Thread: Ridding On The Back.
12-05-2000, 12:14 AM #1KSSG70Firehouse.com Guest
Ridding On The Back.
Now I know per NFPA that there's no ridding on the back of new or refurbished apparatus. But luckily we still have two trucks out of our five that were grandfathered.
So the question is, don't you miss being on the back of the truck going to a call?
The opinions I express are my own and not of my department.
[This message has been edited by KSSG70 (edited 12-05-2000).]
12-05-2000, 12:52 AM #2ENGINE 52Firehouse.com Guest
I don't miss the freezing snow or rain blowing in my face, but the cool breeze blowing across that hosebed in the summer time was great. Miss it sometimes. The apparatus we rode the tailbroard on was a 1966 open cab Mack. Stop riding the tailboard in late 80's.
12-05-2000, 12:58 AM #3smokeeater51Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with Engine52, the summer time was fun, but the sand, snow, below freezing temps, and rain were a bitch. (especially on high profile rigs like tankers) And then there was the time I kissed the diamond plate of a tanker when the driver had to stop quite abruptly when another driver failed to yield the right of way. I'll take a nice warm crew cab anyday. (now)
Take care, stay safe, & stay low!
12-05-2000, 01:07 AM #4ENGINE 52Firehouse.com Guest
Thanks Smokeeater51. Crew cabs warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
12-05-2000, 01:47 AM #5391HDFirehouse.com Guest
Going to the call riding the tailboard in the snow, rain, etc. wasn't all that bad........it was the trip back to the station when you were wet, cold, and tired that was miserable.
12-05-2000, 08:12 AM #6Jim M.Firehouse.com Guest"But luckily we still have two trucks out of our five that were grandfathered."
NFPA, OSHA and about a million other alphabet agencies banned the practice. Have talk with your insurance carrier and see how quick they drop your coverage entirely, if you make them aware of this. Watch them deny claims because of "self inflicted" injuries.
12-05-2000, 09:12 AM #7ADSN/WFLDFirehouse.com Guest
I agree 100% with Jim. Yes it was fun but departments must not allow their members to ride the back step. If you don't have the room on that rig then follow in a buggy. All members must remain seated, with seatbelts in place while the vehicle is moving.
12-05-2000, 11:53 AM #8Fire LineFirehouse.com Guest
Been around long enough that I can say "been there, done that". Don't miss it, as ADSN/WFLD said your looking for trouble if your still riding on the backstep. I sure your state laws mandate seatbelts for all members. Most places now demand enclosed cabs for all new apparatus. Unfortunately some traditions need to die, this one of them.
12-05-2000, 02:38 PM #9Captain GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
I did it once...never again!!!
Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting our tomorrows....
12-05-2000, 03:22 PM #10SFD-129-3Firehouse.com Guest
Its kind of sad in the day of $500,000+ ladder trucks and TIC's that we would even consider riding tailboard. Whats next, wearing rubber coats and Levi's bc thats the way we used to do it? There is probably a good reason why we USED to do it that way.
12-05-2000, 07:04 PM #11BigBossFirehouse.com Guest
I agree - we have one piece of apparatus that is grandfathered, but the members of the department decided about 5 years ago to stop the practice as we have ample seating in other pieces. I then brought it to the Village Board of Trustees who made it very official and outright prohibited it.
I have never done it myself in my 6 years of responding - but I have heard many stories of how "fun" it was riding to the extreme other end of the town in sub-zero temps and howling winds - they were frozen before they got there.
Oh for the "good old days" - gone forever - THANK GOD!
Brian K. Savage
12-05-2000, 08:56 PM #12SRVFD2Firehouse.com Guest
12-05-2000, 09:06 PM #13chief208Firehouse.com Guest
I think we are missing the intent of the post here.
Do you miss riding the tailboard? GOSH YES!!
When I first started with a volunteer department some 25 years ago, our house
siren ran for three minutes, and we kicked ourselves if the siren quit befor we left the station with the first rig.
Can't tell you how many times I jumped on the back step as the truck was pulling out of the house, or how many times I donned my bunker coat, supported by the other firefighters on the back step, while racing down Main St. GOD was that exillarating!!
Danger and risk was a way of life back 25 years ago. Young and foolish, we all did some dangerous things.
Do I miss riding the tailboard? You betch'a!
Whould I do it again, or allow my firefighters to do it? NO WAY!! GRANDFATHERED or not, firefighters should be seated and BELTTED any time the apparatous is in motion. We just lost a voluteer here in the State of Kentucky in an apparatuis rollover.
What we did 20-25 years ago is not the way it needs to be done today. Times have changed, and WE had better change along with them!!
Stay safe all!
[This message has been edited by chief208 (edited 12-05-2000).]
12-06-2000, 02:51 AM #14smokeeater51Firehouse.com Guest
Good call Chief208, I agree. I am only 27 years old, but was able to experience the ride before it died. It was fun,(on nice days ) and very high profile. After all, thats the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of the real American Firefighter. A large red fire engine, and the firefighters hanging off the back step. A very prestigious place to be. Maybe not the smartest place to be (according to fellow firefighters) but the public doesn't know this. I too (on more than one occasion) finished putting on my gear while being held up by fellow firefighters. We can ridicule the doings of past generations until we're blue in the face, but the times are gone and it's not going to get us anywhere. Learn from it and move on, which is what we've done. Enclosed cabs, and support vehicles are the way to go, now.
In a way I feel sorry for those who never got to ride the "tail". I consider myself lucky.
Take care, stay safe, & stay low!
12-06-2000, 05:04 AM #15chf jstanoFirehouse.com Guest
Like chf208 I've also been around long enough to remember "riding the board". I wouldn't do it now or do I need more grey hair thinking that any of my people would even think of it these days.BUT WHAT A RIDE!!! Actually though in New York some depts still get a similar thrill. They have "firematic drill trucks " that they race down 1/8th mile courses hanging off the back of, dragging ladders or hose against the clock.These rigs can reach65MPH or so and stop in very short distances. It's a rush ,believe me. We even made ABC's Wide World of Sports back in the mid 70's with our truck. Check out some of the Long Island dept's web sites if you want an idea of what they look like.They are usually sub-headed drill teams.Ahhhh...Them were the days....
12-06-2000, 02:46 PM #16ffemtmjbFirehouse.com Guest
Gotta agree with chief208...riding on the tailboard is awesome from an adrenaline perspective. At least on the way to the fire Gotta agree with the general concensus, however, that it is a practice that can't be justified given the safety concerns.
12-06-2000, 04:09 PM #17dousaemsFirehouse.com Guest
It was a wonderful feeling...especially on nice spring and fall days. Until you got stuck on the piece with the insane driver. Almost got thrown off twice, partly my fault, mostly theirs. But it was great. Actually, it is still a fairly common practice at parades, at least the last few I have seen. No high speed stuff, harnesses in place, etc. Still not the same.
12-06-2000, 04:23 PM #18KSSG70Firehouse.com Guest
Thank you chief208. Yes I started this post for the memories of the tailboard. But just in case, I have to tell everyone that on the back of the two trucks we still have that we have to be buckled into a harness that wraps around you. There're not the real old type of just hooking one arm in a loop. They also have a signal button on both sides of the back that ring a very loud bell in the cab to signal stop, go, & back-up.
But with the growing times the practice will be stopped soon. One of the two trucks, an '81 Hahn pumper, will be going out next year for referb. The other is a '75 Pierce/Dodge mini pumper brush truck which will most likely be totally replaced soon also.
With all that aside, let's hear from everyone else and some of their stories.
Happy Holidays Everyone,
The opinions I express are my own and not of my department.
12-07-2000, 12:41 AM #19MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
Yeh, I miss riding on the tailboard too. I also wonder why I am still alive after looking back at what all we did back there. I too have kicked off my shoes, grabbed my boots, coat and helmet and jumped on the truck as it was pulling out. We would wrap our arms around each other while getting dressed... or if you were by yourself, you locked yourself in with a rope-hose tool that was on the hand rail.
Rode the back of a mini-pumper at a speed I shudder to think about. Rode another truck with a wooden hand rail that was loose so we always expected it to fall off. Seen guys drop helmets and gloves off the back. Seen a couple that would bail off as soon as the truck stopped, only to find out it was waiting for traffic and we were still miles from the fire...
Oh the good ol' days... how terrible they were!!!
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
12-07-2000, 12:19 PM #20chief208Firehouse.com Guest
If your firefighters are still riding the tailboard, STOP IT NOW!!!
Even in a harness, if the truck should roll, your folks will be drug like puppies on a leash! I honestly don't know what would be better, to be harnessed on, or thrown clear in the event of an accident. Either way the outcome will be disasterious. Think of the driver of the rig, and what memories will haunt him or her for the rest of their life if someone was killed or injured while they were driving.
I like to think most of our drivers are experts, but you know that is not the case. Besides, there are a lot of stupid people behind the wheel these days. People remember to pull to right and stop for an emergency vehicle, but they don't always get it in the right order. Stop first, then decide to creep to the right. Beating an emergency vehicle to an intersection happens just as often as some fool trying to beat a train to a crossing. A let's not forget about narrow county roads that hardly allow room for two standard sized vehicles to pass, much less a full sized firetruck enroute to a call. Slipping off the shoulder of a narrow road is all it takes to send a 20 ton fire truck into an unrecoverable nightmarish accident.
GET YOUR FOLKS OFF THE STEP NOW!!
Don't wait for your truck to be re-furbed, stop this NOW!!!
[This message has been edited by chief208 (edited 12-07-2000).]
12-08-2000, 03:38 PM #21Fireman488Firehouse.com Guest
I have 36 years, this month, as a volunteer firefighter. In the 60's, 70's and early 80's we thought nothing of suiting up and riding on the backstep.
Now, you couldn't pay me enough to ride back there.
Crew cabs are far safer and much more comfortable.
As for "The Grandfather" business; an OSHA official told me that it WILL NOT hold water:
"If a firefighter is injured or killed on the backstep, everyone from the Chief, to the Company Officers, to the Driver will be held liable."
It's just not worth it!!!
12-08-2000, 05:55 PM #22FireCapt529Firehouse.com Guest
Never had the chance to ride the back of the engine, just the tac truck. But does a stand-up position on a top-mount engine count? If so then I do miss that.
12-09-2000, 06:18 PM #23xchief9bFirehouse.com Guest
Sorry fellas, I'm one that doesn't miss it. Can think of a lot of other things to get nostalgic about other than riding the tailboard in sub zero temperatures or kneeling in the hose bed with frozen fingers trying to put on an air pack. Welcomed a nice hot fire about then to thall out. I do remember one Christmas eve taking Santa around to give out candy canes, getting a call and the poor sucker was stuck on top between the hose reels until we got to the scene. I learned a few new words that night from him that I'd never heard before. Safe and sane holiday season to all.
12-11-2000, 11:40 PM #24Kelly ToolFirehouse.com Guest
I can't say i've rode on the back step(only been in a little over 2 years) but i can say there is a certain aura about it. I remeber being a little kid and wanting to be able to do that. It is sort of like riding in an open cab verses a closed cab. There is a certain feeling you get having the elements in your face. I do agree that now-a-days the practice of riding tail board is a huge NO-NO. But There will always be that feeling of riding on the back.
Put the wet stuff on the red stuff
Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley
Steve Kelly Jr.
12-12-2000, 04:09 PM #25FFTrainerFirehouse.com Guest
Have to say that I don't miss it. We have a unit that is also grandfathered by law, but not by station SOP's. Every now and then you get a guy jumping on the back but he gets an earfull from the Chief when we're done(usually on the ride back in the Chief's vehicle since he won't let him ride back on the step).
I have been there on that step.... When I didn't know any better. Now I like my enclosed cab. I like my pack seat so I can step out of the engine, turn my air on and go.
Just another thought on a subject that has been discussed before.
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