1. #1
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    Default "Pump-less" Ladder Trucks

    Something that has been bothering me for years. Perhaps someone can give me an answer that makes sense. Why do FD's continue to buy ladder trucks with out pumps and tanks? I understand the whole "engines do engine work and trucks do truck work" thing, but even so I still dont understand. And please dont say "tradition".

    It just makes no sense to me. What do you do if your "pump-less" truck is first in? Stand around and watch the fire burn? What do you do if you come accross a car fire. Call it in and wave as your driving buy? Why tie up an engine on a fire to pump a ladder pipe when a tuck with a pump could do it on its own.

    On top of everything else we do, our primary function is and always has been to put out fires. Yet departments continue to spen big bucks on apparatus that cant even put out a dumpster fire. I dont get it...

    Dave

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    I don't particularly want to drive around in a suppression-capable ambulance...

    One could continue the arguement to say Ambulances are FD vehicles, why aren't they all equipped with a 250gpm pump & 250 gallon tank (yes I know there are some out there).

    You'd also be in the same boat with many rescue trucks, although again I know a few in my area that are Rescues with a small pump and tank (definitely *not* a rescue pumper!)

    At any rate, it's what works for you in your area. Our Ladder is a quint. It's even put out a car fire and even a kitchen fire when it left quarters (against SOP) before the Engine-Tank. But I can certainly see areas with multiple close companies choosing to use a keep it a straight truck. I think you could argue to have at least a compact, simply plumbed pump on board so it could pump it's own pipe tough even if you don't carry a water tank or much hose.
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    I kinda agree with Dave. Never really understood the concept.....

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    Default ITS ABOUT TIME...

    Dave1983- I have been saying that for years, but the traditionalist
    in here hate quints because some Chiefs have used them for "manpower killers."

    When out here in Cali, they dont kill manpower, but add another tool
    to the existing truck.

    Typical senerio- Engine rolls out on a call. Then a room contents fire call comes in. You can simply roll up and knock it down.

    Firefighting rule #1- You can fight alot of fire with a little water.

    A real call- One of my FD's trucks came apon a working vehicle fire. They had no water. They got lucky and hooked in a hose bundle to a hydrant and fought it. A hydrant wont always be there.

    Dr. Phil says- "Time to get real!" Quints are a good buy. We are here to fight fire and protect the taxpayers FIRST before tradition. Wake up and smell the now.

    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 07-13-2004 at 08:29 PM.

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    Default And a tiller...

    Yes, they have tillers that carry water. Here is your pic-

    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 07-13-2004 at 08:28 PM.

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    No, I wouldnt expect you to fight fire with an ambulance. ALthough, you could alwasy throw IV bags at it

    I wasnt including ambulances, squads, Haz-Mat or any other special unit. Just Engine and Ladder's as they are most departments main apparatus.

    Ive heard the "manpower killer" argument, and I dont expect a lot of departments to buy full quints (multiple handlines, supply hose, etc). But come on, at least a pump large enough to flow your ladder pipe and maybe a couple hundred gallons of water and an 1 3/4 bumper line. Maybe even a small CAFs set up. But SOMETHING...

    Dave

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    One reason is the cost, for the price of a quint you can buy a ladder and an engine, and quints make rather poor engines since they have small hose beds and tanks, you basically get a mini-pumper stuffed into a truck body. Its also often a larger vehicle and weighs more with the associated liabilities. Of course that hose, tank, pump and pump panel also take away storage space for equipment.

    I think the idea of a quint is fine for the reasons you mentioned first onscene of a fire, don't need to tie up a pumper to support the ladder etc. But I have also heard the complaint that quint companies tend to engines with an aerial instead of a truck company, which I can understand since they have water and hose of course they're going to have the urge to put water on the fire instead of being specialists in truck company operations.

    I don't think it is as simple as just putting a pump in every truck in some areas that is the way to go but others have their reasons for keeping the truck "pure", if a truck and engine run out of the same station that would eliminate much of the argument for a quint, on the other hand in a rural area that runs a truck a fair distance from an engine that sounds like a good place for a quint.

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    Many of you answered your own question somewhat. Many if not all of you have neither worked in such a system or bothered to resarch it empirically without your: I hate anything I think is "Traditional". Most when they learn what a ladder company is responsible for and what it does understands why there is no hose and pumps.

    It has nothing to do with Tradition as you guys call it. Here are a few of the things I can note from working in both types of systems.

    First for what if an alarm for a car fire/dumpster fire is recived?... well you can't have it both ways... I see many posters on this forum mentioning that this is a Non-Emergency response for them. I won't comment on why this is bad on this thread. So if it is non-Emergency what difference does it make if the normally 2nd Due Engine is sent.

    Besides I at one time worked as a fireman parttime at a NASCAR Track and we put out some pretty good fires with Purple K. Didn't need the a Engine with Pump. All the Trucks in my dept carry water cans, Foam Cans, Dry chem and Purple K. If they can't knock down a car fire while waiting for an Engine they aren't using the extinguishers correctly. Hell I've seen more auto fires put out by cops or by-standers with little extinguishers than by us!

    Cities that have this system have an adequate number of Engines around. Plenty of Engines to cover the neighborhoods. I know many places that don't seem to relocate companies as often as we do. Where I formerly worked Neighboring cities would have a fire which would wipe out thier companies availiablity yet they wouldn't relocate enough companies to fill in the holes. This is critical when companies will be OOS for 30 mins or more in adjacent districts.

    I'll use the Army analogy. The Army has tanks, It has Self-propelled Howitzers, It has Armored personell carriers, it has Duce n'a halfs and other supply vehicles. It has a number of Helicopters that perform vastly different missions. It doesn't have an Personell carrier/Tank/Howitzer/Missle battery...etc. It has the appropriate equipment that it needs to fight the battle...not some All-in-one WONDER Wagon! Does a tank have small arms, yes...just as a Truck has water cans. Every rig can't do Everything. A Rescue Rig can't be focused on Rescue when you dedicate 1/4 of the space for a pump and hose.

    And as for what can a Truck do? "Just watch it burn" as someone put it. No, the can do what the truck is supposed to do, force entry, search for the fire, Find it, contain it if possible after searching by either closing the door or knocking it down with the can. Remove all occupants...etc. Also Trucks in my dept are the only ones permitted to use occupant hose in High-Rises. Doesn't sound like standing around to me.

    As for tying up an Engine to supply a Truck, my experience has been that it isn't that simple. Often you will have both and Engines and Trucks there. You'll need the manpower, plus that is what Engines are for supplying the Truck. You aren't tying them up you are using them for what thier mission is.

    Often on the fireground especially at big ones, you can't have the ladder at the hydrant and correctly positioned for ladder operations.

    If you put pumps and hose on my depts Ladder companies we would loose critical tools and equipment due to the loss of space. And that isn't acceptable.

    Why spend all that money for additional pumps because as has been my experience you are going to have a number of Engines and Ladders there anyhow so why have all those pumps and hose sitting around doing nothing. Everyone complains they can't afford new apparatus...is it any wonder! Maintenance increases with the more doo dads you throw on there thus more wear and tear, more things to repair... We are talking $$$. I am speaking from plenty of expeirence with Quints.

    I agree with Dal 90 I've had Chiefs, Guys in dept delivery vehilces, Brush rigs...everything, come upon a fire long before any Engine, Quints, Ladders whatever show up...should anything with an FD sticker have suppression capability.

    Not all police cars are equiped to deal with baricaded subjects or hostage situations. Not all are prepared for riots.

    Why not have all Engines, and Trucks fully outfitted for Trench, Hazmat, Tech-rescue, Water Rescue...etc.

    Why can't everyone of your Engines have 100ft. tower ladders as well...because what if the magical Truck/Quint is at another run...and some one is hanging out the 7th floor window??? Seconds count right? Not every rig can do everything...you have to understand a system if you are going to bash it.

    Overall I'd say anyone who "doesn't get it" isn't spending enough time learning about it, hasn't really worked under an effective system, or doesn't care to open their mind to new experiences.

    I've worked under many systems, Engine-Quint, Engine-Ladder Rural, Suburban and Heavily Urban...I can say Engine-Truck is a far supperior system. Have you?

    FTM-PTB

    PS-My comments reflect an Urban-Suburban situation where it is possible to specialize, Not small isolated towns or Rural situations. Don't confuse the two.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 07-13-2004 at 08:59 PM.

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    Thanks FFFRED. Thats what I'm looking for

    To clear things up a bit, I have no experiance with "pump-less" ladder trucks, which is why the concept is so strange to me.

    In my county we have 18 trucks, and all but 2 have pumps. The 2 that dont are tech rescue unts, and the space were the pump is on the others is filled with tech rescue gear.

    We also dont have stations every other block, so we have a far greater chance for a truck to be first in.

    Oh, and no offense was meant by the "stand and watch it burn" comment. Its just a situation one of our area departments found themselves in on more than one occasion. They now have 3 ladders WITH pumps

    Also, our SOG's dont permit entering ANY structure without a charged hoseline unless a immediate life threat is determined to exsist (like a mother out front screaming "my babies inside").

    Dave

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    Lightbulb Trucks with pumps=a quint

    a truck with a pumps is refered to as a quint. my fire company has a quint. and it runs on all fires city wide. a quint is a very useful fireground tool. just ask Va.. if it wasnt for quints there they would have had thier hands full. people have the time old sayen a truck is used for s/r and vent. and a wagon is used for sup. but what if you have a multistory buildings involved and and you have a wagon shortage with a straight truck on your basic hydrent system it wont work because you cant get the pressure you ned to operate mastertreams or any nessasry handlines. with a quint your garunteed to get enough pressure due to haveing a pump given you ,ve got a good hydrant. i have seen calls were a quint has done reverse lays and boosted the prssure off of the hydrent, qiunts are the ultimate multitasking tool. it can be used for anything! i personaly like quints.

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    Call it tradition but we don't have pumps on our trucks. From our first snorkle, to our stick, to the last two towers we purchased, no pump to be found.
    A pump adds cost and maintenance to the vehicle, it robs compartment space and 99% of the time it will not be used. We carry extinguishers if need be.
    Our trucks have arrived 1st to working fires and what usually happens is the officer does a good size up and the engine arrives. He tells the engine what, where and the best way in, then meets the crew to finish the needed truck work.
    It has worked for us.
    If it were up to me we wouldn't get prepiped sticks. Why have something on the ladder that could get in the way of the rescue.
    Also for us at liest two engines are due for each ladder so getting water to the ladder isn't a problem.

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    I don't know what its like in the areas where most of you are talking, but I can give an insight as to what we deal with. I would say we live in an unhydranted suburban area, where tanker shuttles are the norm. Given that and the fact that when we have a major structure almost every department in the county is called, you can get an idea as to how straped for resources we are. To take an engine and use it to pump a ladder is a waste of a truck around here, and even if we don't need a ladder truck we can use the pumps on it to run a fill site, due to the truck not having the amount of hose an engine would.

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    The quints are multi-tasking tools that don't cut down on manpower? Ask Ogden Utah FD. Their City just slashed thier budget. They have to lose three positions through attrition. They are going to buy a quint and drop their ladder and one engine. So they will staff it with four instead of the usual 2 to the ladder & 3 to the engine. Where is the added safety there?
    I would love to work in the Engine-Ladder areas, to me they make much more sense.
    If we worked like that, I'd be the first to put in transfer request for the truck.

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    Talking No Pumps Here.................

    P.G.County, Md. has about 90 Engines and 24 Trucks/Towers. and one Quint. The Quint is being evaluated for it's adaptability to our operations. I can't think of any Truck in the County that has a pump. We have always had the resources to use a Truck as a Truck and let the Engines do their thing as well. One thing to think about, do you have the crew to do both? We provide staffing for stations, not units. a 4 person crew on duty at my station has 2 Engines, Heavy Rescue, Brush Rig, BLS Ambulance, and a Tower Ladder to choose from. That crew can, and sometimes does, ride ANYTHING out the door. Other stations respond automatically, Volunteers come in and staff additional equipment, and everyone gets their job done. Works for us. I don't remember ever thinking about this question before. Never had a problem. It's a much smaller item, but do you use hydrant valves? Some departments can't live without them, others think that they're silly. Same Thing. Stay Safe....
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    how many brush trucks have tanks on them? what about chief's cars? what should you do if the heavy rescue drives by a fully involved car fire?

    personally, I am totally in favor of having trucks with pumps. ours is a tower ladder with a pump, and in 5 years, I don't think it's ever laid a supply line. nor can i recall it flowing water from it's preconnects. however it has been used in "surround and drown" operations, and should it be needed, can put out a car fire.

    it's all about flexibility. I'm not thrilled with engines with a squirt on top (personal preference), but i think ladders should have pumps. true, most of the time an engine will be supplying the ladder, and will beat the ladder to a scene first, but you know the one time it doesn't will be the time you are happy that ladder has a pump.

    drawbacks include cost, maintance, size (ladders with a pump and towers with a pump tend to be larger vehicles than their non-pump counterparts) and more things to go wrong that can place it OOS.
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    a truck with a pumps is refered to as a quint.
    ... not necessarily.

    A quint has (1)a pump, (2)a tank, (3)hose, (4)aerial, and (5)ground ladders.

    In the proper system, I would prefer that a truck not have a pump for the reasons that FFFRED already stated. Using them to reduce manpower is just an absolute crime. For the rural scenarios, I absolutely see where they could make sense.

    As far as the what ifs ... you could "what if" both sides of the argument to death.

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    Speaking from my local context Senior aerials provide superior ladder complements and tool capacity in comparison to Quints.
    In my Department (west coast) Trucks often arrive first. Having more ladders allows the safe practice of at least two ladders to the building. and plenty of scalers for roof work.
    With over the road weight limitations and practical size limitations of most quarters something will be compromised.
    In your post you posed the question regarding ariving first, that's not the problem. What happens when your jurisdiction is depleted and the first engine has an extended response time. What to do? Force Entry, if the extent of involvement allows then quick search, ladder the building. if it gets to big move ladders to exposures and call for a larger assignment.
    Finally if you need a ladder pipe there will be plenty of engines there anyway.
    Just my opinion.

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    This question comes from a rural guy that will never see a ladder truck let along purchase one...

    How much does a 300 gallon poly tank and a 1500 gpm pump add to the cost of a ladder truck that already astronomicaly expensive?

    It cant be that much in the grand scheam of things.

    How about tucking the pump away in the rear, IE ream mount pump, they dont seem to take up much room. The poly tank could be long and flat, or what ever shape it needs to be to take up the least amount of tool box space.
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    Default Re: No Pumps Here.................

    Originally posted by hwoods
    We have always had the resources to use a Truck as a Truck and let the Engines do their thing as well. One thing to think about, do you have the crew to do both?
    Good Point. We currently run a "pump-less" stick. It is a true truck, s##tload of groundladders, all sorts of tools, ropes, etc however we are contemplating replacing it with a quint and one of the only reasons is staffing. The existing unit was purchased that way due to cost factors however we are fortunate enough to have a progressive town council and mayor who understands(or at least listens to learn) our issues.

    Our biggest justification to changing tradition is that, as most of you know in today's day and age of lacking manpower, we also lack qualified drivers (esp. during the day) One of our schools of thought is that if you can get a unit that can you can stretch an attack line off of and have the stick it potentially makes you a little less vulnerable. Right now on a structure alarm we need a driver/crew for the first due engine, ladder, second due engine for water supply and depending on the part of town we are in a tanker as well to bring our own water. During the day getting all those units staffed is tough sometimes the first due is staffed and the others roll driver only. If we could combine multiple functions into one unit I think it would help.

    I guess it's the same reason we run a rescue engine for jaws calls... one crew multiple resources on board.

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    Ok ... guess I am gonna be the guy that says that I think "pump-less" truck companied do very much have a place, for a number of reasons.
    1. Weight .. this can be especially important in areas where bridge
    capaicties may be an issue.
    2. Storage .... try to get engine and truck equipment on most
    quints.
    3. Cost
    4. Defined Responsibilities.... to me this is the biggie. It is so
    easy for an incident commander to give into the temptation of
    using that quint for something other than truck work.

    Guess my question about the truck arriving first is if the truck is the only piece of umcommitted apparatus in your station why don't you have a mutual aid engine covering ?

    Just my thoughts.

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    Because in 1983 when Madison,Wis. spec'd it and Pirsch/Pemfab made it they dien't put a tank or pump on it. None of our Ladders have had it and I doubt the replacement will have one either.
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    Dave1983,

    I can see why you are confused and it has to do more, I think, with your current Chiefs or past ones on how your local system developed. I am aware that Florida is notiorious for having two man Truck Companies and the such.

    Also many of my comments were not directed at you specificily as there are a few on here that shoot their mouths off about things they clearly don't understand and blame it all on the "T" word.

    I ask you don't get the idea that we have Engines on every other block or any city with Engines and Trucks has a situation such as that.

    Versatlity is a big issue, you can't backstretch(you might call it reverse lay) to the hydrant with a Truck such as that. You wouldn't supply a standpipe with it because you would probably want to position it for use of its aerial (if within reach) Unacceptable performance.

    With a pumper at a hydrant relaying water to the a tower ladder with a pump you would need 1 Chauffeur with the orginal Engine. One running the pump on the Truck, one on the pedestal and a few guys in the bucket. No pump on the Truck means 1 less man required and he can be doing other more important things.

    Perhaps many don't ever consider this...but how many times does the throtle of a Engine pumping water change. With a goveneur(sp) lots of times with nozzles open or closing. Adjustments in pressure because the officer inside on the line with one of those TFTs is wanting more pressure...etc. Well has anyone here ever tried to position an aerial ladder or manuver a Tower ladder Bucket at the same time. The changes between high throtle and low throtle whips the ladder around quite violently. Again this is unacceptable.

    Also once you are in pumps and lines are stretched. You can't reposition the ladder without backing out all interior companies. If you made a slight mistake or find the need to reposition, all lines would have to be disconected and then the rig could moved. Unacceptable

    This doesn't even solve the problem of what if the Truck is doing Engine work and the Engine men from a nearby single Engine are now required to completely change the focus on what they were orignailly expected to do and operate on what is probably a slightly unfamiliar apparatus. (If you don't work on it almost everyday it will be unfamiliar) I know some will claim they need to train more and interact with the other company more...well that is easier said than done.

    When there are companies specifically responsible for Fireground support functions (search for fire and life, Forcible Entry, ladders, etc.) Those functions will get done and done thoroughly...I know for a fact when you start to mix the responsibities things get confusing and chaotic. Just look at some of the NIOSH reports from depts that don't keep Engines doing Engine work and Trucks doing Truck work...Some times each company does a little of both and it leads directly to poor performance and accountablity. You can't effectively search for fire and life while stretching and operating a line. I've tried it just doens't work.

    As for you not being able to enter a stucture without a hoseline...well this has been discussed at length here before and I don't know where to begin with that. I'm sure it was instituted by some chief long before you got hired, so I am not personally disagreeing with you. I just can't say for sure that chief had any clue about what he was talking about. I used to work in places like that and If it were my family trapped I wouldn't want guys searching with a handline. If they claim you aren't trained or practiced in it...let me tell you there are 3 FDIC (FDIC, West, East) seminars a year, there are countless other "for hire" instructors with years of experince that can provide you the training. It can be done tell your training chief to get off his dead A#$ and do something that will improve the welfare of the civilians he took an oath to protect.

    No more excuses...everyone claims they are into this "customer service", everyone is as good as the next FF, paid volly or otherwise...well this is the most important service and if your chiefs want to do what is right they'll get out of the 1950s volly land mode and into the 21st Century.

    Car fire- Solved with fire extinguishers...in fact a Purple K is probably more effective at auto fires than water. Or at least from what I've seen.

    In the end it has to do with providing a certain level of service. Many can't understand why they can't increase thier staffing...well part of it comes from failure to define Engine and Truck roles, assigning specific tasks and duties to specific men. Do this and it will be much easier to say Mr. Mayor this is what an Engine Does and this Truck does, this is why I need 4 on and Engine and 5 on a Truck...etc.

    It has everything to do with creating a safer and more effective orgainization on the fireground...when you start to blur the two jobs is when problems will arise.

    FTM-PTB

    PS I was fliping channels the other day and saw on "REAL TV" a fire in Southern Florida, I was not your dept Dave although it was as I recall a big city(county) FD, there was some guy with a handline trying to kick in a front door through the screen door!!...Some other guy in a polo shirt & slacks with a halligan went around to the rear where inside some high ranch windows there two little girls trapped. I think there was another fireman back there with him eventually but he had no ladder or other tools to help them get up and into the room to help the girls out. They bashed out the windows and were having some dificulty in removing them. The camera returned to the front and now all you saw was the screen door still shut and the hose actually going through where the screen was and it wasn't moving very fast as there was no door man to feed hose. It looked like the biggest Cluster F@#* ever and didn't make anyone down there in that dept look like the paid proffesionals I would expect them to be. I wasn't the only guy to see it as the next day a guy from my company said he saw it as well and was appaled as I was. In fact he'd never seen anything like it before.

    If that is any indication of what is going on in Florida god help you guys.

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    Smile Change The Operation, Not The Apparatus.......

    In Volunteer and smaller Paid/Combo Departments, it's the same refrain, over and over, "We cant get the Engine, the Ladder, the Tanker, out with our current crew." Stop Trying. FFFred and I are from vastly different worlds. Or are we?? His Department is fully paid, mine's Volunteer. He has hydrants underfoot everywhere, mine are much wider spaced, I even need Tankers in one corner of the District. I run farther in my own first due that Fred does to get to a Third Alarm. What we do have in common is that Multiple Stations respond on Structure Fires ALL THE TIME. If there is a Structure Fire in my first Due, the Engine goes first, a Ladder is dispatched from the next station down the card. All apparatus is dispatched on the premise that each station only needs to respond with a single piece, but there will be at least 3 Engines, a Ladder, and a Heavy Rescue, on all Structure Fires. If you still try to handle a Structure assignment from one station, IMHO, you're courting disaster. Involve EVERYONE in a wide ranging Mutual Aid plan. Not only "Mutual" but Automatic as well. We run every piece of Apparatus, to every call, based on that piece being the closest available unit of the type that is needed. We do this without regard to any Artificial Boundary whatsoever. A good friend is a Chief in a Department that runs across the State Line daily. No Politics, Closest goes, Always. It's the only way to run an organization that MUST do it right the First time.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    157

    Default



    we have yet to use this beuatiful new quint, wait, is 2 years old still new?

  25. #25
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    27

    Default

    I think both trucks have their place. It all depends on how you plan to use them. I work in a bedroom suburb of a large city. We have 1 engine and 1 quint. Our quint runs on all fire responses as a "truck".(we run into the city on automatic response as a truck). What the quint does for us is gives us the ability to take some of the small runs, cars/dumpsters in our end of town. Why have our engine come from the other end of town when we can take care of it. I also like having MY driver/operator in charge of my water supply if have the tower up. A matter of trust.

    As for the problem of crews going from being a truck company to pulling a line, that is the fault of the company officer. If you are expected to act as a truck company, you darn well should be forcing entry, laddering, searching, etc. If you are not, the Officer should get his/her rear in a sling. My guys know that no matter how much fire is showing, the crosslay will not be pulled. We are Truckies.

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