1. #1
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    Default How many engines is enough?

    As I prepare for next year's budget battles, we have a 1984 engine that we have been attempting to get replaced for a few years now.

    I have 1901 to help me argue for replacing the engine because of safety. However, I know the question will come up, "Do we even need this engine"?

    Does anyone have a reference that cites coverage of area by engines/aerials?

    It's such a complicated question based on so many variables that I really doubt there is anything more than consultant opinions out there.

    So, even if you have a rule of thumb, could you post it?

    Thanks

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    Not for sure but would the ISO classification material help?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN
    "Do we even need this engine"?
    How many engines do you operate now, out of how many stations? Do you have any reserve engines? Are you Paid / Combo / Volly?
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    We cover approx 20 sq miles, 17,000 people out of one house.

    Hydrants are limited to a few developments, commercial and industrial areas. We have numerous small bodies of water and one large lake. We rely on drafting and long hoselays as well as water tender shuttles.

    3 engines, 1 truck, 1 tender. All carry 5" hose and large booster tanks.

    Typically, the first and second due (both have 1000 gal water tanks) go to the scene and the third due establishes definitive water supply via hoselay or establishing a tender dump site.

    We could modify our approach and use two engines, by having second due establish the definitive water source. However, what we have found is that the 2000 gal's on the first two engines can stop/hold most of our fires (room and contents), and I'd hate to sacrifice that.

    We are adding CAFS to the first due, and perhaps that will mitigate the need for the third engine. However, I need to actually see it work before I'm convinced.

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    Chief,

    Several points you could make would be:

    1 - You need the engine to make your long lays, fill and dump sites, and water shuttles work.

    2 - You need the engine to supply the appropriate gpm to fires involving your commercial and industrial districts. Pick a commercial or industrial building that needs this gpm and then show what will be lost in jobs, taxes, indirect costs (if John Doe loses his job there, he wont buy a new car from the local dealer which further means less taxes for the gov).

    3 - You need the engine to provide backup coverage for when your other vehicles are out of service (at another incident, at the shop, at training, etc.).

    4 - Like lvwrench said, show them the savings throught ISO ratings associated with the 3rd pumper.

    5 - Show them the increases to the safety of your firefighters with a new engine.

    6 - Show them the efficiency of using CAFS and the need for this on a new engine.

    7 - Show them that the new engine will carry equipment/personnel that cannot be carried by other means (you dont want them to suggest to just buy a van or other vehicle to carry equipment and personnel)

    I dont know of a reference that cites apparatus per square mile (even ISO would be looking at GPM and the distance of a building to the nearest fire station), but use details that will mean something to the taxpayers of your locality.

    Also, if you can, use some PR in the community and have some citizens make some calls to your community leaders. In addition, make calls to those same leaders individually and ask their concerns.

    Finally, one last word of advice from someone who has made this mistake. Do not say: "You will kill people if we dont have this engine!" Those type of statements usually incur anger more than sympathy. Instead show how you can save lives/property with this new engine.

    Good Luck!

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    If I remember right, ISO requires an engine every 1.5 miles (driving distance) and a ladder every 2.5 miles. At the same time, if your engines respond to calls out of town, they lose some of their value. I think it's if over 50% of the engines respond to an out-of-town fire you start losing points.

    Also, if you know your rated fire flow for your community, your engine pump capacities must meet that number. Get a hold of ISO and get a copy of the Fire Supression Rating Schedule (FSRS) and it'll have the numbers they want in it. You can also go to www.isoslayer.com and download the book "Your Next ISO Rating," which has a better breakdown of the FSRS.

    It sounds to me like it wouldn't hurt you to keep the '84 and add a couple more. But I know how the city council will probably react to that suggestion.

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    Default Show them

    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    sounds to me like it wouldn't hurt you to keep the '84 and add a couple more. But I know how the city council will probably react to that suggestion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534
    1 - You need the engine to make your long lays, fill and dump sites, and water shuttles work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534
    3 - You need the engine to provide backup coverage for when your other vehicles are out of service (at another incident, at the shop, at training, etc.).
    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534
    6 - Show them the efficiency of using CAFS and the need for this on a new engine.
    Take them out and literally show them. IMHO most of those duly elected officials that control the purse strings of the fire service have no idea what the equipment is used for and they arenít going to ask a minion to explain things to them! Sure they know hose carries water, but they canít visualize the difference in the amount of water of 3Ē vs. 5Ē, the need for different lengths of hooks and why you need more then just axes as hand tools. Just to name a few of the thousands.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfranse
    Take them out and literally show them

    All the suggestions are very helpful, but this is one that I really like.

    I'll need to figure out a way to do this and get them to attend.

    Thanks

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    This is a little off topic, but if you are fearing resistance, have you done a business plan?

    I think you are definitely a large enough department to consider a good written business plan that outlines your development plan for the department. In fact all departments can benefit from a good plan, but especially when it comes to the budget battle. Many of your counselors will be businessmen and women, and some may even be corporate. They will appreciate being spoken to in the language they understand (you can often wow them a little too if they are not accustomed to that level of organization).

    I see a lot of departments struggle with thier councils or after every new administration when the new guy thinks he has to reinvent the wheel. If you have a well developed and previously approved plan, you may not have to start from scratch every time you need to make a large requisition. It can also help keep the department on track after administration changes too.

    I have an electronic copy of mine (very basic, but functional), if you need an example. Fire me a PM if interested.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell
    This is a little off topic, but if you are fearing resistance, have you done a business plan?.
    Funny you should mention that. I do, but call it a white paper on the apparatus use and overall tactical plan. I will have it available for our hearing.

    My background is in business and when I'm not the full time unpaid fire chief, I work in healthcare management.

    Excellent point.

    Thanks

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up And.............

    This is not something that you can do immediately, but have you considered starting work on Restructuring how your department is funded, and Who you are accountable to?? I operate under a totally different system, and if/when we want to add/replace a piece of Apparatus, we do it. I don't have to ask anyone at all on replacing something, I do need to run it by the County Fire Commission IF it will be an addition to the fleet, BUT only if they will be expected to fuel and maintain it. I have always maintained that Mayors, Councilmen, Trustees, or anyone else in local government should not have any control over Fire/Rescue/EMS matters. The more independent you are from local government, the fewer problems you have.
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    Just an idea here...is your truck a truck with a bucket? Or a stick?
    If it is a bucket...why not spec out the new engine as a quint? Gives you all you'd need and then some...
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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  13. #13
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    Talking Huh??..................

    Quote Originally Posted by WaterbryVTfire
    Just an idea here...is your truck a truck with a bucket? Or a stick?
    If it is a bucket...why not spec out the new engine as a quint? Gives you all you'd need and then some...

    NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!.....................
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

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    If they're not willing to go out and see what you're talking about, perhaps a slideshow or movie can be shown to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!.....................
    ???????

    I take it you are not a quint fan?
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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