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  1. #1
    oz10engine
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post DEFENSIVE FIRE APPARATUS, WHAT'S WITH IT ?

    What's up with all the new, defensive mode fire apparatus out there ? I keep seeing engines that have 2 and 3 2-1/2's, dual beds of 5", and 2 remote control deck guns/monitor nozzles. Some companies have a quint w/prepiped waterway and a squirt or telesquirt. I know, you're waiting for that BIG ONE. The days of the big fires are not as frequent as in the past. If your company is in a old mill-type town with limited manpower, I can maybe see the reason. But the defensive fire apparatus I see out there is in nice-town suburbia USA. I think part of the reasoning is, lets build this "it can handle a block long wharehouse by itself" BATTLEWAGON. The other part of it is, NOBODY AROUND HERE HAS AN ENGINE THAT HAS 3 PRECONNECTED 2-1/2'S AND DUAL THIS OR THAT. Don't get me wrong, I think you should preplan and be ready to face a fire regardless of the size. But your not gonna face the big one by yourself. The self-sufficient days are pretty much over.
    When I see one of these defensive mode fire engines that is in nice-suburbia USA I think, they must be one of those NON-AGGRESSIVE, NO INTERIOR FIREFIGHTING COMPANIES. That's the message that they're sending out.


  2. #2
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Over 9000 structures have burned in just 5 years out west just in just the month of October. All of them in conflagrations. Wednesday night 15 more over a 3 block area.

    How would you setup your rigs if you've seen 50 to 100 homes burn 5 or 6 months a year? If you found yourself hundreds of miles from home every summer? Let's take the cost of the apparatus and add a dual bed of hose and a couple deck guns, gee adds 6%. Wow, $3000 a year for the life of the rig. So what? All these cover shots and fire shots in magazines seems to indicate someone is having big fires. Why would St Louis kep buying what they buy, or Syracuse, or or or? Because that is what it takes.

    As far as interior and exterior attack, it is pretty much decided before you arrive, isn't it? I live in the most sprinkled state in the nation, but we still get blocks of framed structures at a time every few months. Lots of wildland interface. Folks like Brunnacini is now employing less agressive interior attack policies to save firefighter lives.

    NFPA is quite clear for the last 20 years that big fires make up 5% of all fires and 95% of the dollar loss. I want all the capability I can have on wheels, not on the next rig that is committed a block away or is 170 miles behind me.

    If the truck will support 3 master streams and the water system will as well, isn't it our job to make sure it can do just that? Why setup for 1/3 of your apparatus, crew and pumps ability?

    //The self-sufficient days are pretty much over.

    I doubt the guys in Oakland Wednesday would agree with you, Toronto Thursday, or Los Alamos, Colorado, Montana, the larger the fire front the more alone you feel, sure other guys are there, you just don't see them as much. If a rig is setup right a crew of 3 or four can cover a 500 foot fire front 200 feet deep or more.

    No you won't use it everyday but the day you need it is is there on arrival not 20 minutes later.

  3. #3
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I think, they must be one of those NON-AGGRESSIVE, NO INTERIOR FIREFIGHTING COMPANIES. That's the message that they're sending out.

    Who gives a **** what "message" they're sending out.

    Watch them operate and find out if the department knows it stuff or not.

    Imagine, having the ability to cut-off a fire before you *have* to call in the whole county. What a freaking concept.


  4. #4
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    It's pretty easy Dalmation to comment on something youve never been a part of isn't it.

    There isnt a county in the us that can be self sufficient in the types of firestorms that have ocured in the last few years.

    Cases in point:
    1. Cerro Grande, NM- 238 homes burned to the ground, tens of thousands of acres, national monuments endangered. It would have taken 2-3,000 firefighters the first day to dig around it and we would have lost 50 perhaps 100 men putting them in front of that front.

    High Meadow- In less than 2 hours from ignition 5,000 homes are endangered, 58 burn to the ground in less than 6 hours after igntiion. Now you tell me how YOU would stop that. You cant.

    Wildland is indirect unless you happen to catch it in intial attack and just after ignition. When homes are endangered try committing an engine to every home and still engage the fire. Doesnt work.


    These arent your typical campfire out of control, burn an acre type fires that these trucks are built for or these tactics are designed for.

    When you have these credentials come talk to me about this topic:
    Type 1 Structure protection Specialist, Type 1 Structure Triage Specialist, Type 1 Information Officer, Type 2 Incident Safety Officer, Type 2 Operations Section Chief Trainee, Type 2 Division Supervisor

  5. #5
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Actually Nate, I don't even think of those "battlewagons" in terms of wildland fires...

    Just our area (upland New England hardwood forests), but the wildland fire you don't attack head first is the exception -- unless you encounter really unusual terrain and fuels for our area, #1 priority is cut off the head of the fire burning the duff...even if it's hundred acres, your first crew heads to find the front, while later arriving units take the much slower moving flanks. Not to say the duff fires are to be discounted -- we lost multiple mobile homes back in the 60s to a wind-driven duff & brush fire that occured in a remote part of our district. But once apparatus arrived, they cut off the head and mopped up the mess. Just not all wildland fires are like you imagine

    But what we do encounter is large building partially involved in heavy fire, and the ability to deliver a concentrated attack to cut off the spread is quite possible, even in a rural area. Even in a rural area -- I've been a chicken coop fires with 200' of 600' involved on arrival, and 300' of that coop is still in operation today. 2 aerial streams & a 350gpm bomb line under the eaves stopped it (p.s. all water from draft), from fairly conventional equipment. Making a similiar attack from a truck setup to do it just makes it easier.

  6. #6
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    You do have one advantage over me, unless its in my own fire district Im playing catchup. Usually we arent operational until the third burn period so my guys dont have the luxury of getting in front of it. I also dont have the same guys working for me everytime, its usually a mixture of local vfd's and forest service/blm/land management.

    I favor wildland interface attack engines such as what masterbody www.masterbody.com builds for cfs. They can put a fully rated class a pump on a smaller chassis that is more agile (30 degree slopes) and can carry 400-750 gallons plus cafs.

    I saw firsthand that the Rattlesnake trucks for example dont do any good when they are two big to get into certain areas. We didnt use them at High Meadow they sat in staging for 2 days and there people ****ed off command. Its a great truck for their area but we dont need an ince cream machine in the field. Needed smaller structural engines and type 6s and handcrews.

  7. #7
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Personally I wouldnt attack any fire in a direct attack unless I was 100% sure the fire wasnt going to explode, or there was no wind.

    Its one of those personal choices you have to make and live with the consequences. I would never allow anyone to get in front of a fire that is 200' or even a 100' in length unless it was small flamelengths 1-3 inches maybe 6 max. and it wasnt going anywhere.

    Ive seen too many fires blowup like cerro grande and high meadow firsthand.

  8. #8
    oz10engine
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I'm sorry guys. I was not referring to rural/wildland. I was referring to those suburban bedroom type communities that have a few of this and a little of that.
    On the wildland stuff. (I'm not familiar) I would think to supply that battlewagon with all those lines would require alot of water. I am not familiar with the water supply system out west. Do they have hydrants in the middle of Montana,Colorado, or other wildland areas, that will supply all those large lines at once ?

    If you say Brunichinni is becoming less aggressive on interior attack, does that make it right ? If he jumped off a bridge, would you jump to? I want to know what YOUR thoughts are, not his.

    Credentials don't make a fireman

  9. #9
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The botom line is:
    "is it okay to get killed to save contents" NO

    Should you risk your people saving property if there is no occupants in the structure?
    NO, but this is your call with your own people in your jurisdiction.


  10. #10
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    //. Do they have hydrants in the middle of Montana,Colorado, or other wildland areas, that will supply all those large lines at once ?

    We never used the excuse of having or not having hydrants as an excuse to wether or not we attack a fire at the needed flow rate. We can shuttle thousands of gallons per minute if needs, lay 3 miles of LDH and shuttle or use a hydrant. Can we supply all five master streams 2 miles from a water supply? All day, any day!

    //I saw firsthand that the Rattlesnake trucks for example dont do any good when they are two big to get into certain areas. We didnt use them at High Meadow they sat in staging for 2 days and there people ****ed off command. Its a great truck for their area but we dont need an ince cream machine in the field. Needed smaller structural engines and type 6s and handcrews.

    In all fairness to Rattlesnake, they live in a rolling hill area not a alpine environment they were asked to respond to 90 minutes away from home. They were designed for their area of wide open spaces but did good work on a few mutual aid fires.

    As far as an Ice Cream machine on board, one of the mutual aid fires there wasn't any food the first couple days, many ate their meals served from the cabs of the rattlesnake rigs.

    [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 05-07-2001).]

  11. #11
    Carpandean
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Ok, there is definitely a difference between fire fighting in the East and the West (over generalization, I know, but you'll get my meaning). Most of the departments here in upsatate New York (and there are more than you would think) have never, and probably never will see a true wild fire. 100% of our (my department's) fires in the past few years have been structural. Many of districts here are partially, if not fully hydranted. Some departments around here have bought "Battlewagons" like th ones oz10engine was referring to. They have tons of discharges, big deckguns (sometimes two), yet will never need that kind of punch. You see them at structural fires with one or two lines off and maybe a deck gun flowing if they go defensive. Sometimes this is because there are enough other rigs there and sometimes it's because they're doing as much as they can from their position. Why are they paying $400 - $600 thousand for this kind of punch when they'll never need it? To be bigger or badder than the other guy, I guess.

    When you're fighting wild fires and block fires you definitely need that kind of puch and your taxpayers deserve that level of service. But, an engine in a fully hydranted district doesn't need a 2,000 gallon tank and a company that has three engines an a ladder on their initial call doesn't need 57 back-up lines and 2,500 GPM pumps. Their taxpayers don't need to pay for that much truck when it'll never be used ... unless you're trying to drop your ISO rating ;-)

    The point is, size your apparatus appropriately to what you think you are or could see. If you need the punch, by all means get it, there are ways to get the money. However, if you don't, then spend your time and money designing a truck that is easier and safer to operate. Shorten the wheelbase, so it's easier to get around tight streets; drop hose beds to make lines easier to deploy; put body ladders and walkways for easier reloading of hose. Remember, bigger isn't always better, sometimes it's just bigger.

  12. #12
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    95% of the time a mini pumper will be plenty. Are you suggesting the taxpayers should settle for 50 to 90% of what we do the most?

    I can buy a 3500 gpm pedestal pump for the same price as a 1250 gpm midship. What should I buy?

    If a 150 foot preconnect is used 90% of the time, why carry any other lines?

    I guess it gets down to do you want to offer your crews all the tools they can use versus limit them from the get go.

  13. #13
    Carpandean
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    True, you can buy a 1250 GPM PUMP for the same price as a 3500 GPM PUMP. Now add the additional plumbing, valves, actuators, etc. for the 2-3 additional suction lines to get 3500 GPM into the pump; the additional plumbing, valves, actuators, gauges, etc. for the numerous additional discharges needed to flow 3500 GPM and the extra material and labor cost associated with building and plumbing a pump enclosure large enough to fit all of this new stuff.

    Of course you want to cover all of your bases and not limit your crews, but I can't think of a scenerario in the area where my crews will go that would require more than three lines and a deck gun operating off of a single truck. It's rare that there won't be at least one or two engines on the initial call and plenty of mutual aide is available (and believe me, they love to come to a fire). Many of our engines run over 100 calls a month, some over 200 and some higher than that. Departments can't afford to spend upwards of $400,000 for their everyday pumpers every ten years for stuff they will never need.

    Like I said, if your call types require big guns, buy them. I love see a big truck, with lots of punch, when it's needed. However, for the rest of us, save that money for a big a** rescue(s) with all the specialized equipment you need or use it to put things like a gas power unit and set of tools on each pumper that can be moved to the new rig in 10 years and add to the effectiveness of a basic pumper. Design your trucks to be effective, safe and easy to operate. If that means big, then buy big, but for some of that just means effective, safe and easy to operate.

  14. #14
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    If you're paying $400,000 for a pumper, well it ain't got anything to do with what's on it versus what the salesman was able to get you to spend.

    Heck, our new 105' aerial ladder "nicely equipped" is coming in under $450,000...out of quotes that ranged from the high 3s to low 6s. That includes a 1500gpm pump, 300 (?) gallon water tank, hydraulic-driven generator, Class A foam system, new set of ground ladders, and even some new hand tools (we usually keep tool and truck purchases seperate).

    Certainly moving to a 2000gpm or 3000gpm class pump will be somewhat more expensive, but there is many things to be done to balance it -- a rear mount pump requires less plumbing, weighs less, is easier to access for maintenance than a mid-ship. Putting discharge controls and gated wyes on the outside of the truck by the lines they control reduce complicated, hidden valving.

    I don't see any reason even for rural areas like ours to stop at 1500gpm pumps. 3000gpm class pumps can be driven by the size diesel engines that are common now; the hose can support it -- both with 5" or even 6" in the future. No, not every fire needs it...but I'd venture to guess if you need 1500gpm to stop the fire, 3000gpm isn't going to be overkill.

    What's the worse that'll happen? The fire goes out sooner, and you get tired picking up hose instead of fighting the fire?

  15. #15
    ALSfirefighter
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Oz,

    Can you give us a hint of what region your referring to? As far as your comment on pre-piped waterways on quints and preconnected 21/2's, what's the problem with this. Why would you not want a pre-piped waterway on an aerial device? It is much safer, and durable than the old, haul the hose and fly up it and attach it and then have cables all over to control it up and down. As far as preconnected 21/2's I don't see the problem with this either. While the "big one's" are a smaller percentage they do happen. And one thing that is apparant in the fire service today is many firefighters are becoming more reliant on small attack lines, (1 3/4") which are being pulled on fires that the volume of 2 1/2/3" is needed. There are some depts. I know of that will drag a 2 1/2 with smooth bore as a interior attack line. Everyone is different, and while you may get that impression of a non-aggressive dept., the public that they serve may not. Also, the apparatus you saw or speak of, are they all volunteer or career. There a lot of variables involved when speaking of others apparatus/equipment choices. We all know that. A community next to me has a call volume of only 200-300 calls a year, they are a mostly residential community, but with a large chemical storage/production plant stuck in it, as well as a research laboratory. Now they could use a truck like describe. And being I know many of them, trust me they'd go in some thick crap with the best of us. So with that I just wanted to throw my opinion into the mix.

    ---------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  16. #16
    Carpandean
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Check out the recent article on Sister Bay's Tanker/Pumper/Ladder Tender/Rescue. It has a 2500 GPM RME rear pump, a little over 2000 Gallons of water, a 25kW AMPS, Pneumax CAFS and two ladder racks. Price tag: pushing $600 thousand. Definitely a great truck for them, but well over $450,000.

    You'd be surprised to find that a lot of the quality (characteristic, not manufacturer) rescue/pumpers fall in the High $300 thousand to low $400 thousand's -- most of those still only having 1250 or 1500 GPM pumps.

    I'm definitely not saying short-change your crew, but you can flow a lot more than 1500 GPM out of most 1500 GPM NFPA rated pumps. In real world applications, you can supply more lines than you could put, much less use on most trucks. You can easily supply a 2000 GPM deckgun with a 1500 GPM or even a well plumbed 1250 gpm pump. While 2 deck guns are great for industrial firefighting, in structural firefighting 2000 GPM is as much what as you'll want coming from one location. I'd rather position the second engine in where I really want it, than try to cover two areas from one position.

    I love custom trucks designed to meet their intended use as well as they can, but I find a lot of people throw on as much as they can without thinking about how it will really be deployed. I've been told in a recent forum that you can put out a fire as effectively with a 70 GPM CAFS hand line as you can with a 150 GPM water line (I would contend that an 1" or 1 1/2" foam line (no CAFS) would be just as good in interior firefighting), so what do you need 50 lines (3500GPM/70GPM)for?

  17. #17
    CRISPY
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    LHS*,
    WHY ARE YOU SO CONDESCENDING? WE ARE ALL SUPPOSED TO BE BROTHERS.

  18. #18
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Actually he isnt be condensending. If you listen to Larry (LHS) and you do everything he says you will drop your iso bigtime as his advice has already done so in not one, not two but as many as 6 districts that I know of.

    Probably one of the most knowledgable people in the fire service on water supply, rural operations, apparatus design and ISO.

    If you beleive in truly protecting your community then you must believe in Larry.

  19. #19
    Carpandean
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    I must agree that LHS is one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. It's his job and his life. He drops ISO ratings full time and is editor for the magazines that you read in his spare time.

    Does that mean he can't be condiscending? No. Was he being? Maybe. I've often found that people who are used to knowing everything have the hardest to accepting differing opinions.

    Definitely, listen to everything he says, learn the reasons why and then make educated decisions for yourself. You'll find that you'll do something far more important than drop your ISO rating (a vague messure of your effectiveness and efficiency as a fire dept.), you'll learn something.

  20. #20
    CRISPY
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Nate and Carpandean,
    Your posts identify very positive things about LHS*. I do agree that an expert in any field is often arrogant but that is the most ineffective way to communicate. I do agree and find that he is extremely knowledgeable in the field, but as an expert, he should set the example. Many would seek more advice from LHS* specifically if he was a lot nicer.

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