1. #1
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    Talking "Brush" truck (yes another brush truck thread)

    Fire304 sparked me to post this.

    As he said in another thread, we're working on replacing a mini-pumper (70's Dodge/Pierce mini). In addition to this truck, we have 3 full size engines, a wet aerial platform, and 2 ALS ambos. While our forests are by-and-large gone, we do have some left and our surrounding communities are heavily wooded. We have many camp road, island roads, and long, narrow driveways.

    In defining the roles for the truck, this is what we've come up with:
    - SWI/Brush Incidents
    - Initial structural fire attack in inaccessible areas in our town.
    - Scene Control (traffic, LZ's, lines-down calls, etc)
    - EMS First Response
    - Towing (boat, ATV and trailer, etc)

    A lot of us want to stay away from a Pierce, E-One, etc. mini-pumper (and to keep it relatively inexpensive, we have to). Rather, we'd like to see more of a flatbed body on a pickup, with standard storage boxes, etc. We are strongly considering a smaller CAFS unit.

    Now I have searched the appropriate forums here, and have found some information, but I'd (we'd) really like to hear from people who have gone through a similar process, and what you've come up with.

    Chassis - body - pump - tank - loose equipment - etc

    Ideas, concerns, thoughts, questions... post 'em.

    thanx
    Last edited by Resq14; 02-04-2003 at 12:01 AM.
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    Default for your viewing pleasure





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    You have to post where you found that top picture. THAT is how you build a brush truck. We need another one and that's the first one I've seen like that.

    We have one almost identical to the Lacey unit. It is a POS as a brush truck. It's been pulled out of fields by almost every tow truck in the Houston area. It's too heavy with the big diesel and the dually in the back, so it sinks at the drop of a hat. It can handle the towing and everything else, but it kind of defeats the 4x4 and brush part of "brush truck" if you can't take it off road.

    Check out Cypress Creek, TX Booster 23:

    http://www.cypresscreekvfd.com/booster/

    It's a crew cab F350 and I think it's got the diesel, but they have had no problems with getting it anywhere.

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    I forgot about this one in my search for pics. Nice truck. I strongly support super singles in the rear, not the typical dual wheels.





    I found the top pic in my 2nd post here:
    http://www.wildlandfire.com/pics/eng3/engines3.htm
    Last edited by Resq14; 02-04-2003 at 11:00 AM.
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    Everything is a compromise.

    And it's also about local conditions.

    In my part of New England, a truck that performs well for forestry work isn't going to carry much equipment. A nice single rear wheel pickup truck can make it up most of the trails without much chainsaw assistance.

    Of course once you've gone single rear wheels to keep the width down, you've limited your water capacity & equipment capacity. That's not neccessarily a problem if you carry extra tools/equipment/etc on other trucks or even forestry support trucks. An F350 with a narrow flatbed on it still could carry 150 gallons, pump, hose, tools for a crew and be very manueverable.

    A Jeep CJ is ultimate in manueverability, but it just don't carry much. A 6x6 Military chassis will carry the load, but you're gonna be using chainsaws to open up trails for it to manuever (our oaks don't take kindly to brush jumping!). The old 1950s/1960s era Dodge PowerWagons are legendary, but they aren't made new anymore. Probably easy to fix, once you find the parts.

    Let's face it, most of these trails are being kept open by homeowners out with their 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton cutting firewood, or kids zipping around in pickups. Most of them don't see wide vehicles like logging trucks regularly.

    Our Service truck is a Hummer chassis, which rightfully gets questioned about it's width off road. But it's 9" narrower than a dually pickup that most people build "forestries" on today.

    That said, the Hummer is relatively narrow and short, so it's tough to find the volume to put a lot on it, then you start hitting GVW limits.

    F350/450/550 duallys are most popular today. Certainly they can carry more and do more missions successfully than a narrow pickup or Hummer chassis can. They just can't get into as many places as easily between width & weight.

    You also have to look at what conditions you want to get into. Super singles and other floatation type tires will work well off road and in mud. We're replacing the MT tires on our Hummer though to GS-As which are more of a highway tire. They won't handle mud as well, but remember most of the time mud tires are meant to float on top of mud. If they float on top of mud, the also float on top of slushy snow...not a good thing if you also use the truck for First Responder and other calls during the winter. Kinda hard to get traction to stop when your floating on slush and you really have to remember how to drive (speaking from oh ***** first hand experience...we live on a rain/snow line so we get a lot of slush). The GS-As should bite through a bit more so we may actually hit pavement so the wheels stay turning when you tap the brakes.

    I think that is clear as mud But you really have to look at what you want it to do. Many times things are at odds -- a narrow, floating truck is good in our forests but it doesn't have the GVW and volume to manage structural fire attack. A wider, heavier truck with good snow tires can handle structure fires, but it's not going to be quite as easy to get deep into the woods.

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    My department uses Hummers for brush rigs out here in the mountains of New Mexico. They have a 250 gallon skid mounted pump. The only real problem we have run into is that of carrying capacity. They don't carry as much water as we would like them to. We run them in combination with a 3000 gallon tender for re-supply. They are great off road, but get them on a highway and they are a bit slow. I think they are considering replacing them with new Pierce Hawk Extremes. They are a bit too large for your average department, but would fit in to our operation very well.
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    Default Re: "Brush" truck (yes another brush truck thread)

    Originally posted by Resq14
    a wet aerial platform,
    Wow, never heard it called that before. Lets not mince words, its a quint, a real big freakin quint.

    Anyway, you missed one function, MVA 1st response in crappy weather (better traction, can stb w/ winch until big red box gets there.)

    We need to make some cost vs. benifit decisions such as gas vs. diesel engine. Gas is much cheaper, would encourage a gas pump, which is also cheaper, and its lighter = carry more stuff. On the other hand, it will cost more to operate since gas is more expensive and you get poorer milage, and a fire truck w/o a screaming diesel just does not sound right.

    Other c v b's:
    CAFS vs. foam vs. plain water
    PTO pump vs skid
    Ford vs Chevy
    LED vs. conventional lights
    Generator vs. Inverter vs. piggyback gen
    Red vs.... oh,heck who am I kidding
    4 door vs. 3 door

    Try to think of some more, I'm serious, even though the answer may seem predestined, we should at least look at all alternatives.

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    CAFS vs. foam vs. plain water
    CAFS if you can. That would be my #1 funding priority...

    PTO pump vs skid
    Looking for simple, go skid. I'd think PTO, etc you're getting into more engineering for mounting pump, running shafts, etc.

    Ford vs Chevy
    Since 1988, I've gone Ranger, S-10, S-10 (<-- best damn vehicle I've ever owned), F-150, Ranger (<-- starting to rival my favorite S-10)...so I can't help you!

    LED vs. conventional lights
    LEDs. Use less power.

    Generator vs. Inverter vs. piggyback gen
    What do you want to do and how complicated?
    A independent generator is simple
    *IF* you only want it for lights, an inverter is good. Inverters tend to have problems with large motors, like big smoke ejectors. I'm fuzzy with the exact physics, but inverters put out more of a square "sine wave" instead of a smooth sine wave from a generator. Lights, electronics, small motors don't care. Big loads do.

    Red vs.... oh,heck who am I kidding
    Is there any other color?

    4 door vs. 3 door
    If you're trying to keep it small for forestry, go two door, traditional cab.

    All the above of course IMHO

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    "CAFS vs. foam vs. plain water "

    CAFS of course. May cost more now but in the long run it will pay itself back many times over. Since you're using much less water to get the same extinguishing power, you'll get more out of that smaller tank. Throw on a couple SCBA and you have a quick attack as well.

    "PTO vs Skid"

    If you're going pick-up truck chassis, PTO may be a little much on a gas engine depending on the terrain if you're ever going to take it off road. Diesel would make it too heavy. Those twin cylinder 18HP engines they use for the pumps sip gas anyway.

    "Ford vs Chevy"

    Not even going to touch that one.

    "LED vs. conventional lights
    Generator vs. Inverter vs. piggyback gen"

    Kind of connected. LEDs will draw less so there would be less of a drain if you did go with an inverter. Standalone generator would probably weigh too much if you went too big. Something along the lines of a 3000-5000W self contained Honda generator would be more than enough to run some lights or electric sawzalls or whatever you may need. You might not get that wattage out of an inverter because of the drain on the system. I can't say for sure, haven't researched them in a long time.

    "Red vs.... oh,heck who am I kidding"

    All good brush trucks end up mud brown

    "4 door vs. 3 door"

    Depends on if it's going to be a people mover or not. If it's burning, the more the merrier, but again it depends on where it's going to go and if it makes the truck too big.

    I say get a Unimog. That way you can go around saying "I drive a Unimog!", and people can look at you like you're on crack.
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    Check out www.ssfire.com. They make several off road vehicles, many used by the USFS

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    I say get a Unimog.

    Ah bah! Unimog, schmunimog...get a Gamma Goat :;

    http://www.mapleplain.com/FireDept/F...GammaGoat.html

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    Default Re: Re: "Brush" truck (yes another brush truck thread)

    Originally posted by Fire304
    Anyway, you missed one function, MVA 1st response in crappy weather (better traction, can stb w/ winch until big red box gets there.)
    I had thrown on a HRT mini-pump and combi-tool, but that can always be tossed on at a later time. Ya start to get into stepchocks, etc... dunno if that is practical. Worry about added/unnecessary weight. I think brush fire response needs to be the primary goal, and work around that for the others.

    Unimogs and Gamma Goats... lol. I think we're gonna be a little conventional in chassis selection. hehe

    Electrical: PTO generators, hydraulic generators, Auragens, Inverters... I don't see us running anything other than lights. Aside from the inverter, the others are $$$. I'd rather go with a couple 12V metal halide Magnafires (not cheap, but cheaper than generators/inverters).

    Since we're a Ford Fleet municipality, we get a couple thousand or so off a Ford chassis. Not a huge deal, but it all adds up pretty fast -- especially with our budget for this. For this reason alone I'd lean towards Ford.

    I hate the Q word. Can't we just call it a wet aerial platform?
    Last edited by Resq14; 02-04-2003 at 11:42 PM.
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    I just like the Unimog name. Sounds like something out of Star Wars. But I'd rather drive a Gamma Goat. THAT looks like some fun.

    And it bends in the middle. Even better. Cause you know what they say about trucks: REAL Truck companies bend in the middle and don't have no stinkin pump. Just wish I had one of those too. Maybe when I win the next big Powerball...

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    Always thought a Skid-mount F-350 forestry would be handy...
    With a plow & sander swapped in come winter!

    February/March could be a bear though...brush fires one week, foot of snow the next some years!

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    Originally posted by drkblram
    If you really want to get fancy, get the brush unit as a skid mount, And in the winter lift it out,
    Can't do that, its our 1st due vehicle for several parts of towns. I was in one of those spots yesterday with E-1, 53,000lbs on a hilly icy goat trail, not fun. Oh, did I mention that ABS does not work under 10mph? We cannot cross one bridge with 2 of 4 of our trucks, and there are a few places we just cannot send the big rigs into, so the mini-pumper becomes a self propelled gated wye after tank ware runs out. For that reason I dislike the skid mount, the temptation to take it out is there, although we may end up going that route to save money.

    14, we don't need to have an HRT onboard (and if we ever want one, we need to plan it in), I was thinking of quick scene stabilization, fire supression, and mark the incident. As a 4wd it sould roll anytime we have a bad weather call, down wires, MVA, etc. A Warn winch on the front could hook to a rollover and stabilize w/ a set of struts only, no cribbing.

    I think selling it as a forestry truck might be tough. Fact is, we don't have much of a brush problem, when was the last time we had a big fire? I know, we need to be prepaired, but the town bean counters might try to can a pure brush truck. Make it as multi-roll as possible, more bang for your buck.

    I'd go for 3 primary rolls,
    -1st due in inaccessible locations (especially structures on the island), much easier to get this unstuck than T-1. This would tie into its roll as a brush truck, it can go where others can't.
    -Utility response. Down wires, minor MVA's, medic transport, non emergency stills (water, mystery sump alarms, etc). Tows boat and ATV trailers. Cheaper to run than E-1
    -All MVA's. Brings more FFr's out w/o committing a 2nd pumper, allows us to roll w/o having to wait for 6 on one truck to get something out there, marks the scene, 4wd capability allows quicker response in slick weather, 2ndary scene lighting (big problem with our current response), a 2nd winch to help stabilize. Keep E-2 in the barn where it belongs.

    A Honda 5.5KW gas gen would allow portable power anywhere, pull the trailer to the road, load the gen and lights on the sled, get my drift? Short of that, you are right, 12V lights would be best.

    Ford has the b#*($_, I mean the bes#%()!__, damn I have a hard time saying that, Ford has the best HD pickup on the market, hands down, and with our discounts it might be the cheapest, but that does not mean we should not even glance at Chevy and Dodge.

    What about gas/diesel? I know the automatic choice is diesel, but gas would save money, and the benifits of diesel are long life and fuel saving, two things not likely to be a big factor with us. V-10 baby! The old arguments against gas are not very valid with modern fuel injection.

    QUINT its a figgin QUINT, get over it. Actually, it may not be a true quint, but its a long stick with a pump, QUINT. hehehehe

    Unimog-1 is 10-8. I like the sound of that. hehehe

    Dal and BC
    The CAFS argument is a personal priority, but the fact is we've had a CAFS pumper for over a year now and have not tained with it. If you don't train with it, it will be no better than water. Before we blow our cash on it I'd want a commitment for some training foam and time to work with it. Of course, having a small CAFS pumper might be just what we need to train with (altough it still leaves the engineer in the dark for E-1).

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    I understand the hesitation on CAFS, because we just did the same dance not that long ago in designing our new pumper. Training the engineers was one of the biggest possible drawbacks, in addition to the cost of foam. But after talking to dozens of departments that went through the same thing, and have already had their units for a while, they say that CAFS is dirt simple to operate. A toggle switch and a pushbutton and CAFS is flowing. That's it. I don't think that's beyond the reach of anyone that can pull handles already. Well, I have met some people......never mind.

    Snow? Is that the white stuff that falls down from the sky? Haven't seen that since the blizzard of '96 when I was living outside Philly. Nothing like 32" of the s$$$. Although sleeping at the station for 4 days straight and running 1st responder in an F350 crew cab diesel with all 4 wheels chained was a blast. Bo and Luke Duke had nothing on us. That and hearing the county dispatch Snowmobile 19 and 19-1 for EMS runs.

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    The Snuffer unit we are looking at sure will make foam a simple thing, but our big pumper is a little more complex. Sure you can yank the knobs and make shaving cream, but to be able to go wet or dry takes a bit more skill (when the truck is running right). We routinely end up with operators on scene who have no clue how to run the truck, because they did not attend that one time training we recv'd fr the manufacturer which turned out to be the only time we got trained on it.

    All four tires chained up? Wow, I don't think I've ever seen that! Thats either a lot of snow or a lot of over reaction

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    All four tires chained up? Wow, I don't think I've ever seen that! Thats either a lot of snow or a lot of over reaction

    If us young bucks whine about chains...

    The O.S.s remeninence about the days of running chains on the outside and inside wheels of duallies...

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    My 1st FD ran chains when ever snow was in the forcast, and we used them. My 2nd FD thought they were the tings you used to use to pull steering columns. My current FD has on-spots on all but the tower truck, altough as I previously mentioned, earlier this week I was wishing for a little more "chain density" than on-spots provided as I had 53,000lbs of truck sliding down a very icy road (can you say pucker factor? I knew you could!)

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    Resq14/Fire304

    We have a company on Long Island called Firematic Supply. They are building a truck they call a BRAT (Brush Rapid Attack Truck). My department has one and we like it. It is a four door Ford F550 with some enhancements. Our truck has class “A” foam, 400 gallons of water, full underbody skid plates, piping around the body, a portable winch, and many more features. They are willing to work with you and your needs. The truck might be what you’re looking for. They also just designed a backpack CAFS. It uses a backpack blower and a 1 inch hose line with a foam mix. It mixes in a nozzle they designed and it makes allot of foam. The Web-site links are:
    http://firematic.com/brat.htm
    http://firematic.com/portacafs.htm
    Last edited by XCAPT1; 02-07-2003 at 05:29 AM.

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    I saw the BRAT (along with a lot of brats, namely the 7yo's that wouldn't let me take a turn in the seat of FDNY R2 ) at the chief's show in Springfield, Mass.

    Very nice, and I'd like one. Only problem I'm sure is the cost. Any idea how much they run (roughly)?

    We are TIGHT on money for this project, which is why I'm thinking we aren't going to be able to purchase one from a fire company.
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    Default The BRAT

    Nice pic, but I'm wondering why someone would bother to put a nice paint job on a truck with a SUPER HEAVY DUTY brush guard over the lightbar...
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    Resq14

    My truck is the Selden truck. I think it was around $100,000. You never know though. I don't think they have one up by you so maybe they would work with you. They just sent their first one to PA. What's the worst thing that can happen if you talk to them? It doesn't work out.

    Killerb

    Are you talking about the Summerdale PA truck? My District Board said from the first day we got ours that it is a path truck unless it was absolutely necessary to push trees. It isn't a bad rule. It should help keep the truck around awhile.

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    That's a good looking brush truck, looks like who ever designed it knew a thing or two about off road work.

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    Default Freezing Question

    Here's a question for everyone who uses a skid mount pump in winter...

    What about freeze ups?

    14 and I were brainstroming with a few other FF'rs the other night and the thought occured that since there is a lot less water in the smaller plumbing, and the tank and plumbing tends to be more exposed than in a conventional truck, has anyone run these pumps in the winter and experianced freeze problems. My goal is have this thing respond on MVA's where it might be circulating water for 30-60 mintues w/o and attendant, will it freeze? Since this will be a 1st due structual call vehicle for certian locations we cannot take the pump out for the winter.

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