Thread: Philly's KME's

  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    14

    Default Philly's KME's

    I understand that Philadelphia has returned (As in will not be accepted.)to KME a mid-mount tower that was deleivered in 2002 due to nuumerous mechanical problems. And that they have cancelled an order for a second one.

    Does anyone have any info as to what problems they had that made them take such a drastic action?

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Berks County, PA
    Posts
    629

    Cool

    Who needs to know the specifics?? It's easy:

    Buy K-Mart Engineering and you get K-Mart quality, but at least you Keep your Mechanics Employed fixing your Krappy Mobile Equipment.

    When are these people gonna learn??

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ff7134's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,093

    Default

    I disagree with the comment about KME. We have 2 KME trucks and have never had any problems. They are by far better than any trucks bought around here. Two of our neighboring dept bought Pierce and E-One and have had nothing but problems. Every company will have a problem truck once in a while.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

    IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

    ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

    F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default A PLETHORA of problems.......

    As I understand it, it began with the newly delivered heavy rescue and the problems they had with it, and KME's hesitation to accept the problems as theirs.....Arguing back and forth between Detroit Diesel/Allison (the manufacturer of the engine and transmission) and KME....KME stated engine and tranny problems were DD/A's problem. DD/A claimed it was KME's fault as their products were installed incorrectly. Apparently DD/A finally proved that it was indeed KME's problem. That doesn't include all the other problems with the truck. Big surprise, huh?

    Then, the first tower was delivered and placed in service as Ladder Co. 22. Apparently at one of it's first working fires, where victims were hanging in windows, the electronic-over-hydraulic tower controls failed when the bucket brought the first group of saves to the ground. There it stayed until the job was brought under control, when a representative of Shop 2 was called to the scene to investigate. He was unable to determine the problem, so KME's rep was called. He stated to the Philadelphia Field Tech "Do this, this and this....It should work." The Philly Field Tech refused at the orders of someone higher up, stating that if "You break it, you buy it....And KME will say that YOU broke it, and you are not a KME Certified Tech. Rumor has it that this happened to some other Philly Techs when repairs were made to KME apparatus in Philly's shop. So The Philly Tech asked for a factory rep to come to Philly to repair the apparatus.....After arguing back and forth, KME finally sent a tech out. Then billed the city for approx. $2300. The city refused to pay, citing that the vehicle was still under warranty. KME's position was that the service rep told the tech what to do, releasing him from liability. Now it is a back-and-forth circus........Reminds me of the days back when Philly bought the E-One pumpers....Again, numerous problems from a garbage builder.....

    They never had the problems with the Seagrave Apparatus!

    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB!

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    93

    Default

    FWDbuff well put. Anyone ever wonder why FDNY buy Seagrave. Could it have anything to do with the quality of the truck??It proves you get what you pay for if you go cheap you end up with nothing but problems. If You want quality you have to spend a little more it will pay of in the long run. At my department we have late 80's Kme pumper and we were having some trouble with so we called Kme and they told us that truck is more than ten years old and it is still in use . that blew us away Needless to sy we have learned from our mistakes and bought a Seagrave and have had no problems and we talking about buing another because of the quality and durability of Seagrave!!!!
    Last edited by nrz2334; 07-22-2003 at 01:15 PM.
    nrz2334
    Just my view

    I would rather push my Seagrave than drive your Pierce!!

    TNT Rescue The Best!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,682

    Default

    Had a salesrep bring a brand new KME to a firehouse near me for guys to look at and see their spectacular quality. It had to be towed away on a low-boy trailer because of it's break down. Needless to say, not too many KME in my area. My company has 2 E-Ones, other company in town has 2 Pierces. I'll swear by all 4 of the trucks.

    If You want quality you have to spend a little more it will pay of in the long run.
    Too true.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    Oh my.........................77you gona chime in ?>
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    firenresq77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    5,213

    Default

    I was debating it Weruj1........


    Will probably later......

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    firenresq77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    5,213

    Default

    OK, here's our story.........

    We spec'd out a mini-pumper for my department. We sent it out for bid the first time and got 3 bids back. KME, a company in Indiana (RPI I believe) who sent us a bid 5 years ago when we looked at re-chassising our old one, and I think the 3rd was from Luverne. All bids were higher than we expected, so we threw them out and re-did our specs by taking some of the non-essential things out.

    We sent them out for bid and then found out we got a FIRE Act grant for $99,000, which was a little over 2/3 of the cost of the ones we initially spec'd . When we got those 2nd bids back, we only got 2. KME and RPI again. KME was the higher bid of the two. We had just recently (1-2 years prior)bought an engine from KME and had no problems with it, so we decided to go with them. And their bid was closer to what we spec'd out, anyways.

    So, the truck gets ordered in late 2002. We found out that we could no longer get the 2002 F-550 chassis that we spec'd because there weren't anymore available that had our requirements so we were going to get a 2003 chassis. The only differences we were told were that the engine was changed from the 7.3L diesel to a 6.0L that had more horsepower and the transmission changed from a 4 speed automatic to a 5 speed automatic electric transmission.

    Well, the pump we spec/d was a 500gpm pump. All other manufacturers said they could not put a pump that large in an automatic because you couldn't lock the transmission without voiding the warranty. I talked to some of the people we sent the spec to and that's why they never submitted a bid. They all basically told me that KME could do it because they are a Ford dealer and could handle the warranty work without it costing them.

    So KME received the chassis and since the transmission had changed, they didn't know how to lock it up so we could use the pump. That was the first major problem. They suggested getting a separate engine for the pump and we said no. That's not what we spec'd. So KME had to work to figure this out. Ford engineers basically said they weren't going to mess with trying to figure it out, and that they would figure it out when someone else did and told them how, which I can't blame Ford for that. They don't need to lock it up for anything.........

    KME finally figured it out after like 3-4 months, but could only get it to lock up in 3rd gear. They got it pumping 540+ gpm. Everything else went pretty good and we set up dates to go pick it up. It was set up for Thursday June 12, 2003 inspection and delivery. (Salesman would drive it back to our city after we left KME). Monday June 9, in the morning, the chief gets a call from the engineer at KME saying the truck is ready. So we leave on July 11 for the 8 hour drive out there and are there at the factory around 0800-0830 on Thursday the 12th. We sit in the conference room, and after 15-20 minutes in there, we get to go see the truck. As we walk through the factory and can see our truck in the distance, and we also see about 8 guys scrambling around our truck. Some of them are doing detailing things like polishing and such (which I can live with), but the majority of them are still working on it. Working on compartments. Putting the inner panels in. Installing the power locks on the compartments. Installing the latches......... We were not happy!! We were told on Monday morning that the truck was DONE!! Here it is Thursday and they are still working on it!!!

    We found some things that we didn't think were the way we spec'd them, but apparently they were. I think some changes were made, but that is a totally diferent story...... The RPM gauge on the pump panel didn't work. They told us it wasn't hooked up yet. They opened the panel and it was hooked up. It just didn't work. They put another one in, but it didn't have the hour meter on it like we wanted, so they said they would send us a new one. Some of the LED lights were burnt out. Our SCBA bracket in the back seat was not mounted to a pedestal like we thought. They fabricated a bracket that hooks over the back seat in the middle and has 2 brackets mounted on angles. The only thing that's supposed to hold it in place is the center seat belt, which we had to modify ourselves to hold it securely in place........

    We get everything done to put it in service and then more problems show up. We keep getting a low battery alarm....... alternator was blown after only having it for like 1 week......... The generator (CPU generator that is similar to an Auragen, where it attaches to the alternator) doesn't work. The one compartment door will not open. Some more LEDs are burnt out one time, then work later. Found some botches in the paint. One window has burn marks on the inside where someone was welding or grinding with the door open......

    The chief had a list of like 25 items that needed to be fixed. Plus he wanted them to put on 2 hitches (one in front and 1 on rear) and mount 2 mast lights (which we provided) for the inconvenience of not having our truck......... They said we would have it back in approx. 1 week.

    Well, the two weeks passed (I believe) and then that following weekend it was supposed to be in Columbus, OH for the Ohio Fire Chief's Conference. Well, it never made it. Apparently there were still some "shorts" in the electrical system. The conference goes to Wednesday 07-23-03 (which I believe is the 3 week mark). I believe the Chief is leaving there, and heading to Warren, OH to meet up with the salesmen and then continue on to Nesquehoning, PA to KME. My opinion, which I told the chief, is that if it isn't done correctly, we don't want it. They can eother build us a brand new one that is done correctly, or they can give us back the money and we can get one from somewhere else. Either way, they end up with a brand new lawn ornament, which they already have a couple of. (Actually if you go to their website and look under the used trucks, there is a white engine on there with a rear mounted pump that you can get for real cheap, because someone else had bought it, had all kinds of problems with it, returned it and demanded a new one.)


    Hopefully we will find out something soon and the truck will be fixed properly and will have no more problems. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, because I like the truck. If you want to see a picture of it, go to www.withthecommand.com and got to the "Hot Rigs" section and it is the Northwood Fire Department one.

    Now, I want to make it CLEAR that this post does not reflect the views of my fire department, the city I work for, or my co-workers. This is my story about our situation, and some of the things may not be exact, but that is a pretty good overview of the situation. I am in no way trying to bash KME, it's employees, the salesmen, or the comany they work for. I know there are going to be some problems every now and then from EVERY manufacturer, (yes even Seagrave), especially when the truck you have spec'd is a one-of-a-kind truck. (We were told that they have never build a truck like ours before. They have done mini-pumpers, but apparently none like ours)

    Sorry for the long post.......

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    R1SmokeEater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    City of Yonkers, N.Y.
    Posts
    34

    Cool

    I hear since the KME towers are out, not to be surprised to see ALF Towers in Philly real soon. Any truth to that rumor ?? I know they have an ALF Pumper order pending. Are the ALF's working out ????

  11. #11
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    14

    Default

    R1SmokeEater

    Philly ordered 14 ALF pumpers. I don't beleive they have started taking deleivery yet. As for replacing the two towers, they ordered two on an emergency PO from ALF to replace the KME's.

    Still trying to find out why they were returned! One thing that was passed on to me was that there were alot of problems with the proximity switches on the ladder and jacks. That there was so much play in them they could never get the switches set right.

  12. #12
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    2

    Talking KME'S AERIAL

    Being involed with the city, it is a shame to the erroneous information being disseminated around the industry. The tower did not respond to any working fires, it was barely in service. The calls it responded to, it could not get to, due to the size of the unit, it is not a tiller (witch it was to replace). Speaking of tillers, one less driver needed, the union was not happy over losing a driver. Station 22 was not happy having the neighboring departments tiller respond to the address they could not reach.

    I am not pro KME nor am I anti, but lets face it they build an awesome aerial.

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default Learn about Philly before posting!!!

    Jomamma- I hate to torpedo your post, but.....

    -Yes, indeded it did fail at a working box (Philly's terminology for an "All-Hands" job. I dont have the specifics but give me some time if you would like and I will get the date, time, AOF, and box number for you.

    -Ladder Company 22's first run area, though containing small residential streets, is primarily commercial/industrial. Maneuvering is a concern, but in their "local", not one of great concern. If they could not reach the AOF, they simply would have done what they have been doing for the last 50 years: park the rig, grab the ground ladders, and hoof it in to the scene. Since you dont know Philly, you dont know that the residential sections of Ladder 22's local are row neighborhoods....all they have to do is park the tub of sh*t at the end of the block and walk in less than an 8th or 10th of a mile.

    -Speaking of tillers and "drivers", you must have forgotten that Philadelphia does not have a "Driver" or a "Chauffer" or an "MPO" or a "FADO" or any of the other names that are out there for designated, rated drivers. In Philadelphia, Firefighters are trained for all positions, and rotate through regularly to maintain proficiency. Company officers rotate the lads every shift, some rotate every tour, some rotate by months, weeks, etc etc. Everyone gets a shot at being the wheelman. So therefore, no "drivers" were lost.

    -Where is Station 22? I never heard of it!!?? Ladder 22 is quartered with Engine Company 55 at Front and Luzerne Streets. If you are referring to Engine 22, a retirement home up in the far northeast, they would be MORE than willing to let any of the neighboring engine companies (engine 36, engine 62, engine 58) have their work since they are all 20 and 30 year vets and really could care less about giving up action because they were beat in by the second due. As for Ladder 22, being in North Philly, they (North Philly FF's) are so used to losing out on work to other companies because of so many shoe runs, it really doesnt matter. And Ladder 22 isn't a bunch of angels themselves- How many first-in's have the robbed from Ladder 12 over the years? Or Ladder 15? Or 18's? or 10's?

    "I am not pro KME nor am I anti, but lets face it they build an awesome aerial." Hmmmmmmm Sounds pro KME to me! if KME is such an awesome aerial, why did Philly have som many problems with theirs? What about the other departments having problems with theirs?

    Before you post again, learn about the department. Oh, and my information is verifiable through the office of AE-1. Since you know about Philly, you know who that is and what he does.

    Snake and R1Smokeater- Yes, 14 ALF Pumpers are on order. 12 will be of the standard Philly engine company design, and two will have rescue-pumer style bodies, as Philly is currently adapting two engine companies- Engine 72 and Engine 47 to become Squad companies. Their manning, equipment, responses and duties will be styled after FDNY's squad companies. I didnt hear about the two towers on the emergency PO, but I wouldnt be surprised.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 07-23-2003 at 05:58 PM.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Thumbs down

    smells like shinanigans to me !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  15. #15
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    2

    Default

    I want to congradulate FWDbuff on knowing Philly's acronyms. I would be hard pressed to see you supply me with the info where the KME ladder got "stuck". I would like to see 20-30 year vets run down the street with a 40' ladder that weighs close to 200 pounds. Carrying that heavy load for more than 2 blocks, the guys would not be able to do the job they love so much. I also don't think any truck company likes watching another truck company do their work, when they cannot get to the building (AOF).

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Well after reading all the replys in this web forum, i wanted to give a reply myself, And i will be very honest with everyone, i am within a 35 mile radius of the KME plant in Nesqhoning. My department owns two KME's a pumper and quint, which was recently delievered and had a few minor problems, but all was fixed right away and it is in service and running like a true CHAMPION. that is the WORLDS STRONGERS LADDER CHAMPION. our pumper is 11 years old and still runs like it did the day we got it. yes we did have some minor problems with it on delievery, but tell me anyone in the business that can deliever a fire truck and you not have problems with it, there is no one that can do that, so i think that is pretty unfair to bash KME in that aspect. Yes i have heard of SEAGRAVE'S have problems, i know of one that was delivered with the rear axle put in off center. so don't go out and say they are the best, when they are just like everyone else. Yes some people have better luck then others with appratus. it is all on your personal preference. As far as ladder's go, KME builds the worls strongest ladder, no one will tell me any different. i saw first hand the test they put there ladder through, no one, i mean no one in the industry will do that to there ladders what KME does to there's. and i will argue that point to the end. and if you don't believe me, call there plant. i am sure they would be more then interested to show you the test they do to there product, and guess what, after see that test, it puts your mind at rest knowing you are working on the strongest ladder in the industry, i know many will say the Baker is stronger, and a Baker is a strong ladder, but i still say a KME still will show more strength, or match it. and as far as the Philly trucks, i have a few points on them. First off What does the city really have to say about why they returned them. we can all sit here and say what we want, due to i know this one and i know this one and he told me that, but were was the City's offical statement on why they returned them. If the city puts a spec out for a vehicle, the manufactor must follow it. they just can't go build a truck and say here you go. no you have to follow the spec. another point is i have to think the union is very upset over this, i know i would be, losing one guy, damm right i be very upset, i dont' care what truck they gave me, i lose a guy, that is wrong. now were is the city's brains again taking a tiller and replacing it with a tower ladder, come on, your tiller is what you need in tight areas, not a tower ladder, put the truck in a section of the city were it is more open, not in a area where you have tillers all around you. Now do you blame KME for building the tower ladder. NO you blame the people who speced it. another question is how many firefighter on the job, working the vehicles, not driving chiefs around or working in the office, have a say in the vehicles the city buys, i would bet hardly none, and that is sad people. when a city goes and buys a vehicle with out no input from the people in the station it is going to, they are people who have to use it and work it every day. not the people in city hall. So yes i agree sometimes dealing with KME is a little tough, but i have to say i never ever ever had any problems with my KMES and there are a lot in service around me and i know a lot of people who own them, and you can't please everyone. i had the chance to see the tower ladder for philly, very very impressive vehicle. vehicle was solid as a rock from what i saw. it was sad that it could not work were the city wanted it to work, and that is bad planning on the citys behalf, not KME, everyone wants to slam KME, i think the city should make a offical statement on why they were returned. and if it was not on KME's fault, i think KME should make the city take the two rigs, they had to sign a contract to buy them, make them take them, you can't give back a car that easy, how can you give back a fire truck that easy, How well does the City like there ALf Tiller's????? how do the firefighters who use them like them???? So as i have said we have our own personal preference on what we like. some prefer KME, some prefer E-ONE, some prefer PIERCE, A lot of purchases go on cost today, remember bidding, and guess what in todays fire service, money is the bottom line, low bid and go, there is no research, low bid is the final answer and that is it. So in closing before you bash a KME. go and learn how it works and how it is built. don't play quarterback and not know the game. go up to KME, i know for one thing. and i give them credit for this, they are truely a custom build vehicle, at least when you go to KME you don't get given a catalog and say here are you choices, no you want to design the vehicle you want, not what just people have to offer, and that is one thing KME will do. they don't build out of catologs, they build what you want and how you want it. and the nicest part is that it is firefighers building trucks for firefighters. you get to interact with the people who are litteraly building your truck, not have to stand behind a line and see it go buy. and if you have a idea for your vehicle the guys building the truck may have a better idea that will work for you, something you did not even think of. that is what i like, to be able to get right in there with the peole who are building your truck, now that is custom building. and that is something you have to respect, and i along with many many other customers thank KME for that, so you can call them what you want and tell stories about them all you want, but i am sure KME is not going away, it will just make them get stronger and bigger,

  17. #17
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    One exception: KME is not the strongest, i.e. highest payload ladder. KME offers up to 1000lb dry tip loads. Pierce goes to 1500lb dry. KME drops to 500lb flowing, Pierce only drops to 1250lb while flowing. Both offer 50mph wind rating and 2:1 safety rating, which says KME 2000lb, Pierce 3000lb. There's no way that KME puts more weight on in testing than Pierce, otherwise they'd advertise 3:1 or more safety rating. I thought E-One went to 1000lb as well, but their web site only shows 750lb. Their 2.5:1 safety rating takes theirs up to 1875lbs. So KME is 500lb short on being the sturdiest.

    True, everyone has their problems. The last guy to walk around here that was perfect got nailed to a cross, so it's mighty unreasonable to expect perfection out of anyone. And true, if the city spec'd a tower where only a tiller would fit, that's their poor planning. But when the truck fails mechanically, it's not. And going by the previous posts only, those two trucks failed over and over. And going by the standard contracts that you mentioned, that is the only way that they can be given back and a refund given to the city, which has also happened. So for Philly to not have those trucks and not have had to have paid for them, KME did give them a refund. Hence, the trucks did not perform.

    We have a 95 KME pumper. The underpowered motor was by spec. Wasn't meant to be underpowered, but 300HP just doesn't cut it, as everyone found out after delivery. Not a manufacturer problem, it was built as spec'd. But the constant light outages, shorts, bolts falling off, and alternator failing, is another story. Are there KMEs out there that run like there's no tomorrow? Sure, everyone has those. Are there lemons? Everyone has those too.

    The dicussion here was about the trucks failing and being returned. It is not a union issue that they failed. The strategic decision to go with towers instead of tillers, could be taken as an attempt to have at least one less FF per truck. I grew up outside Philly and a few years ago I had some work on my house done and the guy who came to work on it had just retired from PFD L23. He said after 27 years, they had gone from 6 on an engine and 7 on a ladder to 3 and 4 respectively. Since you can't get much lower than that without violating NFPA, I think the manpower was cut long before these trucks were bought.

    Are KMEs crap? Overall I don't think any manufacturer builds all crap. On the other hand no manufacturer is without problems either. The issue here was were these two trucks crap, and that answer seems to be yes. Trucks failing on the fireground repeatedly are crap, and need to go back, no matter whose name is on them. All KMEs are not crap, all E-Ones are not crap, Pierce, ALF, etc, etc. All have problem trucks, all have great trucks. Create a basic spec, send it out, and see what comes back from everyone. Not everyone does everything so don't sell yourself short by not looking at someone for a truck.

    Brian
    Brian P. Vickers
    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
    Emergency Services Consulting
    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default Reinforce my original post!

    BC79er, you seem to have taken some items out of context. Allow me to clear them up, and also to re-inforce my previous posts. Also for the benefit of jomamma.

    1. Jomamma stated: "I would like to see 20-30 year vets run down the street with a 40' ladder that weighs close to 200 pounds. Carrying that heavy load for more than 2 blocks, the guys would not be able to do the job they love so much."

    -The 20 and 30 year vets would not have to do that, because, as I explained in a previous post, the 20 and 30 year guys are all assigned to the section of the city called "The Far Northeast." The NE borders Bucks and Montgomery Counties. The Far NE has wide, open streets, with plenty of room for any type of apparatus. However, since the far NE is primarily residential; mostly single family dwellings, "twins" and what we call "Rows", and of course the garden apartment buildings rarely rising above 4 stories, all of the Ladder Companies in the NE (Lets see if I can remember them: L31, L34, L20) are assigned ALF tillers. The only exception to that is Ladder 28, which is assigned an 85' Snorkel. Jomamma also stated: "I also don't think any truck company likes watching another truck company do their work, when they cannot get to the building (AOF)". Of course not- except the vest in the far northeast could care less if they ever see another job again. They wont lose out, though, because there is plenty of room for ladder companies in the NE. As for North Philly and the rest of the city: The younger guys will hump ground ladders and tools before they lose out to another company! If they have to, they'll put the stick to the roof at "the end of the row" and walk across roofs to the "AOF".

    Now, you guys may ask, "Why are they assigning a tiller to a company that has wide streets? Wouldnt it make more sense to put the buckets in those areas"? Two reasons:
    -1. The all-time biggie: MONEY. When Philly spec'd the ALF tillers the first time (there are currently two "batches" in service) ALF gave them such a reasonable price, that they were able to purchase more vehicles, since at the time, the Seagrave rearmounts were just about beat sh*tless, and the Seagrave tillers were rapidly approaching 10 years old.
    -2. Tactics: Philadelphia has always been a "stick" city, as most of the Ladder Companies were and are sticks. The exception to this is the buckets that are in service in the areas where a bucket would be of more tactical value. Currently (again if memory serves) bucket companies are: L2 (Snorkel)L4 (Mack Scope) L5 (Snorkel) L18 (Mack Scope) L28 (Snorkel). All of these companies, plus L6, and L22 have always been historically (back to the 70's and 80's) buckets. L6 had a Mack Scope; they are running with a Tiller. Tactically speaking, the buckets are strategically placed around the city to allow an even "blanket" even if it means putting them in areas where they may not be of greatest maneuverability.

    About the "drivers being lost": Never happened. Here is my reply to that, cut and pasted from a previous post:
    "-Speaking of tillers and "drivers", you must have forgotten that Philadelphia does not have a "Driver" or a "Chauffer" or an "MPO" or a "FADO" or any of the other names that are out there for designated, rated drivers. In Philadelphia, Firefighters are trained for all positions, and rotate through regularly to maintain proficiency. Company officers rotate the lads every shift, some rotate every tour, some rotate by months, weeks, etc etc. Everyone gets a shot at being the wheelman. So therefore, no "drivers" were lost."

    As for KME, and their quality: Firenresq 77's post pretty much sums up why they are such a low-quality builder. KME is more concerned with numbers: Get them out the door! We have to catch up with Pierce and E-One! (E-One also suffers from the quantity, not quality bug)They are only concerned with building trucks as quickly as possible. Their technicians are constantly rushed by supervisors, resulting in sloppy work and poor quality. As for trucks within the state of Pa, the commonwealth of Pa offers tax breaks to any customer in the state of Pa wishing to purchase a KME, because KME is an in-state builder. The commonwealth, therefore, has a stated interest in the quality of KME's. This is why KME is so much more attentive to Pa trucks, especially ones within 100 miles of the factory! Who wants their nightmares to come back to haunt them time and time again? I know of so many out of state (and IN STATE) KME's for that matter that are such total pieces of garbage, I dont even want to begin. Their Warranty department is so overworked, that guys are working Saturdays and Sundays sometimes!

    Yes, all manufacturers have their problems. But why is it that two builders seem to always get bashed on here? KME and E-One need to learn Quality first, then Quantity. Pierce has problems, but seems to be catching on to this idea!

    (Off my soapbox.)

    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB

  19. #19
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    Actually, I agree with you FWDBuff. I was countering MrFireman's post.

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default Hmmmmmmmm......

    MrFireman78's statement got the better of my curiosity. So yesterday, I contacted the City of Philadelphia Procurement office, municipal vehicle, emergency services subsection, to see just what the city's official postion was on the matter. I inquired as to why the city returned the first tower, and cancelled the order for the second tower. I was told, that "Due to ongoing litigation with Kovatch Mobile Equipment, we can not comment on the matter."

    And I thought I would comment on his statement regarding how the firefighters probably had no say in the matter when spec'ing out new equipment. MrFireman78 you couldnt be more wrong! Apparatus Spec'ing comes under the office of AE-1 (Apparatus and Equipment). This is a field captain, who is either on light duty, or agrees to take the desk spot, in order to do exactly that- spec and obtain new equipment. The KME's were spec'd by AE-1, with the assistance of firefighters from the current companies that operate the snorkels and tower ladders. From what I understand, they wanted Pierce or ALF to begin with.....But, as I stated in a previous post, since Pa allows a tax break for in-state purchases, the bean counters down at Broad and Market stomped on Pierce and ALF!

    And word on the street....from the soldiers in the trenches....apparently the KME pumpers cant hold a match to the Seagrave pumpers!

    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    and the fun continues......................counter point ?
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  22. #22
    Forum Member
    firenresq77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    5,213

    Default

    Well, I have found out through the grape vine that I have ruffled some feathers.

    For those who took offense......... Go back and re-read my post. Re-read my disclaimer...... I was not bashing KME. I was not bashing anybody. My post was a recount of events that happened with a vehicle we purchased. It doesn't matter who manufactured the truck. It could have been Pierce, E-One, Seagrave, Luverne, or Joe Blow's Shop down the street, and I still would have posted the problems we have/had. I apologize if you took offense to it, but there was no bashing involved.........


    Also, for those of you who feel I have been harsh or bashing anyone, just contact me via my email address. I would be more than happy to talk to you about it.

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    11

    Default Just asking a question

    This is in reply to FWDBuff. i have a few quesitons and maybe you can find out for me, On the tiller that the KME tower was replacing, and correct me if i am wrong, but there should be five guys working that truck, how many guys were going to work the new tower ladder??? from the story i got, and it is just a story, not sure the truth, but they only were going to put 4 guys on the new tower ladder. another question, When the tower ladder was delievered, i understand it was taken to the fire academy and ran through a series of test, which i heard problems were found and fixed by KME, is that correct??? and i think the biggest issue here from what i was told, is manpower, losing that fifth guy, and guess what, i don't blame the firefighters one bit for hating the truck, that is true union brotherhood there, and i agree with them 100%, i would not want to lose a brother firefighter, just wondering if you can shed some light on this for me, and if that is not the case, so be it, that is something KME and the City has to battle out. and my whole thought is if KME built them to what the city speced, they should have to take them, and i think any manufactor would be the same way, you signed the contract, and if they went through acceptance test and passed, even more reason they should have to take them, at least the one that is built.

  24. #24
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default Answers to 'da questions:

    1. ALL ladder companies in Philadelphia, regardless of type (Stick, Bucket.....) are assigned an officer and four firefighters. I have heard of no plans whatsoever to reduce staffing. In fact, it didnt even come up in the last contract negotiations. HOWEVER, it is not an uncommon thing for the fourth firefighter to be "detailed" to another company, like across the floor to an engine company within the same house. Minimum staffing for both engines and ladders is an officer and three.

    A past practice, which was defeated by Local 22 through arbitrated bargaining, was the establishment of "Task Forces." These were an engine and ladder in the same house, operating with both pieces, and one officer and seven firefighters. The remaining officer and firefighters were detailed out to other, lower staffed companies. This was a dangerous practice and is no longer allowed, much to the dismay of fire administration.

    2. The tower, (as are ALL new apparatus deliveries) was taken to the PFA and ran through a series of tests, set up to not only examine the piece, but to familiarize the company being assigned the new apparatus. I understand that yes, there were a multitude of problems which KME alledgedly repaired.

    3. Again, there is NO loss of personnel. I dont know who or what your source is, but the information is not accurate. The detailing of the fourth firefighter is a practice as old as the 5 man ladder companies themselves.

    4. I agree with you wholeheartedly- The city should and must accept any piece built to their specification, which in this case, the KME tower was built to the PFD spec. Any city, municipality, bourough, etc etc etc should accept any piece that is built to their specifications. BUT....(and heres the big BUT)

    The vehicle that was delivered was done so with the understanding that it was delivered with a warranty. And that the manufacturer, according to the signed contract, was supposed to honor said contract and said warranty. There was no implied warranty, this was a new vehicle, with low mileage, hardly used. It failed time after time, and Philadelphia simply grew tired of paying close to 1.3 million dollars for a Heavy Rescue with multiple problems, and brand new ladder that they juct cant get right. Place this on top of all the problems that they had in the past with the engines, and therein lies the answers to the questions of why they returned one ladder and said "We'll see you in court" when it came time to cancel the second ladder.

    Going through and passing an acceptance test is no reason to force an apparatus down someones throat. It could have passed the test with flying colors- and the minute the factory rep left the city limits, it could have fallen apart. This is the reason we have warranties. It also falls to something called "Reasonable Expectation." The city of Philadelphia has a reasonable expectation, upon payment for, and in receipt of goods or services, for said goods or services to follow through within a reasonable amount of time, within specification, and within contract. The city has a reasonable expectation to receive merchandise or goods, that will operate for a reasonable amount of time, without breakdown or downtime. Should there be mechanical breakdown, the manufacturer should honor their warranty, so as long as the city did not abuse or mistreat the product. In this case, due to the fact that the KME tower was OUT of service MORE than it was IN service, abuse of the device was not possible!

    Read my previous quote: "I inquired as to why the city returned the first tower, and cancelled the order for the second tower. I was told, that "Due to ongoing litigation with Kovatch Mobile Equipment, we can not comment on the matter." That to me says it all....That KME has failed somehow within Philly's Reasonable Expectations....

    GRAVEVINE RUMOR WARNING: This is strictly rumor, take it as such!!! Apparently one of the major problems is KME's Electronic-over-Hydraulic outrigger and tower controls. More than one company (includng several volunteer companies) have had numerous problems with these. Apparantly the only fix that works is to REPLACE THE ENTIRE system which costs thousands. If KME replaces one customers, they have to replace them all!!!!

    Mrfireman78 I hope this answers your questions. Stay safe!

    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB!

  25. #25
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,401

    Default I guess Philly isn't the only city that has to sue......

    Keeps Mechanics Employed strikes again!

    East Providence, Rhode Island Sues Truck Maker KME
    ............

    Firehouse.Com News

    The City of East Providence, Rhode Island filed a law suit in Providence County Superior Court claiming breach of contract and breach warranty against specialty vehicle and fire truck manufacturer KME of Nesquehoning, Pa.

    According to Acting City Manager William Conley Jr., five trucks that the city ordered and took possession of in September of 2002 were, over the next year, out of service 224 days for various repair needs. The city paid $2.5 million for the apparatus.

    The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, January 7. Phil Gerace, Director of Sales and Marketing for KME said on Thursday they planned to talk with representatives of East Providence on Friday to try and clear things up. But Acting city manager William Conley Jr., on Friday afternoon said the city was proceeding with the lawsuit. "We want the problem solved," Conley said, indicating the Friday conversation with KME had not caused them to change their approach to the problem.

    Gerace said the problems up to this point are a direct result of a misrouted letters and miscommunication that they became aware of on Thursday. As for the Friday discussion, Gerace said, "We have issued them a proposal for resolution and they seem positive about it and we will see next week." He said they talked with Conley and Fire Chief Joseph G. Castro Jr.

    Gerace also provided a statement from John J. Kovatch III, President of KME: "KME completely stands behind our units and we are ready to make any necessary warranty repairs. Somehow communications have gone astray between KME and the City including the misrouting of at least one letter, but we are confident that the problems can be resolved in a positive and timely manner."

    Chief Castro, not wanting to comment now that the suit is filed, said nothing had changed because of Friday’s conversation with KME. According to WJAR TV, officials said the fire trucks had electrical problems, generator problems, pump problems and fuel leaks.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register