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Thread: Tankers

  1. #1
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    Angry Tankers

    Just curious if anyone knows of some good websites or literature that our department could use to research number one, why purchasing a tanker truck from the likes of E1 or Pierce, etc. would be a much better idea rather than purchasing a truck and throwing a water tank on it. Second, benefits of a tanker/pumper vs. just a tanker?

    Thanks!


  2. #2
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    You can go to a city that uses street flushers and buy an old used on, convert it to a tanker!

    If you are serious about putting a tanker (mobile water carrier), and want it to be certified as such, then you have to follow the NFPA standards for tankers. It has to be built to these standards to meet ISO and other standards.

    Just getting a heavy duty chassis and putting a "tank" on it doesn't mean that it is a tanker. It must meet all state and local requirements to be license to be operated on the street.

    The are several place where you can buy older used fire apparatus. One comes in mind. The url is www.firetrucksplus.com

    This would be a start until the department can afford a newer tanker.

    You can buy a Pumper/Tanker combination. One thing you have to be careful when you do this, is the weight! Will it be too heavy to cross some bridges in your area?

    Just some things to think about when you start buidling a vehicle.

    Going with a nationally known company such as Pierce or Emergency One, is far better than trying to reinvent the wheel!!!


    Stay Safe & Well out there......

  3. #3
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    Default I hear ya!

    I know what you are saying, the issue is that we have a member of the commission that feels that a tanker truck would be just fine if purchased the tanker with a heavy duty chassis and place a tank on it. We have the money available, that isn't an issue, what I am looking for is some good hard facts, that are published in response to your suggestions about not meeting NFPA, etc.

    Thanks!!!!!!

  4. #4
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    Wink You Need Deep South!

    Travis,

    I am sure you know and hope your board of directors knows the importance of specing and purchasing fire apparatus...especially tankers.

    When it comes to any firetruck, you want something cost effective, which will be reliable, and last many years...This last one is very important for small departments. I recommend you check out Deep South Fire Truck sales. They sell new & reconditioned apparatus and I hear many good things about them. I know that the departments around my area of Missouri have been 2 and even 3 time return customers to this company out of Mississippi because of their excellent service, great apparatus and good prices. Their reconditioned apparatus are new tankers on a reconditioned chassis from the middle to late 90's and even some early 2000's.

    One last thing...IMHO...you don't buy any truck that carries water and not put a pump on it...ESPECIALLY NOT A TANKER! Even if it is just a 500 gpm pump or even a 1500 gpm pump like your best pumper in the fleet, you atleast need some type of pump on it. Pumper tankers come in handy in relays, multiple alarms, brush and woods fires, tanker shuttles, car accidents, hazmat scenes...You name it, and you've got an opportunity for your tanker to do some good some way, somehow.

    Here is there link...I know for a fact that one of the fire departments I have been speaking of bought TWO 2003 Chevy/Kodiak 2000 gal/1500 gpm tanker pumpers on a 1994 Kodiak Heavy Duty Chassis from Deep South for $100,000. I know that seems like a lot, but it's really not for two GREAT front-line apparatus. And let me tell you, they kick some butt with these tankers.

    Nixa Fire District Tanker 1

    It is a combination department, with several apparatus and these tankers roll on brush fires, structure fires, and other calls. These two new tankers replaced 4 old and outdated tankers. This particular department also will be going back to Deep South this year to purchase 2 brand new pumpers and 1 new 75' Quint. Apparently, they like the service Deep South provides!

    Good Luck, and research ALL of your options before anyone makes a decision. Spec it out, but remember, it doesn't need ALL OF THE TOP NOTCH BELLS & WHISTLES TO BE A GREAT TRUCK!

    Deep South Fire Trucks
    LREngine135
    Firefighter/EMT-B


    All things I say...while not always making sense are ALWAYS my opinion and only mine. They do not reflect the opinions of any department of which I am a member.

  5. #5
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    Exclamation

    Travis,

    I would look right here on this site for stories on how apparatus got into accidents. A truck designed to be a fire truck with the correct baffles is just that, a fire truck. Anything that is not designed to be a fire truck is a HUGE liability to the department.

    You do not necessarily need to buy the truck from a large manufacturer but a quality one that builds to the NFPA 1901 spec.

  6. #6
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    Default

    My reasoning for going to a reputable manufacturer would be, first of all, safety. Tankers have potential for being the most dangerous to drive. As for tanker/pumper vs tanker. All depends on your needs and what you're willing to pay. Think of it like this. Do you want fewer trucks that do more jobs. Or more trucks that do less jobs. (think of quints here) Some people love 'em and others hate'em. You should figure the cost of what it would be to have a tanker/pumper vs a tanker and pumper. I'm sure that many of the manufacturers could help you with cost's. Don't forget operating costs. And again, look at your operations. Do you haul lots of water often or not. Do you make a quick blitz attack or not. How are your fill sites set up. Do you devote a pumper to drafting. So on and so on. So I would look at how I operate, develop a plan and get together everything you can to sell your plan to whoever has to pay for things. Best of luck and I hope u make a purchase soon!

  7. #7
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    Default

    After re reading this i would like to add that you could look at accident statistics involving tankers to show why they cannot just be built and that's it. Also if you are an ISO department do you not get credit for having certain veh's and equipment on those vehicles showing up on calls. When all else fails show the person holding the purse strings what it will really cost them or save them.

  8. #8
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Ask them if they would cobble together a fuselage from one airplane, the wings from another, the engines and tail from still another aircraft, assemble it and then take it out for a test and see if the old girl will fly....

    then tell them what they want to do is doing the same thing!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 03-20-2004 at 07:45 AM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  9. #9
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    If you haven't read the recent series on FD Tankers by Firehouse, I recommend doing so.

    "Another finding, or lack thereof that has caught many by surprise is that only three of the collisions listed poor apparatus design or poor mechanical condition of the apparatus as causes for the collisions. Because many fire departments use retrofit vehicles (in many cases home-built) and surplus military vehicles as tanker apparatus, it was naturally assumed that this would be a significant factor in fatal collisions. However, this fact did not come to life in the study."

    Of the 42 fatalities in the study, only 3 (7%) pertained to apparatus design or mechanical failure.

    Prior to getting to this information, I was under the impression that most collisions resulted from the use of mainstream oil/milk trucks to haul water to emergency scenes. I figured the truck design was the main factor.

    It seems as though driver education and training might play a bigger role than Maltese-Cross branded vehicles. I wonder if things like mandating commercial vehicle licenses and "cold" (non-emergency) responses for tankers/tenders would have any effect. While I think the vehicle standards ARE important, we should consider all factors and not just the obvious ones.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=15&id=14945

    It's a 3 part series, so be sure to follow the other 2 links at the bottom.
    Last edited by Resq14; 03-16-2004 at 09:48 PM.
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  10. #10
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Default

    First off a tanker does NOT have to be built by Pierce or E one to be a safe,servicable unit.Yes it CAN BE home built as long as you follow accepted practices for tank/tank pump vehicles.We've built several in the area but with the cost of building and the time involved it is becoming increasingly impractical to do so.A lot of people think baffling is the end all to tanker safety.It ISN'T!Think about what you do with a tanker for a minute.You haul water to a scene,dump it and go back for more.If it's full there shouldn't be much slopping around which is where your baffles come into play;in SEMI loaded tanks.Milk trucks DO NOT have baffles,how many of those have you seen rolled over beside the road?Not many!Now at 8 lbs a gallon how fast do you want this unit to go? I wouldn't personally gear it for over 55-60 top end.And by nature they will be top heavy,so don't go pounding into that hairpin turn at 60.Some of this stuff isn't rocket science but often we fall into "tankers are dangerous"traps.This whole business is dangerous,how are you managing YOUR risks?Training is certainly a good place to start.Hey Gonzo,what's a "city boy"know about a tanker anyway?Hehe T.C.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Hey look... sit down with your local fire apparatus rep and have them spec your tanker to meet your needs.

    If you are concerned more with money than firefighter safety YOU ARE IN THE WRONG LINE OF WORK!

    DO NOT LISTEN TO "SHADETREE" FIRE ENGINE BUILDERS.

  12. #12
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    Hey Gonzo,what's a "city boy" know about a tanker anyway? Hehe T.C.
    We happen to have one at the Massachusetts Fire Academy, and I have gleaned knowledge from wonderful people like you!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  13. #13
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Depends on who you consider a "shade tree" builder.A company who builds less than 100 units per year?50? I guess we would,by your standards, be shade tree builders.Before you wave the magic wand to declare what we build "unconsiderable"because we aren't one of the "big three"you MIGHT want to look at the finished product.I know what you are trying to allude to but there are a number of small fire companies perfectly capable of producing a quality,safe project IN A SMALL SHOP!A fire company near us recently finished a stainless fuel oil tank conversion on a military 5 ton.It is a beautiful job,completely redone inside and out that I will put up against any commercially produced tanker anywhere.I do not have the ability to post pics at this time but the truck is owned and operated by Hiram fire.It's on a proper sized chassis,correctly balanced,cleanly mounted,with all the fancy valving you'd expect on a new tank and as hard as this may be to swallow,built by "shade tree"mechanics with the assistance of an in house structual engineer.Truck hauls 2500 gallons at 55 mph.Should everybody build trucks?No but if you understand chassis particularly for the fire service use and use quality components(like a UPF tank)follow applicable standards it doesn't REALLY matter who assembles the components.T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 03-20-2004 at 08:56 AM.

  14. #14
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    I would go with NFPA 1901 specs for the vehicle. You can build your own by buying the chassis, NFPA compliant tank etc.

    If you build your own, consider the following;

    1. Do you have the capability to calcuate the weight distribution between the front and rear axles? If the tank is not properly placed, you could wind up with overloaded axles and a poor handling vehicle.

    2. Is the electrical system of the chassis up to fire service needs? Warning lights, scene lights,etc plus noise suppression for the radio(s) should be considered. Most fire apparatus come with larger capacity alternators to handle the load in addition to the other requirements.

    3. What sort of warranty will you have on the homebuilt? A polytank has a lifetime warranty if it is installed according to the manufacturers instructions. The chassis may or may not have a warranty depending upon if it is new or used.

    In addition a non-compliant unit carries some "legal" risks. The NFPA is a nationally recognized standard. In the event of an accident and lawsuit, you will probably be asked to explain why you ignored the standard.

    My VFD just awarded a bid for a new "factory built" tanker. Our tankers have two primary uses. They shuttle water for structure fires and support wildland engines on wildland fires. Bids ranged from $115,000.00 to $140,000.00 for a 2000 gal with 500 gpm pto pump, rear and driver's side manual dumps, 2 crosslays, porta-tank rack and a few other options. Chassis is a 2004 Freightliner with 300 hp and Allison automatic. The winning bidder was not one of the "big" builders but one that has been building apparatus for years. It is NFPA compliant and comes with a full warranty. Delivery time is 120 days.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

  15. #15
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Well said Ray.My point was directed more toward the blanket statement of "Don't build it yourself/Don't listen to "shade tree builders".We've built a number of fire suppression/fire support equipment over the years that have served the area capably,for a long time and without incident.We would probably continue to do so but family time,increased business demands and just general changing of the times does not allow the time necessary to devote to doing the job.We've got engineers,truck mechanics,welders,plumbers,pum p men all on staff so there is plenty of talent but we've been 6 months rehabbing our old 6x6 because it's hard to get everybody together in one place to get it all done.The tanks in,metalwork is 90% done just the hose reels,foam system and associated plumbing needs to be finished.I get irritated when people make blanket statements without considering that money is ALWAYS an issue and SAFE equipment can be built ANYWHERE as long as you build it by approved SAE/NFPA standards.EVERYONE currently building trucks (fire)started where? Yep that's right as a small rinky dink outfit somewhere.The ones that got good at it or had an "in"got bigger.But bigger does NOT always mean better.I've built a bunch of specialty trucks over my career and if you start out with a good chassis that's "job"rated you won't have too many problems.Big rails,big electrical,big brakes and enough compressor (18 +cfm)and storage tanks enough to run them if you're going to put any water on.Personally I find a Ladder is damn near as dangerous to drive as a tanker.But building a lot of "toys" is basically behind me now,we're so busy I hardly have time to sleep.In todays economy I guess that's not a bad thing.T.C.

  16. #16
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Ray and Tim....

    Both of you are correct.

    The key words are "shade tree mechanics/builders". There are some people out there who think that they are "experts", who think that standards are a pain to follow, that a copy of the NFPA standards for fire appartus is too expensive to buy, that have the attitude of "screw the standards", or try to do things with the co$t of the project in mind other than the safety of those who will be driving and operating the rig.

    There are those who have screwed up priorities as in "baffles? We don't need baffles! We need two FedQ's 5 air horns and enough lights to land a 747 with!"

    They should begin with the end in mind. What do they want...a reliable, safe piece of apparatus or a overweight, underpowered, roll it over firefighter killer?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  17. #17
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    Capt. Gonzo,

    I know where you are coming from on building your own. We build our own brush rigs but have gone from doing "everything" on a used chassis to buying new chassis and building from there. Over the years we have lost the members that had the time and knowledge on wiring, plumbing, etc. The last brush rig we built took a year to complete and we sent it out to an auto electric shop to have the wiring done. Nothing is more fun than trying to troubleshoot an electrical problem that was wired by six different firefighters, all with their own ideas.

    We have one tanker left that we built and it has the proper weght distribution. It was built on a 1978 International 4 x 4 (33,000 gvw) military surplus chassis. We bought the tank new and mounted the tank on the chassis, added lights, plumbed a portable pump and have used it for about 13 years. I almost hate to retire it but engine and transmisson parts are scarce (150 hp diesel, 5 speed) and it has continous electrical problems. I like because I have a lot in common with it. We are both old, big, slow, smoke, and smell funny.

    Stay SAfe
    IACOJ

  18. #18
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Say Gonzo,I know you're just funnin' but if you TRULY want to run two Q's you better lop off 300 gal of water,add,6 more group 31 batteries and a seperate diesel generator to keep 'em charged.Like Ray says,it's not a lack of talent keeping us from building,it's time and in the case of older chassis;chasing gremlins.Now lessee,54 leds,8 arc lights(scene)4 grovers,two twinsonics front and back:yep that otta about do it.Hehe T.C.

  19. #19
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    Co. 23 in Orange, VA got a really nice Tanker in 2000 by Pierce... you can check it out at www.orangevfc.com onthe apparatus page... This may help you

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