1. #1
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    Default Rear mount camera's for backing

    Our department is in the market for a couple of camera's to mount on the back of the apparatus with a small screen in the cab to help when backing the trucks. I don't know anything about them other than the fact that the UPS trucks around here have them. Does anyone have any info, good or bad on these types of camera's and any info on dealers? Thanks for the help.
    J. Adam Berry
    Deputy Chief
    Griffith Fire Department

  2. #2
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    My volunteer department has an Intec rear view camera on our 1994 Rescue Engine. We have not had any problems with the unit and highly recommend them. We operate with ours on all the time so the driver can use it like a rearview mirror while driving. It comes in handy while laying line cause the driver can keep an eye on the lay and make sure that he didn't run out of hose. It is also an invaluable tool for backing up. When used in conjuction with a backup person, it virtually eliminates backing accidents.
    Morgan Boyd

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    While I have nothing bad to say about the reliability of the units themselves, their application is limited. While most will give you a view of the lower zone behind you, they will not give you the entire picture, including overhead clearances. There is no substitute for the officer getting his/her butt out of the cab and backing the truck. In the presence of someone outside backing the truck, there's no need to spend the money on cameras. Problem solved.

    As far as using them while driving, my question would be "why?" While going forward, I need my mirrors to check side clearances but I have no real need to see directly behind me. I know of nobody who uses them this way.

    In short, I believe they are a waste of money. My company just ordered a new quad, on which we rejected the camera option as an unwarranted expense, even though we could have budgeted for it. From our point of view, this is clearly a silly, but expensive, doo-dad that has limited usefulness.

    Just my $0.02. Take it for what you think it's worth.

  4. #4
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    As far as using them while driving, my question would be "why?" While going forward,

    Our oldest (1987) is used on our engine so the driver can watch the hose spooling off the reel and power off more hose when needed (i.e. around corners). But that's a fairly specialized application.

    It is an Intec unit, and has been very reliable (I'm thinking maybe one problem in 14 years?)

    We have one other mounted our 2001 Ladder, but like Bob alluded to, at most calls someone will be backing the truck up.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  5. #5
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    We should all agree that use of mirrors, combined with someone spotting/backing should prevent any type of collision or injury.

    Now what's reality? Reality is that firefighters and apparatus are damaged and injured, probably on a daily basis, from backing incidents.

    We can all talk til we're blue in the face about what we should be doing in these instances. We need to realize the potential will still exist for those times when, in the heat of the moment, the driver is on his/her own. Why not give the driver an extra tool to reduce the likelihood of a collision?

    The price of a camera is less than that of a workers compensation claim, less than the cost to repair vehicular damage, and less than what would be awarded in a civil suit.

    Have a backing policy that mandates emergency lights in operation, the use of mirrors, and a spotter/backer.

    And then buy a camera because to err is human.
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-24-2011 at 06:17 AM.
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  6. #6
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    We have one on the back of our ambulance. I do not know the brand but we like it. You need someone to spot if you are worried about hieght, but it is nice to be able to see the area the mirrors do not see directly behind you. This is more important on the ambulance but I figure it would be neat on the pumper to. anyway good luck on your quest.

    D308

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    I feel cameras are beneficial at times. But nothing can compare to having an individual at the rear of the truck on the drivers side acting as a spotter.

  8. #8
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    We currently use the Clarion camera system. We have 2 camera's mounted on all 3 pumpers and our ladder. We have one camera mounted on the rear of the apparatus and a second mounted on the officer's side of the apparatus on the bumper to give us a view down the side while making right hand turns. Since we installed these units on the trucks we have not had an incident backing them up.
    I will have to agree with Mr. Snyder that the camera's do not allow you to see the overhead clearance's, however, if your operator does not feel comfortable backing into an area that the clearance is questionable then he/she should ask someone to back him/her into that area. I personally feel that it is an added safety feature for the operator and the crew on the apparatus. It keeps personnel from having to climb in and out of the apparatus and keeps them out of traffic.

  9. #9
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    We currently have camera's installed on 5 pumpers, 1 ladder tower and 1 heavy rescue and soon will have 1 on each of our brand new wild land trucks. We also use the clarion system and bought them from Safety Vision (www.safetyvision.com) out of Houston, Texas. We still have a man on the ground to assist in backing. Since these were implemented we have not had 1 backing accident. We were in a parade one day and we had numerous kids rollerblading in the area, one of the kids got a smart idea and decided to hang onto the back of the truck. Since I could see them in the camera we were able to stop the truck and have the kids removed. Because of the cameras we possibly prevented a serious accident.

    Be Safe
    David

  10. #10
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    We have a Clarion camera system on our heavy rescue and it works fine. Nothing can replace mirrors or a 'spotter', but we like the extra visibility that the system offers.
    Our vehicle is 35' long so every advantage helps.

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    bump

  12. #12
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    we pull a trailer behind our rescue engine, and the purpose of our rear view camera is more to keep an eye on the trailer/6x6 Ranger than for backup purposes.

  13. #13
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    BTW - since my 2001 post on this topic, I've switched fire companies and have been operating a tanker equipped with a camera for almost 3 years now. Overall, I'll stand by my original assessment, "There is no substitute for the officer getting his/her butt out of the cab and backing the truck. In the presence of someone outside backing the truck, there's no need to spend the money on cameras." Even with the camera, we still use spotters, and I still find the spotters infinitely more useful than the camera.

    At the same time, I'll softened my position a bit, and go so far as to say that cameras are nice to have, but limited in their usefulness, at best. If you really get into situations where you can't have a spotter, you should probably get one. But cameras are a mediocre substitute, at best, for spotters as a defense against a backing accident.

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