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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Default Fire Fighter Safety in Wildland Pump and Roll

    I am trying to acumulate information so that I can write up a report about FF safety around moving apparatus and wildland pump and roll operations specifialy.

    We have a lot of grass/sagebrush fires that move VERY fast and that pose unique dangers. It is very hard to get out of the way of these things and they can move/change directsion faster then you can react.

    Pump and roll is about the only way to combat these things. Its often impossible to walk/jog as fast at they move so for the most part ridding on the back of the aparatus is the most effective way to fight them.

    But its also the most dangerous. There are now alternatives that work well. Like burmper mounted remote control monitor guns.

    I want to get statistics together for FF fatailities and close calls in regarurds to apparatus accidents involving ridding on apparatus, getting run over by apparatus, etc... I also want to find stats on heart atacks in the fire service as walking besie a wildland truck wearing full PPE on a 105 degreee day draging hardline is overload for many FFs unfortunatly.

    I want to try and break the bad habid of ridding on the back of moving apparatus with no safety precautions and provide an alternative to humping along side the brush truck.
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  2. #2
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    One option may be to pipe a booster line from the pump into the cab. I have no idea how successful it would be on a commercial chassis but the brush truck we had (ex-military 1/2 ton)had 2 booster lines (one on the drivers side, one on the passengers side) run directly from the pump and through the backwall of the cab. It allowed both the driver and passenger to fight fire from inside the cab as the truck moved.

    Another option may be a small line, like 1" forestry line, just long enough to reach the cab window connected to a discharge. This could also be run through the body as well I guess.

    To me, working from the backstep sounds just to dangerous.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber rualfire's Avatar
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    Default Wildland

    There have been several close calls relating to wildland fires, and riding on moving trucks while fighting them (in my dept).

    In the past, there were two types of ride on vehicles we used for grass/brush fires.

    1 was the front mount pump/tank. we had three of these in service with extended bumpers on the front and rail's extending up from the bumer to give a firefighter a place to hang onto while using a stinger (short line) from the front mount pump to attck the fireline while rolling. The promblem with this arrangment was that the men standing on the bumper would block the headlights and the vision of the driver making for poor visibility. Secondly, there was nothing to secure the ff's from being thrown off the vehicle. They would simply wedge themselves betwen the front of the truck and the rail which ran across the front of the truck at the ff's chest level. We have gone away from this arrangment and new trucks are outfitted with remote control bumper nozzles.

    The second type of ride on vehicle was a bush buggy. a pickup with a skid tank and pump combination. Again a steel frame was mounted in the back for the ff to stand in while attacking the fire on the roll. The hazard here was greater. These light trucks are more manouverable and can get into more extreme terrain. The hazard was mostly beeing thrown from the truck due to rough conditions. This haz been mitigated a little bit with a combination of remote nozzles, and a transverse seating arrangment with roll cage, and seat belts.


    I can tell you of 2 close calls I experienced while riding in the bush buggy type of truck.


    1) attacking the flank of a wind driven grass fire. Driver is avoiding tree's etc and hits a large hole. I in the back am thrown in the air and come down to land on the discharge manifold of the pump with my knee and my chest into the steel frame. injuries are minor bruising and wind knocked out of me.


    2) same type of vehicle, heavy brush fire in river valley. Driver can't see 4 - 5 foot drop off in front of the truck at twilight. Truck drops in and gets high centered. Nose into the dirt. FF gets thrown into the steel frame with similar injuries. Truck is balanced at ceter point, and can be 'teetered' by pulling down on the rear bumper with little force...


    These two incidents are the major drivers for not purchasing ride on pumper/tankers and modifying the design of bush buggy's to include safer seating arrangments for ff's.


    Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any additional information.

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    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    We've found that our F250 metal style mirror will "lock in" a booster reel hose. Driver cranks up the pump, charges the line, and sets the line between the mirror and the door, and the stream will shoot forward and to the left, or the driver can use his free hand to aim it. Passenger comes along, he can do the same from the passengers side. Our general policy is no riders on back, unless speeds stay in 1st gear, with rider sitting in a safe place. If a field fire is moving too fast, we will get at the edge of the field and start pre-wetting to try to stop it at the edge until the plow can put in, staying clear of the head of the fire. No field fire is worth somebody getting hurt over.

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    We are just finishing up a conversion of a CL6 IH 4x4 (AF surplus) to a wildland truck. Copied design saw on at http://www.weisfiresafety.com/fire_trucks.htm I convienced the chief the smart/safe thing vs. typical of guys on tailboard. Whips/stinger lines are plumbed directly behind the cab where the driver can see and talk to the operator (not at the rear of the truck). Nice high safety rail and the only boarding point is on the left (drivers) side of the truck (6" fron the drivers door).

    We also have plumbed a 1.5" line under the flatbed on each side and have an old 1.5" nozzle mounted (fixed position). If appropriate based on terrain (or responding manpower) we can start the pump, open the nozzle and motor along the edge of the fire (driving on the burned side of course). Works pretty well. We have a 600gal tank so not so worried about water consumption as the case with the little pickup rigs.

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    An associated question. I recently read about a 3 man crew operating a brush rig at a wildland grass fire. In Western Iowa I think. Truck stalled and at least 2 of the guys were burned (not in appropriate gear.

    Their story was the truck stalled as was not getting sufficient O2 due to heavy smoke conditions. Call me skeptical, I've never heard of a military vehicle stalling (under very heavy smoke/obscuration due to lack of oxygen in the intake air. I pretty sure the human engine will shut down long before an internal combustion engine will. But anyone have some data/info? Does not make sense to me.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Originally posted by neiowa
    An associated question. I recently read about a 3 man crew operating a brush rig at a wildland grass fire. In Western Iowa I think. Truck stalled and at least 2 of the guys were burned (not in appropriate gear.

    Their story was the truck stalled as was not getting sufficient O2 due to heavy smoke conditions. Call me skeptical, I've never heard of a military vehicle stalling (under very heavy smoke/obscuration due to lack of oxygen in the intake air. I pretty sure the human engine will shut down long before an internal combustion engine will. But anyone have some data/info? Does not make sense to me.
    I doubt the engin was out of O2. Not sure what %O2 a IC engine need to run, but as you say the people will croak long before that.

    We have a unit (trying to get rid of the POS) set up as a wildland heavy. It is a Chevy C60 (or maybe 65) from the 70s. I have personaly had it conk out on my twice right at the head of running prairie fires.

    We finaly diagnosed the problem as vapor lock. At the head of the fires when things started to get hot as hell it would just quite. The gas tank are exposed along the side rails, stock mounting position. I am guessing it simply vaporlocs when the gas in the tanks heats up and starts to make to much vapor.

    NOT a good situation. This unit has been relatgated to being a light tender only now, its not allowed to direct attack any fires. Hopefully it will be gone and replaced in the next few years.

    I was driving the last time it died at the head. I had a guy on the back in our "monkey bars", basicaly a rail that runs around the entire box so that somebody can ride on the back...just what I am trying to get away from!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We had about 100 yards of heavy prairie fire to our front (CRP field threatening a farm yard with out buildings). We were pump and roll and doing pretty well for the conditions. We had been operating from the unburned side by terrain neccesity.

    Flame lenghts were about 5-10 feet depending on wind gusts, but we were getting the edge foamed down enough to slow it good enough for the tail end charlie brush truck to knock it flat.

    I felt the engine start to go so I just cranked it hard INTO the fire...on through...and into the black which was still VERY HOT!!!!

    Jim (the guy on the back) was more then a bit startled...he thought I had gone ape sh*t. He was yelling "DONT STOP!!! KEEP GOING!!!"

    Well, needless to say I couldnt. I am glad he was wearing full PPE including Goggles and face shroud. It got pretty hot, I know because I had my window on the drivers side open to communicate with Jim and I didnt have my goggles and shroud on.

    We made it through into the black and the engine had completely died by then and we just coasted the last few feet to safety. Our pump motor was still running so we cooled down under the truck to avoid it burning up since we were sitting in some hot black.

    We reported to the IC that we were out of action but safe.

    We then pulled all the line in the truck (IIRC about 1000 feet of wildland hose) and did what we could but the fire of course rapidly out distanced us even with the best efforst of the Type 6 that was following us.

    I hate that truck!
    -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.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fire Fighter Safety in Wildland Pump and Roll

    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES
    We have a lot of grass/sagebrush fires that move VERY fast and that pose unique dangers. It is very hard to get out of the way of these things and they can move/change directsion faster then you can react.

    Pump and roll is about the only way to combat these things. Its often impossible to walk/jog as fast at they move so for the most part ridding on the back of the aparatus is the most effective way to fight them.

    But its also the most dangerous. There are now alternatives that work well. Like burmper mounted remote control monitor guns.

    I want to get statistics together for FF fatailities and close calls in regarurds to apparatus accidents involving ridding on apparatus, getting run over by apparatus, etc... I also want to find stats on heart atacks in the fire service as walking besie a wildland truck wearing full PPE on a 105 degreee day draging hardline is overload for many FFs unfortunatly.
    By no means do I think CDF is the end all be all of fire departments but have you taken a look at their tactics. They seem to be quite good at all types of running fires. I have worked a lot in sagebrush country too. I agree having the passenger operate the nozzle out the window sometimes works great. Also small remote control turrets show promise but of course cost to darn much. But if experience is any indicator I think that is the way we will end up sometime in the future when it gets regulated that way to get the firefighters out of the heat and smoke.

    For the most part, though, we use dozers to fight running range fires if they are too fast for an engine and a firefighter walking in front.

    Birken

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Thanks for the awsome input guys! It seems like there are at least a few of us here with similar situations.

    We do have the solution we have settled on.

    - Remove all provisions for riding on the apparatus externaly. No more "Monkey Bars" or even a place to sit. Every spaced is used by something on purpose to make it very uncomfortable to ride.

    - Instilation of FireFox monitor guns on front bumper. Adjust able flow from 5-10gpm up to 120gpm.

    - SOPs involving FF staying in the cab, belted, 4low off road, use of monitor guns, etc...

    That is the solution we have, but what I need more is to find stats on FF deaths from heart attack and apparatus accidents. We like how the above works but I need more ammo to keep the district board and the county commissioners conviced so we can continued to retrofit the fleet.

    We now have 3 trucks with bumper monitors. We have about 20 to go county wide!!!

    Here is the basic set up, not one of our trucks, but we modeled ours after these with less brush buster bars.







    They work EXTREAMLY well with a bit of practice, they come natural. IMO they work better then a driver and seperate "gunner" becuae you are not having to coordiante and out guess each other. The driver drives and shoots.

    Actualy you often set the gun where you want it and then drive the stream along the fireline.

    This is what we are often faced with here for prairie fires, not a good situation to be walking along beside the brush truck or to be riding on the back.

    -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.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Fire Fighter Safety in Wildland Pump and Roll

    Originally posted by BirkenVogt


    By no means do I think CDF is the end all be all of fire departments but have you taken a look at their tactics. They seem to be quite good at all types of running fires. I have worked a lot in sagebrush country too. I agree having the passenger operate the nozzle out the window sometimes works great. Also small remote control turrets show promise but of course cost to darn much. But if experience is any indicator I think that is the way we will end up sometime in the future when it gets regulated that way to get the firefighters out of the heat and smoke.

    For the most part, though, we use dozers to fight running range fires if they are too fast for an engine and a firefighter walking in front.

    Birken
    I do use heavy machiner often, but its no longer popular. Tread lightly and all.

    I can see the point also. 5 years after a fire you cant tell where the burn was, but that dozer trail/fireline is now a new hunting road eroding way the hillside.

    We try to stop as much fire as we can with water/pump and role/slurry, but sometimes yes, we do need heavy metal.
    -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.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    bump
    -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.

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