1. #1
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    Default top mount pump panels

    I am a strong advocate of top mount pump panels we have 2, 1 side mount, and about to purchase a rescue pumper, I prefer a top mount any give day,gives you better visibility on location of a working job, you can see what lines are being pulled, a few feet to either side and you can see whats going on, some of the newer trucks are a lot bigger you cant see the entire hosebed, but in the long run I prefer top mount pump panels. For those who have worked both, which do you prefer?
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    For us, located in a rural, resort area, I wouldn't even consider anything but a top mount. As you pointed out, visibility is one of the best advantages.

    In the winter, we end up quite often in a driveway with our main engine set up for attack. There is snow banks on either side so it makes it much easier for our pump operator to stand on the truck instead of in the snow. When using the engine at a draft site it makes it much easier when the operator can see the water tenders that are being filled. It also keeps your pump operator away from the hose connections on the side of the truck should one fail for some reason.

    If there is one drawback I can think of, it's if the operator is alone, they must climb up and down from the panel to change or add hose lines. I'm sure I would have some other cons to add if I was running on a city dept., hopefully some of those brothers can help you out.

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    [ I'm sure I would have some other cons to add if I was running on a city dept., hopefully some of those brothers can help you out. [/B][/QUOTE]

    Actually my Dept. runs about 90 percent "top mounted" engines. The older ones that aren't are being replaced with new top mounts. I think they work great and have yet to find any real problems with them. Sure it makes the rig longer but you get used to making it fit in tight places.

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    We looked at the top mounts that are on the market. Our departments feeling was to remain with the side panel and keep the length of the apparatus as short as possible.

    I can see where they may be some some benefit. I can see the MPO, would be climbing up and down probably more than walking around the pumper would take a toll on the knees and legs, if you were not use to it. Plus, there is always the hazard of slipping and being injuried. I don't see large major fire departments breaking down the doors buying them. I still beleive that the old American LaFrance, right side pump operator panel were great. However, everything now has revolved to the left or top.

    Emergency One and now Pierce makes a rear pump panel pumper. Fairfax County, Virginia, is a big user of the Emergency One's rear pump panel rides.

    Just my perspective on this subject.



    Stay Safe & Well out there.....

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    My dept. has three top mount engines. I am like every other advocate of the top mount pump panel. I like to see whats happening all around the engine.

    Our truck obviously had to have a side mount panel. I have only had to pump it once, but i think it takes practice by you and your attack crews, and a lot more radio communication, especially if you are working on the officer side of the truck.

    Our new interface truck that will get here next month will be a side mount, only because we wanted to keep overall length down to a minimum. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

    If you have the space, and can keep overall length of the engine down to a minimum, top mount I think is the way to go.

    If you work in downtown denver or chicago, I would want as short of a truck as possible to be driven through traffic, which is were the side mount would apply, besides thats what has worked for them for years. granted there are guys that drive platforms downtown. I can't imagine taking our platform through downtown traffic. driving our platform on normal roads can get nailbiting as is.

    Also, I have seen the American La France side/top mount panels, is anyone else familiar w/ these. They look like a smaller version of a top mount, turned ninety degress, and up off the ground. You raise a bar and step up into a small walkway, roll up a door, and there is your pump panel, very interesting, wasnt very roomy though.
    Last edited by Svfman; 03-09-2004 at 12:13 PM.

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    If you are keeping your top mounts as primary firefighting vehicles, then I would go with a side mount for the rescue pumper, or even a rearmount, and keep the wheelbase shorter.

    On the fire ground, isolating the pump operator and giving him/her a platform with a better view is a good thing. If you are going with a rescue pumper as a manpower saver during a MVA, then the person running the pump may also be a step and fetch it, and having to climb up and down may be a pain in the rear.

    For firefighting, again, I love top mounts. For a rescue pumper, I'd look elsewhere.

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    Maybe it's just me, but I kind of feel a sence of safety having a side-mounted pump. Ya know, being up there on top, your open to everything than can be thrown at ya. Whereas if there is an explosion, there in a lot of steel infront of you to keep the heavy and sharp objects away witha side mount. That is, if your parked away from the blaze. As far as seeing what's going on; our hose lines are all different color for each cross lay. So all they have to do is radio back to shut down or up the pressure on the blue, or red; etc. Maybe it wouldn't work in all settings, but I've never ran into a problem with it. Unless you get a guy who is too lazy to find another section of yellow hose and adds an orange and green section to the load. Usually the panel is set up facing the staging area or the fire itself, so I'd be willing to try a top-mount.

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    Originally posted by blueeighty88
    Maybe it's just me, but I kind of feel a sence of safety having a side-mounted pump. Ya know, being up there on top, your open to everything than can be thrown at ya. Whereas if there is an explosion, there in a lot of steel infront of you to keep the heavy and sharp objects away witha side mount. That is, if your parked away from the blaze. As far as seeing what's going on; our hose lines are all different color for each cross lay. So all they have to do is radio back to shut down or up the pressure on the blue, or red; etc. Maybe it wouldn't work in all settings, but I've never ran into a problem with it. Unless you get a guy who is too lazy to find another section of yellow hose and adds an orange and green section to the load. Usually the panel is set up facing the staging area or the fire itself, so I'd be willing to try a top-mount.

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    I have worked with side mounts, top mounts & rear mount pump panels. I myself prefer the side mounts. I have never been to a fire where I've run it with all the seats in the truck full or with an ideal number of firefighters. So, needless to say, the engineer is doing this and doing that. The top mount requires too much up & down just to get a line going. You cannot control the inlets (on the engines I've worked) from the top. The rear mount is a pain in the *****. The side mount is the most ideal I believe and the most safest.

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    WE are a rural FD and I would have nothing but a topmount. It's hard as heck to pump from the wrong side of the truck when you can't place it like you need to. I like the visibility of the topmount and the safety factor, esp. when working car fires on the highway.
    It's also nice to be away from all of those hose couplings. When pump testing a truck one day, I had a 2 1/2" coupling to fail at 150 PSI.
    Would not have been a pretty picture if I hab been standing at a side mount pump panel. (Scary thing is that the hose that failed had been tested the day before!)
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    First of all, what do you mean when you say "rescue pumper"? If your going to use it as we do, that is an ALS first reponse medical unit, then you would want to keep the wheelbase as short as possible. That would dictate a side mount panel.

    Thats not to say you cant get a short top mount, but to do so you have to give up either cab space or compartment space.

    We have a 1984 Pierce Dash top mount that was purchased before we went to ALS rescue engines. Its great for working at a fire, but we are unable to get all the equipment on it that we need to carry due to the short compartments. When we use it, we have to remove some firefighting gear to fit all the medical equipment on that we are required to have.

    When it came time to buy a new engine, none of the builders we contacted could build us one with a top mount pump AND with the compartment space we needed without having an unexceptable wheelbase.

    If its some other type of rescue, extrication for example, or you fight more fires than you perform rescue and length isnt a concern then by all means, go with the top mount.

    Dave

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    I'll go with top mount as the preferred type. Have used both though, seems if your on the ground someone wants something high off the truck. If your on the truck you have to get down to get something. I wouldn't use that as a factor in what to buy.

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    I would prefer top mount since it has more advantages and the biggest thing would probably be no matter which direction you park the truck you can still see whats going on. Our 2 engines are top mounts, our mini pumper and AERIAL are side mounts.
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    Originally posted by mtfd102
    For us, located in a rural, resort area, I wouldn't even consider anything but a top mount. As you pointed out, visibility is one of the best advantages.


    If there is one drawback I can think of, it's if the operator is alone, they must climb up and down from the panel to change or add hose lines. I'm sure I would have some other cons to add if I was running on a city dept., hopefully some of those brothers can help you out.
    Our Jrs or explorers basic handle the hooking up of hose,the operator basically just watches them to make sure what is being hooked up. They main stay right there at the pump panel.
    If we don't do it nobody else will!!!!

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    2 of our pumpers have enclosed pump panels...I love them because not only are they warm during the winter...But i find it much quieter inside the cab and easier to hear radio talk..Some say they don't like it because they find it lowers scene visability..I don't find this at all..Guess its personel preferece..Also one of our tankers has an Open Top Mount panel..I love that truck....Minus the temp during the winters but thats easy to fight through

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by blueeighty88
    Maybe it's just me, but I kind of feel a sence of safety having a side-mounted pump. Ya know, being up there on top, your open to everything than can be thrown at ya. Whereas if there is an explosion, there in a lot of steel infront of you to keep the heavy and sharp objects away witha side mount. That is, if your parked away from the blaze. As far as seeing what's going on; our hose lines are all different color for each cross lay. So all they have to do is radio back to shut down or up the pressure on the blue, or red; etc. Maybe it wouldn't work in all settings, but I've never ran into a problem with it. Unless you get a guy who is too lazy to find another section of yellow hose and adds an orange and green section to the load. Usually the panel is set up facing the staging area or the fire itself, so I'd be willing to try a top-mount.

    Woo Hoo! My first Post, I feel special.
    Wow!! Ive been on the the fire company for 21 years, have had more fire trucks than explosions. Only one explosion while on location.
    most of our buildings sit back may 30-40 yards from the street, so the units can go right in front of the structures. What happens if you are pumping on the same side of the engine as the fire building,
    If an explosion occurs you are not protected.

    As far as using the radio to tell the driver what your getting, we live in a county where we have 80 plus fire companies with 5 channels, at any given time all channels may be in use. We do not use the radio unless it is neccessary, its a lot easier to tell the operator what you are pulling off. your only a couple of yards away. away or have the jrs or explorers relay the message.

    I've pumped both top and side,I find the top mount more efficient.
    never tried the rear mount.
    Last edited by hotboy; 03-10-2004 at 12:59 AM.
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    Originally posted by Dave1983
    First of all, what do you mean when you say "rescue pumper"? If your going to use it as we do, that is an ALS first reponse medical unit, then you would want to keep the wheelbase as short as possible. That would dictate a side mount panel.

    Thats not to say you cant get a short top mount, but to do so you have to give up either cab space or compartment space.

    We have a 1984 Pierce Dash top mount that was purchased before we went to ALS rescue engines. Its great for working at a fire, but we are unable to get all the equipment on it that we need to carry due to the short compartments. When we use it, we have to remove some firefighting gear to fit all the medical equipment on that we are required to have.

    If its some other type of rescue, extrication for example, or you fight more fires than you perform rescue and length isnt a concern then by all means, go with the top mount.

    Dave
    A rescue pumper is rescue squad with a pump. Ours is not Als or Bls. tools would include the Jaws,Saws,Lifteres,Stoke Baskets and numerous other Forcible Entry Tools,Rope,portable hydrant,lights. and Cribbiing Blocks, We have Paramedics and Als responding with Mutual Aid. Our new piece would be basic vehicle rescue, for extrication ,confined space rescue,and etc. We are going to put an airbank on it also, Length is not a concern.
    Last edited by hotboy; 03-10-2004 at 01:20 AM.
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    I've worked side & top mount pumps and prefer top mounts. It's nice to be able to see what's going on. If my crew is coming back for new bottles or for a tool, I can see em headed my way and find out what they need. I can also be another pair of eyes for the IC as far as watching conditions etc.

    Like 46truck said, most of ours are top mounts. There are a few stations that can't get the the new top mount engines in the bay. I don't know if the city will eventually buy new engines with side panels or elect to correct the bay length. For now they still run older side mounts. Knowing the city they will spend millions replacing/rebuilding stations rather than just buying some new engines that are side mount.
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    With top mounts it's easier to see the fireground but isn't that the job of the IC not the pump operator? With a top mount you are totally reliant on the guages on the panel. With a side mount I can keep my knee on the five inch off the hydrant and know how much more or less water I can get. I like all the modern do dads we put on pump controls nowdays but things do go wrong. Just give me a throttle and some valves and I'll make it work.

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    As most everyone has said, go with the top mount. We have 2 top mount, enclosed pump panel engines and will not get anything but from now on.

    The top mount, enclosed pump panel is great. You stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry. Your visability is superb, your protected from distractions on the fireground by people coming up and asking things, etc. It is a lot quieter than standing outside the noisy engine. It also leaves more room on the side of the engine for storage compartments, etc.

    I have worked both and nothing compares to the top mount enclosed panel. The only drawback is that it is a little more expensive.

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  21. #21
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    Never used a side mounted pump, we have 2 top mounts. I like them for most of the aforementioned reasons. There is something (and I am sure it is due to unfamilliarity of it) about not being able to see what is going on on the other side of the side mount pump, but obviously people use them everyday. I like the visibilty of the top mount also. Rear ones .........also being discussed here http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=56907
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    I'll reiterate

    Rescue pumper - go with side mount or rear mount especially if you are keeping the current top mounts as your main line engines.

    That is, if you are going rescue pumper as a man power saver

    The extra two feet that having a top mount can be taken off to shorten the wheelbase, making the rig much more manueverable - which is important at a MVA scene. You can always position the rig so that the pump operator can see the scene.

    Or, you can keep the same wheel base as the top mount and add another storage compartment on each side.

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    My two pennies worth from New Zealand.

    We don't use top mount panels, and possibly never will. I will reverse the pump sides so I do not confuse you what drives on the wrong side of the road.

    With a right side pump panel, the operator is on the protected side of the truck by the simple action of swinging the appliance towards the kerb then out to leave the truck at an angle across the road.

    Especially impotant for your rescue units at MVA's.

    By running all lines of the panel curved to the front of the appliance the operator can stand behind the lines to operate the pump in safety. Any line blowing off will whip forward and away from the operator.

    Operator rule #1. Never stand over a charged line. (Bad for breeding)

    Operator rule #2. Never stand exposed to traffic to operate a pump. (Bad for longevity)

    Operator rule #3. Always have the fireground radio switched on.
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    Have worked exclusivley side-mounts or front-mounts 24 of my 25 years in the fire service. The department I am on now runs will all top-mounts, which is about all you see in this part of Louisiana and I am just getting used to them. While they do have the advantage of 360 degree vision I still prefer the side mount, for a number of reasons. Primary reason is during daytime operations when we are very shorthanded it it much easier for me to leave the pump for short times to assist in other operations. Also I like to make all my own pump connections, which is much easier on a side-mount. Finally I like to be able to feel my hoses, my suction lines from the portable pump to gauge my residual pressure situation. This can also be handy on incoming supply lines. Guess I just don't trust gauges and like to have a backup to my ears.
    We all have our preferences.

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