1. #1
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    Question Help 4x4 engine for snow country

    I need some serious help. I am a new chief to a rural northern california mountainous terrain department. I have two paid staff. Currently I have 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground and two 2wheel drive engines. We chain them up on average 30-40 times a winter. And even with chains we still end up in the ditch or unable to make it to the incident. The unfortunate thing is the two engines are relitivley new 2001 type 1 commercial chasis and 1999 type 2 commercial chasis. The other problem is we have a huge wildland urban interface problem where access is a huge issue and with the commercial chasis we have a difficult time gaining access to a majority of our improvements.

    My problem is with a budget of 249k a year for a community of approximatley 4500 people and a call volume of 300+ and newer engines how do I sell this to afg for a new engine. I anticipate a new 4x4 engine costing 300-320? Please help I am sick of our structures burning to the ground and sick of digging our engines out of the snow. HELP?

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    I can't help you with the grant application, but hopefully somebody else can.

    As for the weather, I hope you are exaggerating on the problems you are experiencing. No department in the snow belt should struggle that much.

    We are an alpine ski-town in the Rockies, and we see snow with the best of them. We have found a few things to be of immeasurable assitance in dealing with the snow.

    1. Proper tire selection. Road wheels SUCK in fresh wet snow. Spring for dedicated snow tires, and 80% of the problem goes away. Seriously!

    2. Keep an engine chained up all winter. One of our engines has cables on it all winter long, and we have no problems. If required, it is quicker to take them off, than put them on.

    3. Keep sand, ice-melter, and shovels on the truck. I find we can get our trucks TO any call fine with proper driving skills (momentum is your friend), but once we have negotiated a slippery or unplowed road, the drive out is often more dangerous. Shovel and sand before you move the rig.

    4. Train, Train, Train. Drivers need time to practice with the trucks in inclement weather. Take the truck out after a storm, and get a feel for its weaknesses.

    Sometimes it is better to take the longer route to the fire if it reduces the grades you must climb, or the turns you must negotiate.


    Good luck with the 4wd grant. We are going to replace our 79 with a 4wd SWB engine next year. But it is intended more for wildland and off-road use.

    Getting there is certainly half the battle.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    We have a good driver training program. One of our problems is most of our residences are off the beating path on unimproved roadways. I just got back from a medical and the driveway has not been plowed and we just had a cold spell so the snow is as hard as a rock. The snow berm at the road is about 5 1/2 feet high. We had to snow shoe in about 200 yards and sled the patient out. If we were to get a fire we would have to hand jack hose 200 yards in this stuff. It is not uncommon for me to chain up my four wheel drive chief's truck. Last week we put our engine in the ditch while it was chained because the front drive wheels had no traction. We run studs on our engines but we have found that after one season we have to get them restudded because they wear to quickly. Our problems is even with chains we have a hard time. The other problems is our wheel base is to long to negotiate most of the driveways or private roads in our district.

    We have also considered putting a snow plow on my truck but we have decided that it is to much of a liability.

    Thanks for the info and I will consider a big bag of sand to put on each of our engines.

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    Sounds like you have more of an issue than only having 2 whl drive engines. You need to do some serious public relations & public safety
    campaigns . If you have Expensive homes down long limited access drives or private roads you need to make the citizens know that your dept. will not be responsible for plowing or sanding them for emergency service access. It is not your responsibility to respond in conditions that place you your FF's or equipment at risk because they are too lazy or cheap to clear the drive. We have the same issue with very expensive summer homes that weren't being plowed out in the winter. A simple visit and explain that their insurance company might refuse to pay a claim if the property is not accessible to emergency services, will usually solve the problem. We are not going to risk injury to our people or equipment to access their property.
    As far as your getting a grant for 4 whl drive engines I'd start with CDF and see if they have a program to assist with funding them. I don't think you will have much of a chance with AFG , the response from them would be that if your in a rural mountainous terrain district , they should have bought an all whl drive before now.

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    The problem we were faced with is we were in joint powers with a close by jurisdiction about 7 years ago. There were some problems and the two agencies split. The district got an old two wheel drive engine and a water tender. The other jursdiction kept all of the four wheel drive engines. We had a certain amount of time to obtain a fire fighting fleet before we would be charged a ungodly ammount for services. So the district bought what they could buy.

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    I know it is not a new engine, but you can convert a 2WD to 4WD. You may want to consider asking for funds to convert the trucks. It is likely a long shot either way.

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    Have you looked at a 4WD mini-pumper? It is smaller, and more manueverable that a full size engine, it may not have the water you need, but you might be able to retrofit the truck to your actual needs.



    Jon
    Jon
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    IACOJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfdffemt17 View Post
    Have you looked at a 4WD mini-pumper? It is smaller, and more manueverable that a full size engine, it may not have the water you need, but you might be able to retrofit the truck to your actual needs.



    Jon
    And use it to lay in LDH from your pumper located out at the road/portatank site.

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