' aerial with pump/water/pre-piped stream NOT have pump/water/pre-piped stream? Not really.
Does having pumps/Pre-piped streams speed up the deployment of defensive streams? Of course it does, generally using less manpower.
Do I think a pump is absolutely necessary for a truck company. No, not if you can depend on having appropriate support for said company. Yes it would be preferable, but there are often other considerations (say, having a tower rather than a stick).
Which none of the above really remarks on the original question: Quints good? Quints Bad?
The good/bad issue is solely a local perception related largely to how a certain jurisdiction used that piece of apparatus. I think that MY DEPARTMENT had better ladder company operations before we had quints. Would I get rid of them? No. I think we have a training and SOP problem, not an equipment problem. I would rather use our 75 footers as dedicated ladder company's only and park engines next to them, but that is extremely unlikely in our local fiscal environment.
I also think that many departments with limited manning/resources would do very nicely with a quint, given the proper training.
And again, I apologize for running long.
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