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  1. #1
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    Question Pumps panels-side or top mount?

    My department is getting ready to order a new engine and there is one major thing that everyone has a differant opinion on, side or top mount. I was wondering what my fellow firefighters had, why you purchased what you did, and how well it has performed for you and your department.

    We have a 1985 International with an open jump seat that is a full bench. As long as you are positioned just right you can see what is happening on the other side and make adjustments very quick. I like this and think we can benefit from a top mount pump for visibility. Some of our members hate the idea of climbing up and down but will think nothing of beating them selves to death fighting fire.

    Also, commercial or custom chassis? Of every department that I have talked to that has switched to a custom says that they will never go back. I have even been offered to drive one but I have not had the chance yet.

    What works for you?


  2. #2
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I know this has been discussed a few times on here. Try doing a search and you will find all kinds of info.

    As for the chassis.......... I prefer custom.......

  3. #3
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Remember... If you're getting a new rig, you won't have the open jump seat area to look through. Having to climb up & down is not a big deal compared with being stuck on a side-mount panel that's on the opposite side of the fire building.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber Crisb1419's Avatar
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    We have both style, I must say I like the top mount for the area you can see. Rosenbauer makes a safe scene. Side mount but elevated also. I am not sure who else makes that, maybe something to look at.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Captn46's Avatar
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    Default On Top

    We have 2 engines in our fire company, one with a side-mount and one with a top-mount.

    I agree that the top mount many times can give a better view of the emergency scene. That said, I also like it because it takes the engineer off the street and away from any traffic that may stray.
    we don't have 24 hour police coverage out here in the sticks and occasionally we have a lead foot blow through the fire police traffic control point. Some folks just don't think they have to abide by a "fire police" traffic check point, but that is a different story. Top mount is nice.

    Stay alert and stay safe,

    Phil

  6. #6
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    We also had the debate and everything that was said is true. We felt with our low manpower and the pump operator possibly having to run two trucks changing out packs and whatever he may have to be doing it was better with the side mount.

    The other problem we had was the extra length of the top mount would not fit into our old station. At least someone thought of that before we bought one

    With that said I think I would have liked a top mount for the reasons said-ie the visibility and the safety of being up off the road.

    Just my thoughts it didn't count last time .
    Les Hartford
    Assistant Chief
    LMR Fire Dept.

    The views posted here are strickly my own and not of any of the groups I am affiliated with.

    IACOJ Member

  7. #7
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    Top mounts are nice if you have the room for them and wheelbase is not an issue, we recently replaced our first top mount with a side panel mainly due to wheelbase. Our service area includes an old mill town with very tight twisty streets and some limited space intersections and driveway openings. We pretty much have to keep w/b around 200" and the new unit has an enclosed custom crewcab (old engine was custom w/ canopy jumpseats, so new was longer) and the new body is a little bigger to allow for some extra compartment and hosebed volume (both were needed), the pump capacity was increased from 1250 to 2250 which increased the panel length. It gets to the point that you run out of room on a given wheelbase.

  8. #8
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    Another thing to consider: a rear-mount panel. It doesn't go in the rear of the apparatus, but in the rearmost panel on the driver's side. It is a decent compromise: you don't have to step up and down all the time, and with one step to the right, you can see both sides of the engine. Also, the plumber's compartment is smaller (over the wheel), but it frees up more space in other compartments if your plumber's equipment isn't too complicated.

    Eric

  9. #9
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    Default Rear

    I would recommend looking into a rear mount pump. It can offer you several advantages over both top and side mount. First it gets the operator back on the ground where he or she can help pull line, make connections etc. It gives the operator views on both sides of the apparatus, and gets them out of the area of traffic flow. It also uses an area of the apparatus that is not usually used very effectively.

  10. #10
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    Couple of things about the "rear mount" pumps.
    First off, it's not a rear mounted pump. The pump is in the same spot. All of the valves are controlled electronically from the pump panel that's in the rear compartment. I completely disagree with this idea. I feel that the valves should be operated manually for maintenence reasons. If a circuit fails or something happens electronically, your pump is done. Do you want to rely on electronics to get water to the guys on the tip? I don't. I want something tangible that can be fixed easily.

    Top mount pumps have a similar problem. Due to the fact that they are so high, the valve handles require a long stem that is subject to breakage and bending if a valve sticks or something like that.

    People should not complain about climbing up and down too much, I can see where that would be a pain in the ***, but it's not that big of a deal.

    Another thing to consider is crosslays. Do you want your crosslays in the traditional positioning next to each other, which would add length to your truck with a top moun pump? Or do you want your crosslays stacked underneath your pump panel? I personally would much rather have them going across the top. It's much easier to pull them and to pack them. Stooping low to get a shoulder pack would put you in an awkward situation with an air pack and whatnot. The traditional positioning may be high, but is easier to pull off and a lot easier to pack and place back in service.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    IIRC the NFPA states in their apparatus standards that there will be a provision made for the pump operator to be off the ground will operating the pump. I supose for some safety reason, IE traffic or electrocution hazards???

    But, it doesnt seem that everybody worries a whole lot about that. Personaly, I think there is more of a chance of tripping and falling off the top mount pump station and getting hurt then there are safety concerns from being on the ground.

    I like the idea of a rear mounted pump/panelm, or even the old front mount. There are plenty of rear montes that are not like FORTFF descirbed. That sounds like a midmout pump with a rear mount pannel. There are rear mounted pumps where you can get at everything, right from the ground.

    Like this guy, my personal fovorite piece of fire apparatus in existance on earth today. The Rosenbaur Timberwolf, a interface apparatus with rear mount pump and panel.

    http://www.rosenbaueramerica.com/Pro...wolf/index.cfm

    Check out the rear compartment. The pump, plumbing, pump panel, etc... all right there behind a roll up door. Very nice set up.

    I think a lot of builders offer something similar to this set up these days.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  12. #12
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    Hey SamsonFCDES:
    Hooked ya on that Timberwolf didn't I? I must agree, for our departments needs the Timberwolf is "IT". When we get ours I will let you kown and you can come over and look at it...then we'll go to "Buck-it's". Hopefully, I am still alive (and they are still making it) by the time we get the funds in place to issue the PO.

    As for top or side, we have a top mount and two front mounts. The top mount is nice for visability and easy positioning of the deck gun. The only down sides that I can think of is a longer wheel base and in my neck of the woods...minus 20 degrees and 30 MPH wind = cold pump operator. (Not that the other guys are hot)

    Toddman
    Last edited by toddman; 05-10-2004 at 08:16 PM.

  13. #13
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    Just replaced our top mount pump with a side mount. I personal like the top mount pump because you can see both sides of the truck and the incident. The older drivers didn't like the idea of getting up and down. The reason for going with side mount was we wanted speed lays instead of cross lays the size of the truck came in to play. Now both of our Engines are sidemounts.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Originally posted by toddman
    Hey SamsonFCDES:
    Hooked ya on that Timberwolf didn't I? I must agree, for our departments needs the Timberwolf is "IT". When we get ours I will let you kown and you can come over and look at it...then we'll go to "Buck-it's". Hopefully, I am still alive (and they are still making it) by the time we get the funds in place to issue the PO.

    As for top or side, we have a top mount and two front mounts. The top mount is nice for visability and easy positioning of the deck gun. The only down sides that I can think of is a longer wheel base and in my neck of the woods...minus 20 degrees and 30 MPH wind = cold pump operator. (Not that the other guys are hot)

    Toddman
    Yep, you sure did get my hyped about the TW. I had been a fan of interface engines for a while, they just make sence for our sort of area.

    And that TW, that has to be the ultimate interface engine, thanks for pointing it out, I didnt know about it till you mentioned it.

    It is definatly going to be the focus of next years AFG grant application! We have already started brainstorming for it. Prayin to God, knockin on wood...

    So, you guys have decided to start saving up for one...best of luck. I will definatly be over to see it when you get it, or if you hear of any demos for the TW, let me know. IIRC you mentioned that you did have a demo once, where was the dealer out of?

    I might be over that way around July 4th. My GF if from New Rockford and has her 10 year HS reunion about that time. I am sure buck-its will be on the agenda.

    Will you have your Timberwolf by then?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  15. #15
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    I have a nice drawing hanging on the wall...that is about as close as we'll get to one by the 4th. But, both Devils Lake and Jamestown have new TW's. They are using them as their airport crash/rescues, I know the DL boys would be more than happy to show you their's.

    If you are in NR over the 4th...look me up. I will not be hard to find, I am in charged of the demolition derby and I am also the president of the Eagles club were the street dances are.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    First off, it's not a rear mounted pump. The pump is in the same spot.

    Not any that I have seen, although I'm sure what you describe can be done.

    Nope, rear mount the pump. It places denser water farther ahead on the chassis, helping balance the weight distribution between the axles. Plus you generally need less piping -- instead of the center of the truck out 4' in either direction, all the discharges come right off the back of the truck -- kinda like a front mount pump uses less plumbing.

    I prefer side mount/rear mount -- it keeps the pump operator accessible to interact with what's happening around the truck. I don't mind the discharges being remote, but in rural ops having the supply line with your knee against it is nice to feel the reduction in supply well before you see the needles start to move. I don't run them often, but when I have, it's always been the feel of the intake that gave me feedback faster than I could interpret the gauges. M/A firefighters come up needing a piece of equipment, it makes it quick for the pump operator to show them rather than trying to explain it shouting down from his perch. Guys need a hand with an SCBA strap that's screwed, pump op is there to help.

    You'll have to copy-and-paste the following (my cheap cheap web hosting company doesn't let me hot-link in)
    http://www.mortlake.org/069907.gif

    Anyway that's our neighbor's 1500gpm/1500gwt single rear axle rear mounted pump. Going to the rearmount let them cram the extra water on board, custom cab trucks in CT usually are limited to about 1200 gallons with the amount of compartments, etc they have.

    If you're wondering, it's a drill and they're hooked into a Humat hydrant assist valve we dropped at the 1200' mark of a 2500' hose lay to practice that evolution. We don't do it frequently, doesn't gain us much except on the longest of lays. But does allow us to lay a line and start pumping it, and a mutual aid pumper can later tie in to boost the flow without shutting down the laid line.

    Matt
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  17. #17
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    we have 2 top mount units, 1 on a custom and 1 on a commercial chassis. Our members prefer them for the vision and safety of being up out of the way plus they can look back at on coming traffic. There is some discussion on teh safety of operations with the rear mount especially when on expressways or open roads.
    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

  18. #18
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    There is some discussion on teh safety of operations with the rear mount especially when on expressways or open roads.

    IMHO, the safety arguements are all kinda weak what-ifs.

    Bottom line is you never know, in advance, who you'll definitely position apparatus at a call. Sometimes the side mount is on the fire side, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes the rear mount might be towards traffic, but in my department our ET (which is side mount, btw) we try to pull past the incident by SOP. Never mind all those other schmucks walking around, and I never heard of a lot of front-mount pump operators getting squished. There was an accident on the MassPike the other day that pushed a stalled Tractor Trailer 60'. Since I've never seen a body harness being worn by the pump operator on a top-mount, I'm kinda thinking the pumper takes a big hit, there's a good chance he's falling off...and even if you see it coming, can't exactly run away real quick from the height of most of these panels.

    Yes, I've been at one incident where a side-mount operator had to jump clear -- another fire truck rolled away, did a nice job taking out the open compartment doors, btw. OTOH, couldn't say someone in a top mount wouldn't have been injured had that other truck rolled into the parked truck and bumped it enough to knock the operator stuck up top over.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  19. #19
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I agree Dal..............you certainly cannot anticipate everything on every call. I was merely throwing that out there. And ya you are right I have never seen a top mount operator in a harness also......LOL............touch e`
    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

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Top mout is the way to go, top mount-enclosed pump!

    We have 2 top mount enclosed pumps and there is nothing like it. You can see everything, your out of the elements, engine noise is reduced, distractions are also reduced. 13 years experience working with them I can tell you, nothing beats it, really.

    Keep your head down and your powder dry.
    ______________________
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

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