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  1. #1
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    Jun 2004

    Default Apparatus Specs - Need Assistance!


    My Department is in the very initial stages of specing a new apparatus. We have our committee formed and have started to look at manufacturers and are very open to considering any manufacturer. I have never speced an apparatus, much less a fully custom apparatus and was hoping for some assistance and advice from you guys.

    Our new apparatus will be a single rear axle quint with a 75' aerial and a 1500 or 2000 gpm pump. We are looking at 6 man custom cabs, a hydraulic generator and a foam system as well. Those are the 'big ticket' items we'll be getting on the truck.

    I was hoping someone had some specs of a similar apparatus that they wouldn't mind forwarding to me so I can get a sense of how to write a set of specs. Also, if anyone has any advice for the 'little things' that can often make or break an apparatus but are easy to overlook, that would be much appreciated as well.

    Thanks and I look forward to some great feedback from everyone.

  2. #2
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    On the couch in my skivvies


    I just finished chairing our committee for a new engine....a few things I learned:

    Primary lesson....Study your response area...what is the demographics of it. Were are you hazard areas? Hose Stretching, Water Supply, Building Types, Population..etc etc etc....

    Ask yourself "what do we need a "Qunit" for"
    What buildings are you going to use this at, Will this be used as a Truck or an Engine(placement critical)..There will be a limit on hose storage...What is your longest supply stretch and what is your longest attack stretch? Do you back stretch....well you can't if you have a quint....because that eliminates your ladder device...Do you want preconnects or dead lays.

    1500gpm-2000gpm....no differance in price..BUT can your water supply system handle the capacity?
    we started w/ a 1750...then went to 2000gpm....we have the water supply

    CAFS...(this outta create a ruckus here )...Why spend 25-30K on something that can be done for only $500-$1000?...and SAVE space,Little NO maintenance,thats Fireman proof and with the SAME results!...How much do you use the foam?..Class A or B?...the two CAN NOT be mixed...unless you like molassase coming out of your pump... ...If you are going to use Class A on a daily basis then yes thats a good reason for CAFS...if its only for B...then stick with an enductor w/ nozzles and bulk foam....15gals for 500g tank, 20gals for 750g tanks...etc.....I guess Class A foam is the new rage...Water is cheaper and just as effective... ....Ask yourself what do we need the CAFS foam for...industrial, Highways, etc..etc...What is the make up of your response area?

    6 man cab....you want a quint, does that mean you will rely on this as first due....? Do members go to quarters then to the scene or both...
    What is going to be the primary funtion of this apparatus...Water of ladders?...Raised cab or level...What is going to be inside the cab?...radios, tools, SCBA, handlights, etc....

    Hydraulic Gen....stick with it....make sure is powerful enough to run what it needs to run....and make sure you can turn it on "on the fly"..a seperate PTO is a suggestion...we have them on 3 of our apparatus...THEY ARE GREAT!

    I hope this helps out....Good Luck
    Last edited by VinnieB; 08-05-2004 at 12:16 PM.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1998


    I'll add one item to VinnieB's response.

    Check the axle weights of your proposed rig against the weight limits on roads and bridges in your response area. This rig will probably weigh around twenty-five tons depending upon options and equipment carried.

    The chassis should have no problem handling the designed weight but there may be roads and bridges that will not hold that weight. Your local or state DOT should be able to provide a list of weight limits in your area.

    Does the state enforce an axle weight limit? The normal limit in most cases is 12,000 lb on the steering axle and 20,000 lb on each set of rear axles with duals. We have a 65' TeleSquirt on a Pierce custom with a single rear axle. It weighs twenty-two tons. Emergency response is no problem but we need a permit (free) from the state for non-emergency response (maint, etc.).

    Good luck with your new rig.

    Stay Safe

  4. #4
    Forum Member efd281's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    El Dorado, Kansas

    Post New Quint

    I don't know your department, but workmans comp. can be a real issue. If this is to be a first out unit, look at what each manufacturer does to make your basic equipment accessable. Our F.D. has a Pierce with a 75' Telesquirt and we hate using it. The ladder has to be raised for everything you do to it. Reloading LDH. Reloading Crosslays. Cab tilting for maintinence. From what I have seen and heard a midmount seems to be a good idea. A near by Dept. has a Sutphen 70' A.P. and they love it compared to thier other aerials. There is a open hose bed in the rear. The ladder doesn't need to be raised for any of the before metionsed reasons and on a sigle axle, it still meets weight requirements. Midmounts don't require the heavy substructure that rear-mounts do, which makes them lighter and better on long term maint.

  5. #5
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    New England


    Originally posted by VinnieB

    CAFS...(this outta create a ruckus here )...Why spend 25-30K on something that can be done for only $500-$1000?...and SAVE space,Little NO maintenance,thats Fireman proof and with the SAME results!...Water is cheaper and just as effective... ....Ask yourself what do we need the CAFS foam for...industrial. What is the make up of your response area?
    Ok I'll bite.

    I challenge "same results" and "just as effective."

    Granted, response area and staffing are both critical to this decision. If you have hydrants every so many feet, it might not make as much of a difference. If you have 300 people available to respond on dozens of pieces of apparatus, it might not make as much of a difference.

    But if you're responding 1st out with this quint with minimal staffing to areas lacking hydrants, and you end up operating off water-on-wheels, it can make a big difference. Even if you're able to tag a hydrant, it can still make a difference.

    We've used water, Class A solution, and CAFS for years now. I don't think we'd order another truck without CAFS. Even conservative estimates stretch limited water supplies greatly. I tire of the "it still takes gpm's to put fires out." Yeah, it sure does. But when the majority of water you're applying is running out the door and down to the floor below using conventional pumps/water, that's not exactly good application. With CAF, the water you do apply doesn't end up in the basement or running out the door. There are more pluses, I don't need to repeat them. Read the literature. And remember that the systems of today have come a long way.

    You bring up valid points concerning system design, ease of use, being "Firefighter resistant" (nothing is firefighter proof haha), and maintenance. These are all things that need to be addressed both in design and after taking delivery. But I feel the pros of CAFS outweigh these issues in almost all cases. Remember, the truck is what you specify it to be. If you don't like the way something was done, unless you have it changed while you can, you're stuck. It's not the truck's fault usually.

    Staffing can make a big difference as well. Whether you want to initiate a blitz attack with limited resources, conduct an exterior attack, or conduct an interior attack, there are very few cons. Talk about a blitz attack... we have a 2.5" CAF line with a blitzfire preconnected and ready to be go. One person can deploy this line--even when it's charged! This is an incredible fire suppression line. Our deck gun is also equipped to flow CAF.

    Originally posted by VinnieB

    I guess Class A foam is the new rage...Water is cheaper and just as effective..
    My department has been using Class A foam since the 80's... and we'd never go back.

    I know people disagree. I'm just sharing what we know.
    Last edited by Resq14; 08-08-2004 at 04:08 AM.
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  6. #6
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Bridgton,Me USA


    Class A;water is just as effective.Ya right and I have some attractively priced real estate in Manhattan.You don't need a degree in chemistry to know that statement is completely FALSE!We pulled in on a worker in a MA town that was under heavy fire and being attacked with several heavy streams along with an elevated stream of plain water with results that were marginal at best.We set our Engine into the fray with class A being applied at 2.0%and the results were an immediate reduction of fire and complete knockdown within 18-20 minutes.Class A substantially enhances waters extingushing potential and helps prevent rekindle.Anyone who suggests otherwise either has never used it or is using it in a half-a**ed system.I would doubt that we would ever order another piece without it and Cafs is even better.Class B thru an eductor?Yep,you can do that but it's a whole lot better run thru a system like a Foampro 2001 with A/B capability and the foamloader system.Yeah,we got that too,no more hauling five gallon pails up over the side of the rig.Technology is a wonderful thing.T.C.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004


    Another thing you want to look at when getting this. Horsepower, torque...your pullin a huge bit of truck there, you don't want some scrappy little honda 4 banger under the hood. Most times when you get an engine, there is no way to upgrade it or make it perform better (at least any logical ways to my knowledge). You don't want to be stuck doing 10 mph up your biggest hill in the response area. Another thing, water vs foam...if you have staffing issues then foam of any sort should be a no brainer. Two 2 1/2 with CAFS vs. a fully involved structure, add in some aggressive internal attack and you have a knockdown in 3 minutes (Thats what I saw when a vendor demoed the stuff to a neighboring department).

  8. #8
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    On the couch in my skivvies


    Well there you have it ChiefSquirrel...two different opinions on a few items. Bottom line is Assess your response area, your department, and take stock of what Mutual-Aid has available. That is what we always do before making big purchases. This is a CRITICAL issue..contrary to what some think. If you are a Chief then you know what I mean, especially when dealing with the public and the commissioners. Keep in mind what Elcup and Rayr added, very important info...
    IACOJ Member

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 1999


    I certainly hope you have decided on this type of rig based upon a complete and total examination of:

    Building occupancies
    Building construction
    Average setbacks from the roadways
    Water supply availability and plug spacing
    Is this your only aerial?
    Are you duplicating efforts that a neighboring town has when you should be specing a complimentary type rig.
    Average road widths and surface types
    Average staffing levels
    Is it going to function as an Engine Co., Truck Co., Rescue Co. or a little of everything and is there room for all the equipment?
    Is it going to be the 1st out piece on boxes?

    After having said that, a few tips on specing the rig:

    Use the front bumper real estate for equipment/hose lines instead of wasting it
    Avoid the side stacker body concept as it eats compartment space
    Get the largest alternator you can get. You'll appreciate it.
    Get a PTO generator that can run what you need and then atleast 10% more.
    Reflective striping and an arrow stick on the rear for highway scenes
    BETTER THAN ADEQUATE floodlighting for all 4 sides of the rig with both fixed mounted floodlights, light tower and portable lights
    Compartment layout that is thought out and detailed. Measure and weigh each tool for each compartment to ensure optimal use of space
    Pull out trays and pull out/drop down trays are very beneficial
    Poly boxes to organize loose equipment by use in each compartment
    Think about an intercom system for in-cab, pump panel and turn table communications
    Mount tools where it makes sense, not for tradition. Make the effort/trip to get them as short and easy as possible.
    Zico style rear wheel well backup lights are a great safety item Aluminum wheels not only look great, but ease brake fade on runs
    CAFS - Good way to stretch your water when its needed most
    Build-in enough compartment space to allow room for growth
    Phoenix spec (oversized) front tires for better handling and minimized lateral tire roll

    Stay low and move it in
    Last edited by STATION2; 08-10-2004 at 06:43 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003


    Your looking at a single axle if your funds permit i would look towards a tandem. whatever you do get those super singles on the front axle.
    Also I concur with the above statments get the CAFS, lighting all around, more than req. ground ladders, and use that front bumper we made a mistake in specing our quint and our bumper sticks out 18" and is basically just a place to sit .

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    ChiefSquirrel, Send me an email. I was chairperson for our 75' quint we just ordered. I have plenty of info for you (notes, photos blueprints) email me at avaal@psci.net


  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber mohican's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Default We didn't get a quint, but we went thru the new truck process...

    With the limited water on a quint, I would look very hard at CAFS

    The new Allison "World" transmission can have 2 seperate "live" ptos, you can pull up to a scene, engage the pto and have mega light on the scene - keep the rpms down

    If this is a "do all" truck, a front bumper hose well, and maybe front bumper jaws reel can helf quite a bit

    Get as many demo trucks in as possible at intervals. That way you can have your department try them out, get back to the comittee, write likes/dislikes and things to look for on other trucks.

    Manuevablility can be important. Thats why you want a representative demo, so you can drive the truck to the tightest spot you can think of. Some of the demos didn't pass our manueverablility test. I know that manueverablility may or may not be your key issue with a quint, but you need to make sure it works for you before you buy it.

    This is an expensive truck to begin with, so you should look at what some will term as options as long term investments. CAFS, LED lighting (much less load on the alternator) Figure out how much you'll need from the generator, andget it a little bigger.

    but again, demos', demo's, demo's. You'll see which local truck people are willing to work with you.

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