1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Numbering tops of trucks for areial observation.

    We recently had some confusion on a wildfire scene. The observer in the airplane would try to direct a vehicle to a specific area, only it was hard for him to tell the identification of the vehicle. There were too many trucks of the same color. We are considering adding numbers to the tops of our truck cabs or hosebed tarps. The number on a tarp could be larger than on the cab and easier to see from the air. Please advise on your experience and ideas on this topic. Sorry, I can spell AERIAL, but type poorly.

    [This message has been edited by DD (edited December 24, 1999).]

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    We, too, did this. The majority of the time we use it for helicopter landing zones. We have red letters/numbers Scotch-Lite on the white cab background. They are approximately 24" in size. The hose bed cover should work just as well and could be bigger as you have said.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    All of our "Stump Jumpers" and smaller brush vehicles are numbers on the cab roof for aerial observation.All other vehicles (eng/trk) are also numberd on the cab roof.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just have to add that it only makes sense to identify your vehicles to aircraft. Here in NJ we operate several helicopters and fixed wing a/c, and identifying ground units is impossible, even at close range, without some form of ID. Even if you don't operate a/c, chances are some agency with them will become involved if the incident is complex enough. It will probably be staffed with someone unfamiliar with your local situation and units, making ID all the more important.
    Attempting to direct a ground unit, while normally highly effective from the air, becomes fruitless if you can't tell one from another. Worst case: you recieve a call a unit is in trouble. How do you find it and direct help into it?
    Have a very happy holiday, and a safe and prosperous new year.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    That's a great idea just gives you one more tool. Was a forward air controller in the military and am interested to here how you guys bring them into a target. We used a means to get their attention, smokes, lights, nightvision lights, glint tape etc. The best thing I have used is to give them your coordinates and run them in from a predesignated point at a specific degree on their compass. They can either drop when you tell them they are cleared or if you want it in a specific area and the pilot can't see use a calculation fromula. Just find out the distance from the predesignated point to the target and divide the miles by speed. If he has a stop watch he starts it on his run in.

    I am interested in hearing what you guys do, the numbers are an excellent tool though.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Radio the coordinates obtained from a hand held GPS unit to the plane or chopper. It is very effective for Medivac. The cheap models in the $150 range are accurate enough for our needs.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    After reading this post I am going to present the idea to have our truck numbers put on the hoods of our brush trucks. I think this is a great idea. We have had some close calls this past season, and if an aerial unit were to be called in, they would just see white trucks with red lights on them.

    Stay safe and always watch your back out there!


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