1. #1
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    Default Trailers pulled behind Engines

    I work for a large metropolitain fire department, and sit (union side) on our health and safety board. The territory we serve is entirely surronded by water (and consequently in the winter, ice).

    Several of our stations operate marine divisions, but with the exception of one all of the boats are housed at the station and in the event of a call the Engine (pumper) pulls the boat behind the truck on a trailer; and this while repsonding lights and siren. Unfortunately that boats are not always located in a station that is closest to the water, but thats another debate.

    Recently the City has advised us that it plans to equip the ice rescue teams with large heated and insulated trailers (4 of them in all) that will be approximately 20 feet long. These will also be pulled behind the engine for calls.

    Niether the boat trailers, or the ice rescue trailers are identified, or have emergency flashers. Other than two little orange flags, you can barely see the boat in your mirrors.

    It is my belief that the trailer will do a good job of obstructing the emergency lights on the rear of the pump. That and I find it completely ridiculous to be pulling something behind a pump to begin with especially when responding to emergency calls.

    I was wondering if anyone else had any similiar experience with pulling trailers behind a pump? Are they identified? Do they have lights? How efficient is it?

    Looking through the NFPA norms, I cannot seem to find anything that covers trailers pulled behind fire apparatus.

    Any comments appreciated,

    Chris
    chrisr@axess.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtlFire
    It is my belief that the trailer will do a good job of obstructing the emergency lights on the rear of the pump. That and I find it completely ridiculous to be pulling something behind a pump to begin with especially when responding to emergency calls.[/email]
    I dont think ridiculous is a strong enough word. What are they thinking?
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    When you think about it, a tiller is nothing more than a glorified trailer.

    Seriously, having a trailer hitched to an engine might make sense in some cases. If it's a true emergency, you can still run lights and sirens. No one said you had to drive like an idiot while you are pulling a trailer. Of course no one says you have to drive like an idiot when you don't have a trailer.
    (BTW I'm not actually being critical of anyone's driving here, I'm just making a point). Is a speeding F450 pulling a trailer with lights and siren any safer? Probably not.

    The issue about not being able to see the trailer and apparatus lighting not being visible from the rear are a different animal IMO. These are safety issues at any speed in any vehicle.

    Another consideration is GVW. I don't know about you, but our pumpers are loaded to the gills with water and equipment. If we were to hitch up a trailer, our payload would probably be measured in ounces. (Yes, I'm exaggerating a bit ) Overloading is also a serious safety issue that can't be ignored.

    I agree that pulling a trailer with an engine is probably not an ideal solution and driver training needs alone might be enough to scuttle serious consideration of the idea, but if it can be done safely, then it might be worth looking into.
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    20ft enclosed is a little too much, a boat trailer is one thing, at 20ft that is more like something a pick up truck should be doing or a Chiefs SUV....just my .02

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    1. Obviously I don't condone speeding or diriving eradically at any speed. Having never driven an Engine with a trailer behind it I don't have first hand experience, but I would assume that at any speed a small truck vs. an engine would be safer and practical.

    2. Nautical wise we would prefer to have ALL of the boats in the water especially when we have stations that are a stones throw away from the water.

    This would eliminate the trailer at least for the boats. This is something we are currently exploring, and is definately the unions position.

    3. What really worried me was the the large enclosed trailers. They look huge and I cannot imagine pulling it behind an engine. Hence I was wondering if anyone else knew of this practice.

    I'm hoping to get a chance to see one before they are put in service.

    I imagine that the City does not want to add a smaller truck to pull the trailers due to our minimum staffing per vehicle clause.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtlFire
    I imagine that the City does not want to add a smaller truck to pull the trailers due to our minimum staffing per vehicle clause.Chris
    So do what some of the departments in my area do. They have rescue boats on trailers that are housed with engine and/or truck companies but they have pick-up trucks or SUVs to pull the trailers. When a call comes in, a FF from the truck or engines hops in the pick-up/SUV and follows the BRT to the call. If that truck or engine is out on another call or whatever, they just dispatch the next due boat.

    Our boat is also on a trailer but is pulled by our DC buggy (F350 4x4). If the DC is out, our Opps Chief (if available) will pull it with his buggy (same as the DC). If the hes out as well, one FF from the engine will hook up our utillity (also a 4x4) and follow the engine to the call. If nobodys available, the next due boat gets dispatched.
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    Hey, I see you are not too far from us, only about 2 hours north up across the boarder!

    Anyways.. back on topic.

    A few departments throughout the state have acquired HazMat decon trailers for state wide use through grants from the State of VT. The option was there to have a pickup truck delivered also as part of the grant outfitted as a tow vehicle, as well as to have apparatus retroffited with tow gear. SOP for these responses are the same. Lights and siren on at all times, but no "aggressive" driving... No speeding, no overtaking vehicles in the wrong lane, or in the center of the road, etc. It's mostly a "flow of traffic" response, but with L&S going.

    Just some food for thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    So do what some of the departments in my area do. They have rescue boats on trailers that are housed with engine and/or truck companies but they have pick-up trucks or SUVs to pull the trailers. When a call comes in, a FF from the truck or engines hops in the pick-up/SUV and follows the BRT to the call. If that truck or engine is out on another call or whatever, they just dispatch the next due boat.

    Our boat is also on a trailer but is pulled by our DC buggy (F350 4x4). If the DC is out, our Opps Chief (if available) will pull it with his buggy (same as the DC). If the hes out as well, one FF from the engine will hook up our utillity (also a 4x4) and follow the engine to the call. If nobodys available, the next due boat gets dispatched.
    Dave, I think what he's saying is that the staffing requirement prevents them from taking someone off another truck, and putting them on a different piece of apparatus for an incident. If an engine is supposed to have X amount of firefighters, then it always has X. By the sounds of it, they don't have any two piece companies (Engine + Pickup, etc). The pickup would mean that they'd need more guys by the sounds of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Res343cue
    Dave, I think what he's saying is that the staffing requirement prevents them from taking someone off another truck, and putting them on a different piece of apparatus for an incident. If an engine is supposed to have X amount of firefighters, then it always has X. By the sounds of it, they don't have any two piece companies (Engine + Pickup, etc). The pickup would mean that they'd need more guys by the sounds of it.
    Thats exactly it, Engine and Rescue are 4, Ladders are 3. All trucks must have an officer on them. We do have some specialty trucks like HAZ-MAT that are 2, but the HAZ-MAT engine and ladder are still 4/3.

    I don't think we would have any objection to the 4 moving from the engine to a pickup for a call, but definately not spliting the teams.

    Hopefully the boat issue will be settled by next spring as its a shame to have stations on the waterfront that could walk to a boat and instead its being pulled behind an engine from inland.

    At $18,000 CDN for the ice rescue trailers, I'm sure there is a better solution. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't off base and that perhaps a lot of departments also work this way.

    Ironically I had contacted at least a dozen IAFF locals south of the border, no one responded . So thought I would try the forums.


    Chris

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    A few Vermont departments that have trailers and pickups/engines that can tow..

    Barre City Fire Department - (802) 476 0254, ask for Chief Peter John.

    South Burlington Fire Department - (802)846-4110 , and ask for Chief Doug Brent.

    Berlin Volunteer Fire Department - (802)485-8343 , and ask for Chief Billy Clifford.

    City of Burlington Fire Department - (802) 864-4554

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head right now... Hope it helps
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
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    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Res343cue
    Dave, I think what he's saying is that the staffing requirement prevents them from taking someone off another truck, and putting them on a different piece of apparatus for an incident. If an engine is supposed to have X amount of firefighters, then it always has X. By the sounds of it, they don't have any two piece companies (Engine + Pickup, etc). The pickup would mean that they'd need more guys by the sounds of it.
    So do we, but if the boat gets a call and nobody is around to take it except for the engine crew, then the engine goes as well. As long as your on the same call it doesnt matter that one is pulling the boat and the other 3 are in the engine. Same goes for the brush truck (when we still had one). It wasnt staffed, we had the engine crew take it, along with the engine.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 11-26-2005 at 04:53 PM.
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    Our technical rescue team USED to pull a 20' enclosed trailer behind an engine before the new apparatus arrived.

    OUR main problem was that the trailer was SO heavy that we kept breaking hitches. We had a custom hit designed and welded to the frame, but it was still dangerous. Of course it had trailer brakes.

    Our trailer also had emergency lights (minimal) placed on the rear of the trailer. It was not towed all the time, only when a technical rescue call came in.

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    My dept has more trailers than you can shake a hockey stick at.

    Special Ops/Hazmat team has a soda truck style tractor trailer. Special ops has also acquired 2 28' triple axle trailers, one for trench and another for decon. They also have a 14' single axle that I don't even know what they use it for anymore-used to be the decon trailer before the new big one. There is a duallie F350 4 door pickup for towing these trailers. They bought it because they got sick of using the tractor of the big special ops rig to pull the fire education smokehouse, now special ops has taken it.

    We have a boat for water rescue, I believe a 14' on trailer. It is towed by a dedicated water rescue rig, which is a F350 with a rescue body on the back. The WR rig and boat are kept at a station that is right on the river. The station is a single engine house, 3 men. It responds as a 2 piece company, 2 on the engine and 1 driving the WR rig. Before the WR rig was acquired, they used the spare BC suburban or the grass rig/minipumper.

    As far as I know, noone has ever considered towing anything behind an engine.

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    We have a VT Decon trailer. We had to jump through some hoops to get funded for a tow vehicle. (chassis no body) My fellow Vermonter Res343cue is partially correct on the how the funding went on vehicles. But that is another story...... I know I lived through it...

    We have a F550 crew cab with a utility body. It has a class V (5) hitch with the full trailer brakes etc. We went heavy on the tow vehicle because it has more than just towing the trailer as it's mission.

    Our trailer is a Pace 20 foot enclosed and it is rated at 7000 #. With that you need at least a 3/4 ton truck to get the tow rating up in the 7000# range. The other departments that Res343cue mentioned have mostly 3/4 ton trucks for towing. Hartford had a 1/2 ton but it wasn't cutting it, I think they upgraded.

    I own a 28 foot travel trailer and tow it with a F250 with a V10. You should not skimp on the tow vehicle, especially if you need to get there in a reasonable time. Especially if the person driving has limited trailer towing skills.

    Towing behind the engine does not make sense at all. You have to watch what you are doing with our 550 forget about the 30 foot long engine! Your movement in tight areas is going to be VERY limited with an engine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefDog
    We have a VT Decon trailer. We had to jump through some hoops to get funded for a tow vehicle. (chassis no body) My fellow Vermonter Res343cue is partially correct on the how the funding went on vehicles. But that is another story...... I know I lived through it...
    We both know it's all about who you know.....

    Some departments didn't need a tow vehicle, but got one anyways. I can think of two right off the top of my head.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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