1. #1
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    Question Let's talk tanker

    I need some help on the subject. I do not post very often, but I read as many of the posts as possible. My question is do we even have a chance for a truck. As far as trucks we have a 2005, 1995 & 1979 that are pumpers, 1993 & 1992 pickup brush trucks, 1975 rescue van, 1997 & 1991 ambulance and a 1960 that is used as a tanker. I know that some will say that if you needed a tanker, why did you buy a pumper in 2005. First we got the pumper through the State of Illinois revolving loan fund which gives us 20 years to pay back the loan. If it was not for that fact there is know way we could afford the payment. Second our thought was by already having a 1995 pumper there was know chance that AFG would fund a pumper, so we would take our chances with AFG on the tanker. The 1960 started its life as a pumper, but a few years ago the tank and body rusted away so the department placed a 1500 gal.ag spray tank on the truck and now we have a tanker that by no means meets any standards. We are a small rural department that covers two small towns, has a 105 sq. mile district, provides fire protection for 4 oil companies that have stored some 11 million barrels of crude at any one time. We run about 120 calls a year, but most are EMS related. I know this is not a lot of information, but I would like to hear your ideas.

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    Is your decision for the tanker based on a needs assessment? Remmeber the #1 priority for firefighter safety is PPE. If you have determined there are no issues or needs with PPE and SCBA's, then applying for the tanker would be the next logical step. Based on the 2006 PPT 1 in 8 vehicle apps get funded (since the inception of AFG).

    The PG states:

    Regardless of the type of community served, we believe that there is more benefit to be realized by funding fire departments that own few or no vehicles of the type they are seeking than there would be by providing vehicle funding to a department with numerous vehicles of that same type. When we assess the number of vehicles a department has within a particular class, we will include all vehicles with similar functions. For example,we consider the following to be classified in the “pumper ” category: pumpers, engines, pumper/tankers, rescue-pumpers,quints (with aerials less than 76 feet in length), and urban interface vehicles such as Type I,II or III.
    The point being is if you apply for a tanker you have 1. If you change its function such as adding a 1000 gpm pump, then the issue will be there are 3 vehicles in that classifcation.

    You should be able to justify a tanker based on safety needs. The age, does not meet standards, GVW exceeds GVWR (typically of home made tankers), improper baffling, brake system not capable of stopping the load etc.

    The fire protection of 4 oil companies is a good point to make. The one issue that sticks out is the # of calls. The lack of fire calls may hurt, but other departments have been able to secure grants with the same or less calls.

    Good luck

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    We received a AFG last year for complete PPE for all firefighters. We were able to purchased a breathing air system a few years back. Based on the fact we have to haul water to 95% of our fires is the reason for a new tanker. Is the number of calls the item that might get us kicked out by the computer?

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    It depends. Since the game changes every year, it will depend on who else is going for apparatus. I can't speak for others, but I have several departments I'm working with that have nothing newer than 1982 and run more fire-related calls. In a heads up position, they've got a higher score because you have the newer trucks and less calls.

    No single statistic will make or break you, it's the entire picture as compared to the entire picture of every other department after the computer does it's thing. As Bugle was saying, if you have the equipment situation taken care of and the tanker then takes top priority, then by all means go for it and don't hold back on any of it. Trucks are an uphill battle for everyone involved. There is no such thing as a guaranteed award or denial, and none of us can predict it. If I could I would be hitting the lottery on a regular basis.

    Good luck - Brian

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    My volly FD received a grant for a pumper in 2005. I would call the help desk and ask them what defines a piece of apparatus as a tanker. You would be surprised. I was told any fire apparatus with a tank over 1250 gallons was considered a tanker. EVEN if it had a pump.

    Unless any of your engines have over a 1250 tank the only rig that matters in your tanker grant application is your 1960 tanker

    Honestly in this day I find it kind of shortsighted not to spec a rated fire pump on a tanker. It makes it viable in stand alone situations, it makes it a replacement for a down engine, it makes it able to fill itself from draft, and finally it can off load water through the pump at a more deisrable rate.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Fyredup

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    Unless any of your engines have over a 1250 tank the only rig that matters in your tanker grant application is your 1960 tanker
    Not entirely true. They do look at the other apparatus because it's listed on the application, and past purchasing actions speak louder than any other words on the application. If all of the pumpers were bought new, then that tanker was 19, 35, and 45 years old when the pumpers were bought. So the question will arise, why wasn't one of those a tanker. Plain jane tankers cost less than pumpers, so if the need was so great, why wasn't a tanker purchased? That is the question that isn't on the application that must be answered because as sure as I'm sitting here that will be in the minds of the Peer Reviewers. It doesn't matter how bad the need is, if the department thought it was more of a priority to replace a 10 year old pumper as the front line unit, or the 45 year old tanker, then it will be read that the tanker really isn't all that bad.

    Even with the loan opportunity, which is a great thing to have and certainly not something to pass on, the question still arises, why wasn't a tanker financed that way? And the reasoning that maybe the AFG would fund one doesn't hold much water.

    So, does that mean it won't happen? Nope. It just needs to be explained properly, that's all. Most of the denied applications cause more questions to be asked than answered. Most of the 'fun' is in trying to answer the questions that haven't been asked. Certainly you have a great case to replace a 45 y/o chassis and non-compliant tank setup. No argument there. Your issue will be to convince PR why you have done what you've done and not been able to handle the tanker problem. That will be the difference between award and denial. Not impossible, just a lot more elbow grease involved than simply stating it's old and I need a new one.

    - Brian

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    The presenter at the AFG workshop I attended made a very interesting point, one that I haven't thought of. He said that if you do not have a tanker that was originally built as a tanker then in fact you do not have a tanker. He used the example if you have a converted milk truck that you use for your tanker, and even if that converted milk truck is a 2003, that in DHS's eyes, you do not have a tanker and can answer 0 on the apparatus survey on the application.

    I am wondering, since you have an old engine that you converted to a tanker if in AFG's eyes it means that you in fact do not have a tanker?

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    If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's a duck. Do that, and watch it get towed or driven out of the station when the audit happens if you get awarded. This is the same reason that they changed the PG for this year and all forestry service pieces that are technically 'on loan' with the department are now being counted when in past years they were not. If it is in your station and it is used to respond to fires, it goes on your application under the category that it fits.

    And no, I don't care that it was a DHS person that told you that, and yes, I am saying that they are wrong. Because an FPS last year told someone that tactical EMS equipment was also eligible.

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    Well, this ought to be interesting. Cuz the dude was specifically responding to a question from another person whom, I believe will be using his advice on their app. Wish I could remember where the guy was from so I could warn him.

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    It's an attempt to fool the computer scoring, but obviously when the narrative gets read it will be revealed that there is a truck performing the job of a tanker in service with the department.

    With the change in forestry listings, the only trucks that are owned by the department that do not make the application are ones that are not in service as firefighting pieces, such as antiques, or trucks that have been taken out of service for repair/safety issues. Now that doesn't mean trucks that are at the shop don't get counted. But if the truck is no longer safe for the road or does not work, or the repair estimates are more then the new one and the truck will remain out of service until someone hits the lottery, then it is not reported because the expectation is that the truck will stay out of service for more than 12 months. That's not an official DHS statement, that's my personal view. Some have tried taking trucks 'out of service' and then fixed them after the grant didn't come through. Cough, fraud, cough. But a truck that needs $20K in transmission work in order to move and is just sitting in the station because you only have a $20K per year budget, that's out of service.

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    So where in your narrative would you explain why you purchased a pumper instead of the tanker? In your project description when you are listing your other apparatus? List the new(er) apparatus and why it was replaced or List the old apparatus and "it wasn't replaced when the pumper was replaced because of blah blah blah..."

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by rbh1957
    As far as trucks we have a 2005, 1995 & 1979 that are pumpers, 1993 & 1992 pickup brush trucks, 1975 rescue van, 1997 & 1991 ambulance and a 1960 that is used as a tanker.
    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    It doesn't matter how bad the need is, if the department thought it was more of a priority to replace a 10 year old pumper as the front line unit, or the 45 year old tanker, then it will be read that the tanker really isn't all that bad.
    This is probably the first time I'll have to disagree with you Brian. Their current pumpers are 1, 11, & 27 years old. The 2005 more than likely replaced a 30+ year old pumper. At that time, they must have felt that this was their highest priority. Now, since they met that priority, their current assessment indicates that they need to replace a 46 year old tanker - their only tanker - and if their classified as Rural, an AFG apparatus priority #1. While I agree that apparatus grants are few and far between, I would still encourage folks to apply for what they feel is their highest priority.

    Wolf
    Last edited by Wolf8552; 02-27-2006 at 12:42 PM.

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    But at the time of purchase the 1979 was the 2nd due truck, and the 95 only 10 years old. So they didn't replace a 30 year old pumper. The main concern is the front line unit. So if your front line unit meets age and mileage priorities you have a good chance. They're front line pumpers are 1 and 10 years old. And if they're only running 120 calls in 2005 (mainly EMS) that leaves only 30 fire related calls if they're the average 85% EMS like the rest of us. So that 1995 can't be all that bad as a front line unit. And no matter what the claim is, the 2005 is now the front line and the 95 is 2nd due, so the 2005 did replace a 10 year old truck as the front line. I'm sure they aren't letting the nice pretty new truck sit in the station while running the 95.

    And what you just said agrees with me:
    their current assessment indicates that they need to replace a 46 year old tanker - their only tanker - and if their classified as Rural, an AFG apparatus priority #1.
    Last year it was a 45 year old tanker, so the assessment then should have pointed to a pumper-tanker as the highest priority then. 1 year at that age doesn't make it a higher priority than a pumper. If water supply is that important in rural areas, then tankers need to be replaced before pumpers. Tankers can be made to pumper like pumpers, but hard to make a pumper carry more water without being a tanker.

    And I don't disagree with applying for the tanker, I'm just trying to show the perception from the other side of the application. The issues raised are just ones that need to be addressed in order to make the application more competitive. Because if I'm reading the situation like that, faced with the DHS scoresheet PR won't see it that differently either. Again, not impossible, you just don't want to leave the unasked questions unanswered.

    - Brian

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    So here's part of a conversation that Kurt and I had. He suggested upping our pump size on the tanker we were requesting so it could be classified as a pumper as well. Greater cost benefit, etc. Now, if you add a 1250 gpm pump to a tanker and you say you are going to use it for a pumper as well then do you have to add all the NFPA recommended items to make it a Class A pumper or do you just need the equipment listed in "Mobile Water Supply?"

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    Personally I think all tankers need to be able to fill themselves independently of pumpers. Whether it's a 500gpm PTO or full blown 2000gpm war wagon, just a matter of practical design.

    You need to meet the NFPA requirements for whatever you are going to end up using it as. If you are going to outfit it with a pump to refill itself from static sources, and if needed be an 'attack pumper' only if the other trucks are busy, then it still only needs to meet Mobile Water Supply. If you are going to build a war wagon and it's going to be a pumper-tanker, then it will need to meet NFPA for both. But watch that configuration because the more it costs, the longer your chances are. $300K+ is a 1 in 92 shot. They did not give out a truck over $300K since Round 9. As they mentioned in the 2005 PPT, they are not handing out large $$ trucks to all volunteer, low call volume departments. So if you spec custom chassis pumper-tanker and it breaks the $300 mark you either better have your Aflacs in a row or drop to a commercial. Or be running oodles of fire-related calls per year.

    And to motivate you to not leave anything to doubt as you're working: just remember that I have at least 5 departments I'm writing trucks for with nothing newer than 1982, and one with all 1970s vintage 500 gallon trucks, no tanker, lots of fire-related calls, and a huge area with no hydrants. Game on!

    That's why I teach folks to know the state of the union when it comes to this stuff, and not apply for things just based on the priorities. For every department you find that is worse off than you, remember they're going to probably score higher than you on similar projects. So if you both get read and score the same on narrative, they'll be in, but you might not. And if they aren't, you sure aren't. So that means you need to hit the narrative dead-on. It's not impossible, but as I keep saying: answer the questions that no one is asking in addition to the obvious ones. It ain't easy, but not impossible.

    - Brian

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    Smile

    Brian - I value your experience and expertise. I learn a lot about the AFG program from your posts and hope that we can continue this discussion.

    I guess I'm going by what our Regional Fire Program Specialist told us at the workshop a couple of weeks ago. He described apparatus as "front-line" or "reserve" status, and not 1st due, 2nd due, etc. He further defined: any unit that is equipped and ready to respond is "front-line". A "reserve" unit would be one that is at best short of equipment and thus not ready to respond. By this definition, their 1979 unit was, and still is, "front-line" - regardless of whether it gets out the door. Going by these defintions, their assessment of needing a new pumper because one of their "front-line" engines was 27 years old is not out of order.

    I also kinda feel this is kind of a mute point of discussion. If they were asking for grant funds to replace a 10 year old unit, then that would certainly be doomed request. But they would be asking for funds to replace a 46 year old tanker. If a 10 year old pumper is an apple, then a 46 year old tanker is surely an orange, and comparing the two is a little hard to do.

    Wolf

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    Debate and discussion are fun, that's half the reason we're all here. Plus we all learn something, and that's the reason I'm here. If I knew it all I wouldn't be spending 1000+ hours a year trying to learn more. I'd be golfing or something...

    True about the apples and oranges to some extent, but both trucks fall into the same category as far as statistics go. And remember there is no longer a 'Reserve' category on the application because it was a moot point, plus people were trying to play more games with that setup and trying to beat the computer.

    And the front line debate is also a perspective issue. 1st out should always be the 'best' truck. And with 1 station, all 3 of them are in the same spot so they most likely run in order of 'newness'. So what they will be looking at somewhat is that in 2004 they had a 44 year old front line/1st out tanker, and a 1995 front line/1st out pumper, but chose to replace the pumper. That's the decision that has to be backed up in my mind. Now if the 2005 pumper was bought because the 95 was built poorly and is in the shop all of the time, then the 79 becomes the front line truck, and there is a more than valid argument to be buying the 2005 to replace that instead of the tanker. But if the 95 runs fine, the question remains: why replace a 10 year old pumper as 1st out instead of the 45 y/o 1st out tanker?

    And like I said, not impossible, not really questioning their decision to buy the pumper. maybe there was a cap on the loan amount and a tanker wasn't a possible choice. Whatever is it, we're still speculating here because not enough info was posted. but hopefully by going through this discussion folks can see that the question needs to be addressed in the narrative to the point where any outsiders will agree that buying the 2005 last year was the right choice for the conditions. There is no doubt in my mind that the tanker needs replacing, I'm just saying that because the 2005 exists there will have to be a lot more explaining done than if it wasn't. We really wouldn't be having this discussion if the 2005 wasn't there. Same as if they had 2 stations because at that point, the 79 was a 1st out truck. We don't build stations for fun, so the assumption under the number of stations is to reduce response times. In that case, the 2005 did replace the 79 as a front line truck in the 2nd station.

    This is why we say don't copy and paste narratives because everyone's situation is different, so you must have completely localized reasoning for a national problem. Mind bending isn't it?.

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    Thumbs up Thanks

    This is the kind of info I was looking for and will help alot. Just to give a little of our thinking on the last purchase. First the loan program had a limit of $250,000, Second we did not have an engine that seated more than 2 firefighters (in gear), Third the pumper we replaced was a 1969 that very few people could drive. Granted the tanker was still older than the pumper, but with the limit on the loan we did not feel we could purchase a (war wagon) with all the equipment and stay below the cap. We did purchase a 4 door International pumper which will serve us very well for many years, and by the way its not always first out. It took us 5 tries before we received a AFG and we are very thankful, if we do not receive a grant for a tanker then so be it. I am just looking to give it a honest try. The sad part of the whole program is with in 100 miles of us we still find departments that do not know about the program or they can not even come up with enough matching fund to try and get just a few sets of gear. Thanks for all your help!!

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    I forgot to ask, would we gain any points if we went with a used tanker that would meet the current standards and say kept the price under $100,000. Also I saw the posts on putting a new body etc. on a used truck and I know it would still be a vehicle grant, but would they look at it better. Thanks

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    According to the PG this is what the vehicles must meet for standards:

    New vehicles purchased with AFG program funds must
    be compliant with current NFPA 1901 or 1906 standards. Used apparatus must be compliant with NFPA 1901 or 1906 standards for the year the vehicle was manufactured. Refurbished apparatus must meet NFPA 1912 standards.
    I forgot to ask, would we gain any points if we went with a used tanker that would meet the current standards and say kept the price under $100,000.
    The PG states:

    No competitive advantage has been assigned to the purchase of standard model commercial vehicles versus custom vehicles, or the purchase of used vehicles versus new vehicles in the preliminary evaluation of applications. It has been our experience that depending on the type and size of department, the technical evaluation panelists often prefer low-cost vehicles when evaluating the cost-benefit section of the project narratives.
    When you start your narrative do not forget this training point in the PG:

    Finally, due to the inherent benefits to be realized in departments that utilize a comprehensive driver-training program, we will provide a slight competitive advantage to requests where the applicant has a comprehensive driver-training program or one that is seeking driver-training with their vehicle request.
    You should explore all alternatives when you are addressing the problem you are trying to correct. In your narrative you should state as such and why certain alternatives were discounted.

    In your case a used vehicle is a very viable solution and will have a better cost vs. benefit vs. new, which in my eyes will go a long way in the PR.

    The issue with used is; will that vehicle still be available 6 to 12 months down the road. Another issue is; are you inheriting some one elses white elephant. You need to investigate the background of a used vehicle very carefully.

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    The issue with used is; will that vehicle still be available 6 to 12 months down the road. Another issue is; are you inheriting some one elses white elephant. You need to investigate the background of a used vehicle very carefully.
    Someone once told me that buying used doesn't make sense. After all, if the person selling it would rather have the money than the truck, something probably isn't right. Granted that's an extreme, but usually accurate. As bugle mentioned, most of the time said truck isn't around in the 6-12 months it takes to find out about the award. But in many cases, the bigger city trucks that they replace after 10 years are probably pretty solid. In lower call volume areas, its a great way to pick up a truck with a larger cab, pump, and water tank than the department could afford otherwise, and it will still last another 10+ years in that environment.

    rbh - I'm working with about 30 departments so far that have either never heard of the program or never applied because they weren't sure how. Several from IL through the assistance link I have up there. I've mentioned many times to DHS types that having the application and information online is a great thing for management of the system and whatnot, but when less than 50% of the households in this country have internet access at home, how do are these departments that really need the stuff supposed to apply? Companies don't provide internet access in the rural areas because there's no cost-benefit to them to put the equipment and phone lines to handle the calls out there. Plus when DHS officially discourages paper application in their PG, some could get the message that this program isn't for them.

    This is why I was glad to hear Chief Gaines in the PodCast talk about their efforts to identify and contact those departments that haven't applied and find out why and see if it can be rectifed. I'm personally submitting applications for a lot of people this year because of the internet access issue. I haven't found a department yet that has applied all 5 years. Most have only applied 2-3. It's kinda hard to build a case for need when we're all not putting applications every year.
    Last edited by BC79er; 02-28-2006 at 07:36 AM.

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    This year will be #6 for us and I can say in our area you would be had pressed to find a department that has not applied every year. Through our Chief's Org. and MABAS division we wanted everyone to be aware of the program and help them apply if needed.

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    As far as used tankers, I have looked around and they are very hard to find unless you are satisfied with a truck that is already 20 years old. The market is thin for the most part.

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    And those generally aren't close to current NFPA 1901 anyway, so it's kinda hard to argue cost-benefit on a project where the engineering & driving risks associated with responding in it to calls will not be fixed with the purchase. Unbaffled tanks are unbaffled tanks regardless of what chassis is under them. Refurbs have been holding more water (pun intended ) because then the truck is brought to current standards.

    WARNING This is the Bad Joke Patrol. Be reassured that the offending poster will be beaten with a funny stick until actually humorous in conversation. We apologize for the slow response.

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    Bump. Good discussion/timely thread.

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