1. #1
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default Top mount pump panels

    My dept has made the switch to top mount pump panels, our 2 new trucks have them. I was wondering what you guys feel are the pros and cons of of this setup.
    Personally I like it as it gets the pump operator out of harms way (we have alot of narrow streets)and affords a better view than you get standing next to the truck.
    There are pics on my website.

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    www.nh.ultranet.com/~davidjb


  2. #2
    TRUCK 110
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Dear DJB:

    My views on a Top Mount are few..both Pro and Con...

    The Pro:

    1. It does get you up out of harms Way in Traffic and Small Work Areas and gives you that 360 degree View

    2. Allows the Driver/Engineer to operate the Master Stream Device, thus allowing another FF operation to occur, when you have Short Manpower Situations..Driver operates Exposure Stream.

    Now the Cons:

    1. You are alone to run apparatus..so when you start a Fire Attack with Tank water, you need to remove yourself from the Pump Panel to take Care of the Supply Hose in the Side of the Rig when the Pressurized Source is charged..You now have Left the Pump Panel..unattended..I know that there are devices that can rectify this..MIV by Hale..I think it cost us @ $1500 to outfit..and it does work well...
    Also..Did your Department Consider a 2nd Mobile Radio on the Pump Panel..?? It is tough to have to Change Frequencies truthfully vs. the Side mount..We felt it was TOO Costly..We are now considering it..Safety Reasons..

    2. I am from NY..the Deck does get Slick in Wintertime..So now there is a Slip Hazard on Steps, as you dismount the Pump Area..I have Fallen from a Top Mount in this situation..Been a FF for 25 yrs...You Break that Ankle..you 're done..you are too far away from the Panel..and you may have Lost Radio Contact too..Consider that..Really..

    3. You as the Driver are in the Elements, both from the Fire and Winter..Did you consider On Board Air for the Pump Operator..No Joke...Some people have... The Pump Panel on the Side does offer some Shelter from the oops's we do in Apparatus Placement..But really Better yet..and there are 3 in my County..Completely enclosed Pump Panels..I am not really complaining, but rather would like to show some of the things that are considerations..

    In Closing..I work with what I have..and I do the Best I can..Thanks for the Post..


    http://www.Clayfire.com

    [This message has been edited by TRUCK 110 (edited May 27, 1999).]

  3. #3
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Very good points. As far as the radios, our 94 Frieghtliner has a Kenwood dual head unit, one head at the pump panel, The 99 Frieghtliner has 2 seperate radio systems each with their own antenna.
    I seem to prefere having the ability to see whats going on then to be protected from the weather but the icing of the walkway does cause problems at times, and unfortunatly you can just throw salt on it! The pump compartment heaters seem to do a fairly good job of keeping it thawed as long as you remember to turn them on.
    Thanks for the input 110.

    ------------------
    www.nh.ultranet.com/~davidjb


  4. #4
    ricky
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Where would you rather be during the Texas thunderstorm - at ground level or on top of the truck , the highest thing around , acting like a lightning rod. We don't have to worry about the ice thing here. Also look at the 3' a top mount adds to the truck. I would much rather have a managable overall length and use that 3' for compartment space. Plus that's the way we've always done it-LOL

  5. #5
    TRUCK 110
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    LOL Ricky:

    I sure don't like to get wet..We added @ 7' to our Engine..Extended 10 man cab..and a Top Mount..Now that's a Battleship..

    Thanks for the Antedote Post..LOL

    http://www.clayfire.com

    ------------------

  6. #6
    T.D / 1122
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    I have to agree with ricky. The more compartment space the more tools you can carry! Anybody remember the saying about tool usage on the fire ground.. "One fire, One fire truck?"(when feasible of course)Well that's kinda hard to do when all your compartment space is eaten up by top mount pump!

    Truck 110 also has a good veiw on the subject, however two of the cons that I have are the inability to keep in contact with the hose, and not having the freedom to quickly access a compartment or hose if need be. I do like the idea of being elevated to where you can see what's going on around you with the exception of dodging the lightning bolts!!lol

    Again another one of those forever debatable issues!

  7. #7
    E7engineer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    I prefer a side mount. I live in central florida, and we do have a lot of lightining.
    I like to stay in contact with the steamer, checking pump temp. and a lot of times, while on scene, you have to hook up the tanker to the engine. so with a walkway area with axes, SCBA's, Flashlights. and wearing bunker gear, there is not much room to move around.
    Granted you are out in traffic, but with ground control, you should be in good shape.
    We have a Firecom system set up at the panel, so yoou can talk to the commander, if needed. Besides engineers need to know what comes off the truck to ensure everything gets back.

  8. #8
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Hmmm, seems I'm among a select few that actually like the top mount. All of the above point are valid depending on your viewpoint. I see no difference in having to leave a top mount or a side mount to go to a compartment or assist in laying a line (other than the elevation of course)but that is just my opinion and I appreciate everyones input. The debate will go on.

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    www.nh.ultranet.com/~davidjb


  9. #9
    TRUCK 110
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Well David:

    I think we shot holes in the Top mount.. I think TD added another Element, that I kind of think I alluded too..You must get down off the Pump to move about..Granted, we are leaving the Pump Panel, but my feet are on the Ground, and if I need to get back..I do not have to climb up to correct whatever..I was spoonfed on a Side Mount, and Fell out of a Top Mount trying to get down.. I teach Pump Operations for NY State, so I have been on them all..I just prefer Side mounts..I will not make an issue.. You know what they say about those Opinions..LOL..

    Thanks for the Post..I appreciate so Steam letting..LOL...and so does the rest of us Civilized FF's..

    ------------------

  10. #10
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Yes I know what they say about opinions but that's why I posted in the first place, to get everyones opinion.

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    www.nh.ultranet.com/~davidjb


  11. #11
    F02
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    How about rear mount? No loss of space,both feet are on the ground,and you can see both sides.

  12. #12
    Fyrtrks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Yes a rear or a side rear mout pannel. Saulsbury makes a Scorpion on an FL70 series chassis. I really like it short manuervable and lots of storage. I would love one for a paid crew truck where I work. The same truck for first response all the time. You have most of the stop gap things you need to plug the hole and ya get places that others can't.

    Then we come back to that opinion thing again. "What's that smell?"

    ------------------
    Dan Jenkins
    West Elmira Fire Dept.

  13. #13
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Well guys, dispite all of the points against the top mount I still prefere it. We don't get alot of thunder storms but I don't mind getting wet. The view of the scene they provide is only beaten by an arial (or sitting on the hose bed), and in our small town of narrow roads it helps to not have to worry about being run over by a driver who is more interested in what we are doing than driving his car.

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    www.nh.ultranet.com/~davidjb


  14. #14
    mfgentili
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    I vote in favor of top mounts. Like previously stated, better visibility, keeps operator away from traffic. Also keeps operator away from hose connections at the suction and discharge ports. Years ago a member of my department was struck in the face by a 2 1/2" coupling which broke free from a discharge. The impact knocked him under a chain link fence causing further injury. He eventually was forced to retire because of this. Since that incident, ropes were added to the pump panels above each discharge in order to tie off each hoseline but like everything else, how often do we take the time to utilize these safety measures? If slippery decking is a concern, try painting the surface with non skid safety coating and installing man saver bars. Granted this will not prevent all injuries but should help if operators use caution and common sense as conditions warrant. Of the 10 engines in our department (7 active, 3 reserve) only 1 has a side panel (1985 E-One). Our newest engine, delivered this month, is a Pierce 1250 and this same issue regarding pump panel placement was discussed by the apparatus specification committee. To my delight, the top mount won out and all members are very satisfied at this point. Bye for now.

    mfg

  15. #15
    SBear597
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Our Department recently purchased 4 new engines with top mounted panel. As mfgentili stated above we went with the top mount primarily for safety measures. There is a diamond plate decking which will have a non skid surface applied to it. Believe or not most of our drivers are over 50 and wanted the top mounted panel. The only disagreement we got from them was the 2000 gpm pump.

    Stay safe,




    [This message has been edited by SBear597 (edited May 31, 1999).]

  16. #16
    SCFF2304
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    There are advantages and disadvantages to top mount pump panels, so the first step you need to take is to survey what the pump operator REALLY does in the fire scene. In a perfect world, the pump operator is "only" required to stand at their pump panel, twist a few knobs, pull a few handles, watch a couple of gauges, and generally has an easy life. ( said tongue in cheek of course )
    Now, in my dept, with the limited manpower we have, the pump operator may have the following tasks assigned to them : connection of the supply line to the hydrant or another truck, making the hard suction connection to begin a drafting operation with a porta tank, pull additional lines so that incoming crews can start operations upon arrival, setting up the truck mounted lighting, etc. etc. etc. So you can see where a top mount pump would put the pump operator at a disadvantage. Oh, don't get me wrong, if the staffing levels would allow it, I would love the top mount, to get me out of traffic, the mud puddles, give me a better view of the fire scene, and any of the other above mentioned advantages, but a top mount will not work in my Dept. So, as so often is the case in the fire service, there is no right or wrong answer, it depends on what works for "your" dept. Stay Safe!

  17. #17
    Dalmation90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    I too am a side mount/rear mount fan...

    One question comes up in my mind...I've always been taught that one of the best sources of information for the pump op is being able to feel the hose...especially the incoming lines. Feeling a hose go limp tells you a lot more a lot faster than the guages do...and if you're watching the fire and not the guages...

    Now this doesn't seem to be a concern at all for other departments...and I am wondering, if it could be a rural/hydrant thing?

    As in rural = more critical to know if something is frigged with your supply, where hydrants = more reliable = less need to be by the intakes?

    Anybody have any thoughts on this?

  18. #18
    SCFF2304
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Just another thought that popped in my head about one of the pro's for a top mount, in regards to getting you out of traffic. Well, I've always been told to use the apparatus as a shield from oncoming traffic. Granted, if a large vehicle strikes the truck, you are in a world of hurt, but I feel you would be in the same boat with a top mount.

  19. #19
    firefighter60
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    David I am going to vote in favor of the top mounted pump panel. My department has 2 engines, one side mount and one top mount. with the side mount the way it is set up if someone hooks up on the passenger side of the engine you still have to leave the pump panel to verify connection and to charge the line. On the top mount unit you can see the person making a connection and be ready to charge the line as soon as they tell you that they are ready. One big advantage to a top mount pump. We also have some very narrow roads where you are lucky to be able to get the engine down the lane let alone be able to set up drop tanks and still have room between the drop tank and the control panel. We took delivery of the top mount two years ago and the guys love it. Right now we are expecting delivery of a tanker but the next engine we get will probably be another top mount, they just work better for us. Each department must decide what works best for them and go with that. No one general rule is going to work for every department.

    Dave

  20. #20
    firemanhank
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Gotta vote for the top mount. My biggest reason is also the small roads we have around here. I love not having to worry about which side of the truck i want facing the fire. Both our 82 pierce and our 97 pierce are set up with gated suctions on both sides so if i find a good spot for the tankers to get to im there! Man this is a great topic. look forward to more opinions.

  21. #21
    cacfpd
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    Just a couple of questions for side mounted panels.
    1. For those of us who truck almost all of our water, do you set up your suction on the pump panel side?
    1a. If so, do you find yourself having to cross the suction hose to operate the pump several times?
    1b. If not, do you have a way to monitor how much water is in your drop tank (Fold-A-Tank, etc)?
    2. Are you able to see the structure that is on fire? On our department the pump operator is a valuable extra set of eyes to see things that might go South.
    3. Can your pump operator readily identify which hose line is going where? (Yes we do use color coded hoses)


    As with any equipment TRAINING is the key. wheather you have top mount, side mount, rear mount, and let's not forget the front mount pump. I would agree that each has its advantages and disadvantages, but often the operator does not have a choice of apparatus after he/she arrives on the fire scene.

    Although you have probably guessed that I prefer the top-mounted pump panel. Depending on the circumstances, I might well be operating a side mount, or a front mount.

  22. #22
    Mike C
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post


    1. For those of us who truck almost all of our water, do you set up your suction on the pump panel side?

    Use the rear suction.

    1a. If so, do you find yourself having to cross the suction hose to operate the pump several times?

    You could

    1b. If not, do you have a way to monitor how much water is in your drop tank (Fold-A-Tank, etc)?

    Visually

    2. Are you able to see the structure that is on fire? On our department the pump operator is a valuable extra set of eyes to see things that might go South.

    Sure

    3. Can your pump operator readily identify which hose line is going where? (Yes we do use color coded hoses)

    All our lines are color coded

    As with any equipment TRAINING is the key. wheather you have top mount, side mount, rear mount, and let's not forget the front mount pump. I would agree that each has its advantages and disadvantages, but often the operator does not have a choice of apparatus after he/she arrives on the fire scene.

    yep

    Although you have probably guessed that I prefer the top-mounted pump panel. Depending on the circumstances, I might well be operating a side mount, or a front mount.

    I think the top mount is a bad choice for a pump operator. If all you do is stand and look at the fire or stare at the pump it is perfect. If you are filling bottles, helping, connecting disconnecting lines, operating transfer devices, talking on the radio, pulling lines, setting lights, getting tools...it is the worst place to be.

  23. #23
    Truckie from Missouri
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I vote for ground mounts (Front/side/rear...who cares?) with the inlet at the panel. Not only is it easier to keep pump temps in check, also inlet pressure. Yes, I know we're supposed to watch the Compound gage, but we all know that stuff happens, and in the chaotic events that happen at fires, we sometimes lose concentration. I like to lean on the inlet hose. You can feel when the pressure drops too low and throttle back &/or gate down accordingly. Just a thought.

    ------------------
    Proud Member of IAFF Local 3133!

    Stay safe.
    Ken

  24. #24
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here in our little corner of Missouri, we enjoy the top mounts. All our pumps with the exception of one are top mounts. And, the specifications for our new pump are also top mount. We like them because it allows the operator to see all the way around the rig. Many times the operator can see the fire ground from a different angle, other the ground level where everyone else is. The problem is that sometimes he's watching more than his apparatus. Granted we have to climb up and down to hook lines, but we don't have to run around the rig to check lines to see where a hose goes. We also do a lot of rural runs and we use a rear suction into a folding tank. Again the operator can see the folding tank to the rear if it's positioned correctly. Transverse hose lines are at ground level so they can be reached from the ground without climbing up onto the rig. If we operate on the highway we have the ability to pull lines from the rear or front of the rig to cut down on the side operations. Lightning....who's worried about Lightning..think about the fellow on the end of the line or on a side mount panel...their the one's in contact with the rig and a ground! And, if the side mounted panel operator has on a head set connected to rig, think where the lightning will go first.

    [This message has been edited by Captain Hickman (edited September 12, 1999).]

  25. #25
    721
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We have a top mount, side mount, and rear mount.

    Obvious benefits of the top mount, operator is out of road, great view. Downside, have to get off to connect lines and many other tasks. Snow, ice, and mud all make this a hazard that can put your pump operator out action very quickly. (I have personally experienced slipping off the apparatus due to mud).

    Side mount, eliminates all negatives of the top mount, but now view is not so great, plus your backside may be handing out in the road.

    Rear mount, eliminates the negatives of both top mount and side mount. View not as great as topmount, but far better than side mount. In addition moving the pump panel to the rear allows a lot of compartment space on a short truck. Our rear mount is on a 170" wheel base to facilitate getting around the narrow mountain roads in district, yet has a great deal of compartment space.

    My preference is the rear mount, with the exception of operating at a MVA when there is no apparatus between me and oncoming traffic.

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