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Thread: Mini-pumpers

  1. #1
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    Question Mini-pumpers

    What brand of mini-pumper does your dept use? What are the pros and cons of it?


  2. #2
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    Currently our department has a 1987 Pierce Mini Pumper on a Chevy 3500 4 x 4 chassis. We purchased the unit new in 1987.

    Good points about the unit, its small size makes it easy to get into tight places where a full size engine cannot go, easier to get through traffic, etc. Multi function, our mini is set us as a light rescue / brush.

    Bad points, limited tank capacity, if used for inital attack a quick secondary water source is a must. In a hydranted area this would not be a big problem but for us, it needs quick back up by a tanker or engine. Can be overloaded, this may not be as big as a problem with the new Ford F450 & 550 or the new Chevy/GMC 4500's but our 1 ton chassis is about maxed for weight, even after being resprung, leaves added. etc.

    All in all the unit has served our department well with few problems and most of those have been with the crappy 6.2 litter diesel engine.

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
    Forum Member Box2565's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Summit Mini Pumper

    The town where I live operates a 1998 Ford-Summit mini pumper. Engine 153 is equipped with a 500 gpm pump, 300 gallon tank, and uses roll-up style doors. In the picture the pump door is up so that you can view the panel.

    Summit Fire Apparatus
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  4. #4
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    Default Minis by the dozens . . . .

    The City of Syracuse (NY) has utilized two-piece engine companies since 1973. An engine company consists of a 2000gpm "maxi-pumper" with a 500-gallon tank and a fifty-foot Tele-Squrt, plus a 4WD "mini-pumper", typically with a 250gpm pump and 300 gallon tank. The chassis these minis have appeared on has varied, from an International 1310 with a gasoline V-8 and four-speed transmission in 1973 to a larger GMC chassis with a 4-cylinder Detroit Turbodiesel and an allison automatic transmission in 1980, through to an International 4000 in the 1990's. Bodywork was by many different suppliers, including Pierce, Sanford, KME, 3-D, and Sutphen. These little rigs had a booster reel, winch, two crosslay attack lines, a 500 gpm automatic monitor, and a manifold inlet to supply everything with water "above the pump" from a larger source. They have proven to be very versatile in a "big city" fire department, filling a role for everything from minor fires to service-type alarms. When EMS started to fall under the purview of local fire departments in the late 70's - early 80's, suddenly it looked like we had known it was coming all along. The minis were a natural for this added duty, and eventually it has become over 90% of their alarm load. So much so that the newest generation of "minis" will have no pump or tank at all, being more like the "Squad 51" of "Emergency!" fame. They will still be 4WD, but on much smaller Ford F-350 Super Duty extended-cab diesel chassis. The utility box will be fiberglass. We have found that the amount of actual firefighting these vehicles do has historically been very small. Bear in mind this is within the city limits, with multiple companies close by, thousands of fire hydrants, and full-time crews 24/7. Obviously in a rural environment your needs and experiences will differ.

  5. #5
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    We designed our own and contracted to a local refurbisher to build the unit. The chassis was a state bid unit with utility box.A darley 500 gpm pump and 200 gal poly tank were added.It is a 4-wheel drive, diesel automatic. There is a warn 5 ton winch on the front. The truck sees duty as a grass/brush fire unit,is first response to all mva's,can be used for auxillary lighting (3500 watt generator with darley night-liters on all four corners),and is used for any off-road duties that may arise. This is the second truck we have built in such a fashion and has met all our needs for about half the price tag of any of the major manufacturers. I'm not real good on how to post a picture to this site, so if you'd like to take a look it's at www.dexterfd.org in the apparatus section.

  6. #6
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    My volunteer department recently placed a mini-pumper in service. It is on a Ford F-450 Diesel 4X4 chassis with body by E-One. It is the E-One Lynx version and has worked out very well. It has a 750 GPM pump driven by its own seperate diesel engine, 300 Gallon tank, 20 gallon Class "A" and "B" tank, 2 1-3/4" crosslays, 1-2" rear pre-connect, 500' of 5" LDH, Holmatro spreader, cutter, 2 rams and alot of cribbing. Additionally it carries ALS equipment, backboard, AED and reciever winch for front or rear. Like many volunteer departments, we have a staffing issue during the day and have 5 part time employees per week day. 2 of them are assigned to this unit to cover EMS runs and the like. This leaves the Class "A" pumper in service for fire runs and the like. We are planning on buying another since this one has worked out so well and are very impressed with it. The un-equipped cost was right at $130,000.00.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    We run a 1997 Hummer/E.J. Murphy (local Pierce dealer/refurber/custom builder in Hopkinton, MA).

    40gpm CAFS
    200gwt
    15 gal. Class A foam tank

    Runs primary to first responder calls and "service" calls like directing traffic, trees & wires, etc. It's due on just about everything with the exception of CO alarms w/o medical symptoms. On auto accidents it's often the last unit on scene...the Engine-Tank and Heavy Rescue are sent back to quarters & the Hummer standsby till the wreckers are loaded. It is also the tow vehicle for our State Haz-Mat trailer.

    At the time it was designed (1996) Ford only made a two-wheel drive F-450, and that was on the old body design. The Hummer offered the highest GVWR with factory four wheel drive, and it was designed for that GVWR instead of being a beefed up F350.

    It's biggest advantage is it's tremendously short wheelbase...still amazes me the narrow driveways I've pulled three point turns in to leave after a call.

    Biggest drawbacks:
    -- On the wide side for forestry work. While no wider than a dually pickup, an F350 with single rears and slip in unit would be easier to drive down some of the wood paths.
    -- Very limited equipment capacity. We do OK, but ya gotta make sure everything is restocked after a run.

    My guess is if we did it over again today we'd go for a F450/550 to carry a little bit more water & equipment. Of course, you wouldn't have as short & manuervable vehicle either.

    I do like having the mini-pumper...although it's rare, hey we're a fire department and I sure like at least having initial attack firefighting capability if we have a second call or come across a fire while on a run.

  8. #8
    Forum Member CAPN22's Avatar
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    Station 2, Found a pic of your Super Lynx by E-1. Nice Rig
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  9. #9
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    My very rural department uses a Ford F350 crew cab with a CAFS - 300 gal tank, 30 gal of foam, 4wd. We have a red line for brush use only, 1 2/12 with a piercing nozzel and the other with a regular nozzel. It carries extraction gear, cribbing, BLS, and a winch on the front bumper. We are vary happy with it, but most of our calls are single wide mobile home fire (surround & drown, no one goes in) and rollover wrecks, followed by brush fires. Our tanker is 2nd in.
    I engineered this truck on the Rodeo fire, pressurized 4,000 feet of 2 1/2 inch with feeders every 50 ft on the fire break, ran for 4 hours with no problems. We are very happy with it.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Fire/Rescue43
    our 1 ton chassis is about maxed for weight, even after being resprung, leaves added. etc.
    Just a little food for thought on the GVW thing, it's not just about springs, it's also about your brakes. If you overload your vehicle you could also be greatly increasing your stopping distance, even if you add new springs. With minipumpers and ambulances we tend to load them up too much, so plan for extra weight when specing out.

    Our minipumper is an early 70's (71 I think)Dodge 1-ton, looks just like Squad 51 with a pump panel. 350gpm pump with 2 foam capability (only carry A now), 300gal tank, 4X4. Maybe next year we might get a new CAFS rig, maybe.

  11. #11
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    We put a light rescue / mini-pumper in service last year. We bought a wrecked 1977 Chevy/Pierce mini from one of our neighboring departments and salvaged the pump (475 GPM), equipment box and some misc parts. These were mounted on a new F-550 4 door, crew cab, 4 x 2 chassis. We chose 4 x 2 due to the size / weight of the vehicle --we didn't want anyone to think of it as a brush truck! The work was done by the local Pierce maintenance shop.

    When it was all said and done, we ended up with a really useful apparatus. It carries 300 gal of water, 15 gal each of Class A foam and emulsifier, 2 x 1.75" preconnects, 1" booster reel, 1" discharge on front bumper, 400' of 3" supply line. It also has a 10,000lbs winch in the front bumper, extrication tools, cribbing, 6KW generator, portable & truck mounted lights, chainsaw, fan, med kit, back board and various hand tools. It seats 5 in the cab (3 SCBA seats). We also added a ladder rack on top of the hosebed -- 24' ext, 14' roof, 10' attic. This allowed us to get credit for it as a service company during our recent ISO inspection.

    We use it for medical calls, fuel spills (spray bar under front bumper), rescues (back up for our Heavy Rescue), and to carry additional manpower to larger calls. It also gives us a limited "off road" capability. This was useful last week when we used it to extinguish a burning trackhoe on a land clearing site. a bulldozer made a "road" and led the truck to the fire.

    Even with all the equipment and crew, it still ended up under the 17,500 lbs max GVW. Total cost, with equipment, was around $120,000.

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    While we don't run a mini pumper in my department, our neignbor to the north that we work closely with does. They run two of them, both of them Ford-550 4x4 chassis with Alexis bodywork. I do not know the specifics of each unit, but they've had a lot of criticism from some guys as they replaced a pair of genuine brush trucks.

    The units, while designed for some light duty off-road work (we have grass fires here, nothing like some of the real wildland fires) are fantastic for their true application. The district that owns them has a large section of a major highway in their district, and these units are great first-in units as they can run shoulders and get on scene quick. They're equipped with a foam system, have a combination extrication tool to initiate extrication, and are fantastic medical assist vehicles, saving wear and tear on the full-size engine.

    My district has some homes with exceptionally long driveways with private bridges over a creek. We have nothing that could run across these bridges that can pump besides a brush truck. A mini-pumper would be ideal in this situation, to at least make a quick attack on the fire.
    Last edited by npfd801; 08-07-2002 at 11:28 PM.

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