1. #1
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    Default Tools in the Cab

    Got a question for the "older" folks with regard to change. At our station, we have recently (3-5 yrs) had a large influx of younger, more aggressive, train hard members. Myself, being the young Asst Chief, see things from what noth generations bring. Currently our station houses 2 Engines, 1 Rescue-Engine, and a Tower Ladder. All of the Engine have 8 Man cabs. I propsed that we take out the 2 non-pack seats in each apparatus and put tools in there (irons, hook, can, Tic, Rabbit tool). I got the look of "what are you retarded?" from the chief. When I explained my theory, basically you have your tools when you come off the truck, therefore you are ready to go. The chief's mentality was, well it's already in a side compartment somewhere, thay can just get it from the compartment, and how would you secure it in the cab? My reply was with manpower getting shorter these days, it would be nice to have the basic tools available without having to go all over the apparatus to different compartments looking for it. And not being able to secure it in the cab from what he said, I thought was just plain ignorance on his part. We do get 8 guys on the trucks fairly often, then only get one more truck out. I said you take 2 seats out, make them 6 man cabs, get an additional apparatus out, which IMO seems logical. Not to the Chief though. Anyway, I got the funding for the tools, the installation brakets, and got the Chief Engineers permission to take the seats out, and the support of 90% of the members who ACTUALLY RIDE THE TRUCKS. Now I'm stuck b/c I still can't get support from the chief. So, Any adivce???

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    Drop it. It looks too me like the Chief is pretty well set on this. No reason to put yourself on his sh*t list. Choose your battles wisley.

    For what its worth, we dont carry any tools in the cab, except for handlights and the TIC. We put all the "basic" tools, the ones we use most often, in one compartment. No running around the truck pulling stuff out of different compartments required.
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    I'm with Dave on this one. Looks like the Chief has taken a strong stance on this, and it's not worth the battle.

    Both at work and at my VFD, we don't ride with tools in the cab either. The 5 seconds it takes to come out of the cab and walk to the forcible entry compartment doesn't truly effect the outcome of the incident.

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    I think that your chief may be cautioning on the side of liability, which is a good thing. Anything mounted in the cab is supposed to withstand a 9G force, if memory serves me correctly under NFPA standards. Hoping nothing happens but if it should; the tools could become lethal weapons.

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    I think the others have pretty well hit the nail on the head regarding this issue and your chief.

    That said, I like the idea of some first-line tools being in the cab. There are mounts made for some tools that are designed specifically for the 9G (or whatever it is) rule so that they can be carried in the cab.

    My short list would definitely include Irons and TIC. No room for a hook of any practical size and we don't have a rabbit tool.
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    A fair compromise would be to get the tools out of the compartments and mount them on the exterior of the rig within easy reach. We have a 6' hook, Pick axe, FH axe and bar and 6' sheetrock rake all on the exterior of our rig. Theres an additional bar in one of the curb side compartments that I frequenty grab along with the 6' hook.

    I would suggest the front bumper, but it looks like all 3 of your rigs have 2 bumper pans, limiting the space you can mount stuff there. The only secret to keepin tools on the outside is proper care. Clean and oil them every week or 2 or when they show signs of rust.

    Kinda funny, when I belonged to my old VFD it took me almost a year, If memory serves right, to get them to buy just one 6' hook. Yeah, we didnt even have one! They didnt see the need for it, dinosaur mentality.
    Last edited by MG3610; 09-02-2006 at 07:18 AM.

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    Thanks all for the words of wisdom. I Like the idea of having 1 compartment with the "basics" in it, but as with the tools in cab, its been tough to get little things that Chief's shouldn't worry about changed. I'm aware of the 9G rule, and have all the compliant mounting hardware for it.

    Mg3610, Same thing here with the 6' hooks, it's taken a while. From what I see at different places, Pike poles are becoming a thing of the past. I know they have a place in the Fire service, but with most places using hooks, poles should be no less than 8 feet for apparatus IMO.

    lvwrench, I agree on the liability issue, hense the proper mounting eqpt. The word liability though IMO is killing the Fire service as a whole. I know there has to a "responsible party" if something goes wrong, but nationwide, it's getting to the point where you can sometimes not do your job. I understand the aggressive vs safety vs liability, but that all falls under one category: Common sense. Either people have it, or they don't; that's where decisions are made.

    On a side note, someone once told me this:
    Being a Firefighter is 90% common sense, 9% training, and 1% of putting common sense and training together!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JTFIRE80

    Mg3610, Same thing here with the 6' hooks, it's taken a while. From what I see at different places, Pike poles are becoming a thing of the past. I know they have a place in the Fire service, but with most places using hooks, poles should be no less than 8 feet for apparatus IMO.
    Not to sidetrack too much, but when you say pike poles, I assume you are refering to old fashioned standard head poles. Generally, these heads have very little value, as they are thin and the curve of the hook is drastic. The increase in popularity of hooks like the "All purpose" (or Halligan Head), Sheetrock Head, NY Hook, Boston Rake and others makes it much easier to do certain tasks. The issue is that when most companies spec new rigs they get thew typical NFPA hook compliment with hollow core fiberglass poles and standard heads. Basically useless tools. Getting some of the more task specific heads on longer poles will only be of benefit. In some of these McMansions, like you guys have in your district too, the 8' hook may be the tool of choice due to vaulted ceilings. Same goes for commercial buildings. Anyway, back to the original programming.

    Perhaps you start small, one tool at a time in the cab. See what the response by the troops is and perhaps da Chief will come around. Just a thought. I still like having some tools on the exterior, mounted at a level you can reach from the ground for quick grab and go.

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    One addotional downside of tools in the cab (besides the safety issue) ....

    Ya get to a job, and there seems like there is nothing too it, so the crew doesn't pull the tools. Now, if they need them, instead of just reaching into the outside compartment to get what they need, they now need to climb into the cab. Or you arrive with a driver only (if you are a vollie department) and the guys on scene needs tools.. they need to get into the cab to get the tools.

    To me it's easier to keep them in an organized, dedicated tool compartment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    One addotional downside of tools in the cab (besides the safety issue) ....

    Ya get to a job, and there seems like there is nothing too it, so the crew doesn't pull the tools. Now, if they need them, instead of just reaching into the outside compartment to get what they need, they now need to climb into the cab.

    To me it's easier to keep them in an organized, dedicated tool compartment.
    Thats a training issue. The tools should come off for every run, including alarm bells.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610
    Thats a training issue. The tools should come off for every run, including alarm bells.

    True That!!

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    Hmmm, put more tools in the cab...and Phoenix is removing SCBA's from the cab. Wow, talk about different ends of a theory!

    Ok, a company near me went and put tools in their cabs for the reasons you stated above. What they found was guys were now slower getting off the truck and ready to go as they had an extra thing in their hands while trying to open the doors and step off the truck. Started having guys trip and miss steps. They ended up removing the tools and putting them back outside. Now maybe these guys were uncoordinated, but that is what they found happening.

    And I disagree with putting it all in 1 compartment. Guys get off both sides of the truck so put the tools in each side. No need to make 2 guys walk around the truck to get their tools. Split your tasks and put the tools necessary for those tasks on the appropriate side of the truck. (Irons and Can sit on driver side, OV and Roof sit on passenger side - put right tools on each side)
    Last edited by Bones42; 09-05-2006 at 10:31 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTFIRE80
    Anyway, I got the funding for the tools, the installation brakets, and got the Chief Engineers permission to take the seats out, and the support of 90% of the members who ACTUALLY RIDE THE TRUCKS. Now I'm stuck b/c I still can't get support from the chief. So, Any adivce???
    I'm not sure from your post, but please tell us that you did not get the funding for the tools and brackets and the Chief Engineers permission after the chief said no.
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    MG ...

    Let me explain my post .....


    I agree that if the truck is staffed the tools should come off for every call when the firefighters dismount if they know what thier assignment will be in advance. In a fully paid department with a dedicated crew or a volunteer department that sees a full crew in the truck all or most of the time, this could make the operation more efficiant (we won't discuss my safety concerns for the moment). However, in the case of a volunteer department such as ours where the custom cabs truck often roll with just a driver or a driver and front-seat firefighter, the tools in the cab may not be the most efficiant way to go. In addition to the SCBA in the cab, both the custom cab engine and rescue have several SCBAs and flashlights mounted in outside compartments, making it unecessary for the volunteers meeting the apparatus at the scene to actually get into the truck to mask up. In our case, mounting the tools in the cab would (in most cases) actually make our operations less efficiant. For us, tools in the compartments are the most efficiant way to go as the truck more often than not actually arrives without a dedicated crew, and if it does have a crew, each truck generally does not have a dedicated assignment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    And I disagree with putting it all in 1 compartment. Guys get off both sides of the truck so put the tools in each side. No need to make 2 guys walk around the truck to get their tools.

    I guess I should have specified, one compartment per side.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 09-06-2006 at 10:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    MG ...

    Let me explain my post .....


    I agree that if the truck is staffed the tools should come off for every call when the firefighters dismount if they know what thier assignment will be in advance. In a fully paid department with a dedicated crew or a volunteer department that sees a full crew in the truck all or most of the time, this could make the operation more efficiant (we won't discuss my safety concerns for the moment). However, in the case of a volunteer department such as ours where the custom cabs truck often roll with just a driver or a driver and front-seat firefighter, the tools in the cab may not be the most efficiant way to go. In addition to the SCBA in the cab, both the custom cab engine and rescue have several SCBAs and flashlights mounted in outside compartments, making it unecessary for the volunteers meeting the apparatus at the scene to actually get into the truck to mask up. In our case, mounting the tools in the cab would (in most cases) actually make our operations less efficiant. For us, tools in the compartments are the most efficiant way to go as the truck more often than not actually arrives without a dedicated crew, and if it does have a crew, each truck generally does not have a dedicated assignment.
    I run a 2 man engine Co. No explanation needed. As I said, tools in the cab for the crew (if you have em in the back) and a few in the compartments for easy reach at street level. In my old dept, we mounted the axe and bar in the engine cab within reach of the street, so anyone (crew on board or someone reaching in from the street) could reach them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Split your tasks and put the tools necessary for those tasks on the appropriate side of the truck. (Irons and Can sit on driver side, OV and Roof sit on passenger side - put right tools on each side)
    I know this is off topic, but wouldn't it be the other way around? have the irons and can on the officer side (as they do inside supervised by the officer), while the OV and roof guy operate under the driver's "supervision." or do you operate differently?
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    We have the tools on both sides. Positions aren't assigned by seats. 1 call, the irons guy could be on drivers side, next call they could be on passenger side.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    We have the tools on both sides. Positions aren't assigned by seats. 1 call, the irons guy could be on drivers side, next call they could be on passenger side.
    Riding assignments is a whole other issue I'm at my whits end with too, but I won't go into that here. My personal belief is there should not be riding assignments by seats, but rather by manpower. A carreer dept can do it by seats, but with Vol. ff's, I think it's better to have it set up with how many people are on the apparatus, weather it be 4 or all the way up to 8, and the tolls/jobs are determined by that.

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    After attending a CFA Pumper roll over a number of yeras ago, I've changed my view on anything in the cabin except people and the map book!

    Scary stuff, and even scarier when you think you've got it well secured and it ends up coming away!!! (There's a hell of a lot of force in any accident....)
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    Allow me to propose a different point of view from the fire chief's perspective.

    Every day I have enthusiastic firefighters bouncing into my office proposing new ideas. Many of these ideas are pretty far fetched. Some are not workable for various safety, financial, logistic, time, or other reasons. Many of the proposals are simply far more trouble than they are worth. Some actually conflict with yesterday's group of proposals. There is simply no way I can honor these multitude of requests.

    Like you, these firefighters are convinced their project is the next BBD (bigger, better deal). They are sometimes put out that the chief isn't interested. Some take it personal. So, how do you get the chief to really listen to your idea?

    The firefighter who gets the most attention is the one who makes arrangements to see me when I'm not snowed under with budget problems or when I have a meeting in ten minutes I'm trying to prepare for. My recommendation is that you make an appointment to see your chief at a specific time. When you arrive, spell out the problem as you see it and then the solution. Show your costs, mounting bracket ideas, diagrams, etc. Wrap up by addressing any questions you might anticipate such as cab impact, security, or ease of access. If you can play a good salesman, end the presentation by listing all the advantages of your idea. Then ask the chief if he has any questions you can answer. Make it obvious that you defer to him as the final authority. This removes the "I better put my foot down because I'm the chief" response that often occurs.

    Even if the answer is "no", thank the chief for his time and offer to assist with any other projects which may arrive in the future. Leave the info with the chief. He may change his mind after discussing it with other officers. Should you receive a firm "no" answer then accept it, drop the issue, and move on. Life and bosses are full of "no".

    I hope this helps! Good luck.
    Last edited by dragenrider; 09-19-2006 at 05:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    I know this is off topic, but wouldn't it be the other way around? have the irons and can on the officer side (as they do inside supervised by the officer), while the OV and roof guy operate under the driver's "supervision." or do you operate differently?
    With the exception of the knob (which is determined by which side of the rig the fires on), we have no seat "assignments" for tools/equipment or tasks. Who grabs what and what task you are assigned is determined by staffing, when you arrive and what the CO determines they need/want.

    If a first in rig has 4, the jumpseat FF who doesnt have the knob grabs the irons. If we have 3, the CO will grab the irons. This would all change if your 2nd or 3rd due. A 3rd due may need to bring hooks in, 2nd due the PPV.

    We dont have FFs climbing off the rig and grabing the same tools or doing the same job on every call .
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    Default What about the other half?

    [QUOTE=JTFIRE80] We do get 8 guys on the trucks fairly often, then only get one more truck out. I said you take 2 seats out, make them 6 man cabs, get an additional apparatus out, which IMO seems logical. Not to the Chief though. QUOTE]


    Maybe you can "sell" half of your idea to the Chief. If your Dept. has enough qualified operators enact or change your operational policies so that you can get that second apparatus out the door. I have no idea what will work for your Dept, Splitting the 8 responding between the two rigs that you need to roll IMO seems simple. Taking into consideration almost nothing is a simple as it seems. Pre determine a minimum that can be split. It will take some trial and error to get the result you are looking for. A few of the selling points could be the safety considerations for having a reserve pumper on scene along with the extra equipment carried on it in the event of a failure. Having the ability to position the second in pumper at the rear of a structure, at the hydrant or end of a long drive way for water supply, or at a distance from an MVA to start slowing traffic or block a road outright.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

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    we have one truck with tools in the cab and i love it

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    We keep TIC's, Large area search bags, Irons, and usually a closet hook in our apparatus. Several members have spent many hours laying out new equipment layouts on our engines, and are currently working on our Rescue squad. We want to get the maximum use out of the available space on the apparatus without hindering FF maneuverability and safety. I am all for mounting tools inside the cab as long as it is safe!

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