1. #1
    firefighter7160
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    Talking Richmond,Va Quint Concept

    Is there any other dept. in the U.S. that has gone to this?

    http://www.ci.richmond.va.us/departm...ons/quint.aspx

    And what do you think about it....

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    I'm probably missing some minute detail since Richmond claims to be the only city doing this, but St. Louis runs all quints.

    Rockford, IL has adopted using quints on the outskirts of the city to provide an adequate number of truck companies, but is by no means "total" quint.
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    Last I knew St. Louis is doing it (as NPFD said), though they've added some other apparatus to the fleet.

    Joplin, MO started to under the the last chief, but has since changed direction with the current administration. Currently, 3 of the 5 stations have a quint.

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    I believe that Richmond began a movement to the quint concept under former chief Jack McElfish. I haven't seen or spoken to him in many years, and I never asked him the question, but I think he was trying it emulate what Neil Svetanics did in St. Louis. Just my opinion, with nothing to back it up.

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    I beleive West Hartford, CT ; ruins 5 Quints, 1 Engine, 1 Tower

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    St. Louis Quint
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    Sounds like something we may do here.....

    A Richmond Quint, alot different from St. Louis Quints.....
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    They being Richmond have not gone to an all quint dept like St louis, all they did was start getting pumps on there truck co's. To my understanding that is the norm in most places except the big city fd's.

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    Yes, Richmond's designs are much different than STL's. RFD has two tower ladders (one rear mount and one mid mount), along with a mixture of 105' sticks and 75' sticks. All rigs are dual axle, allowing for better weight distribution and increased braking. The distribution of the different length aerials is based on the occupancy type for the area.

    27truckie, not sure what you mean by your post. All RFD aerials were replaced over a 2-year time span, which included all the ladders that the City was running at the time. They no longer have any tillers. These aren't simply ladders with pumps, they're true quints. Perhaps I misread the intent of your post?

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    Like everything else, you can skew the numbers or give an impression that is not actually the truth.

    For example, look at Richmonds claim of increased staffing to emergencies by 35.3% by using the total quint concept. Then look at the table they provide. Now instead of sending 2 engines and a truck to a house fire, they are sending 3 quints and a heavy rescue with 5 people on it. The increased staffing comes in sending the 5 person rescue in every scenario, not the total quint concept.

    The quint concept I guess is great in theory. They can be used as pumpers or trucks, but seldom both at the same time - at least not as efficiently as most in support of the concept would claim. Additionally, you start combining things and some things will be sacraficed. The amount of hose you carry for example. Sure you can modify it to carry more hose than your "standard" truck company, but then you start to give up compartment space.

    If it works for them, more power to them but I don't think its all its cracked up to be.
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    I've not worked under a quint concept, so here's my take (flawed as it may be):

    It's a credible solution to a budget crunch where you can't get the staffing you want, and refuse to put engines and trucks on the road with two man crews.

    Rockford here (IL) has three quints to run on the outer fringe of town. At one time they ran with a five man crew, which was pretty cool as it gave some neat flexibility. As far as I know now, they're down to four for every company, and the two engines housed with true truck companies (no water) are staffed with three each. I will give them credit though, they've maintained four man companies when many in the suburbs are three on everything, if they're lucky.

    I won't complain at all because I think Rockford does pretty well with their level of service considering the constraints placed on their budget by a city not exactly in its prime right now. If running quints somehow makes things work better until the skies are brighter and true trucks can return, more power to them. The reality is I doubt most quint concept departments will ever return to pre-quint staffing levels, at least for a given number of stations.

    I am surprised that there isn't a manpower squad/heavy rescue running around the town (there was in the past) on all working fires that could also be the specialized rescue crew for TRT, HazMat, etc. This would certainly ease some of the strain on a working fire, as once you pull two engines, a quint and truck, plus another engine for RIT, you start taxing the force of eight engines, two trucks and three quints pretty quickly, and leave one end of the city pretty well barren of companies.

    Just my opinion, and again - I think the department does a fantastic job, this isn't a tirade of any sort regarding their ops.
    Last edited by npfd801; 09-18-2007 at 02:38 AM.
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    IMO - If you are to use the quint to its full potential, you would need one on the pump, and one on the turntable. The same number that an engine and truck company would use. With a quint you are running with 4, where w/ both you ran with 5 or six. So instead of 3 or 4 firefighters available you are down to 2? Need more units to the scene to get the man power or add a flying squad or heavy rescue to the assignment. Sounds like a bean counter's game to me.

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    Search a few years back for an article by Jake Rixner in Fire Engineering about the Richmond Quints. If memory serves me well, the concept was neat on paper (if you are into that sort of thing) but the rigs that were delivered were flawed in design (not by the mfg) and didnt fit in firehouses, wouldnt fit into certain parts of the city etc.

    FWIW I'm not a fan.

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    Default St Louis Quints in 1987

    For a good article on St. Louis Quints read "New Quints for St. Louis: What 12 Years of Experience Produced." It was in the June 2000 Firehouse magazine on page 68. It starts out "In 1987 Stl FD took delivery of 30 quintuple combination fire apparatus. With these apparatus St. Louis launched the total quint concept." These were Pierce Arrows with 50' telesquirts. The article talks about how the 30 Smeals in 1999 improved on these trucks.

    An article in the January 23, 2004 St Louis Post-Dispatch on the front page briefly discusses the concept among other issues. The story is about a leaked internal investigation into the sad deaths of two FFs in 2002. "It (the report) took a swipe at the so-called "quint concept", an innovation under Cheif Neil Svetanics that combined the roles of engine companies and hook and ladder companies. The document said combining them "has raised questions about the quality of work output with this dual role, especially as it relates to ventilation."
    If someone were researching this topic STL would be a good place to start.

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    At the time Richmond made the switch, they were running 20 engine companies, 9 truck companies and 1 tactical squad. The squad was an engine that carried some specialized equipment and went on all MVA's with a confirmed entrapment, all water rescue calls (they cross manned the dive truck & boats), and all working fires. Three of the engines and trucks were running as "Task Forces" (Task Force 3, 11, and 22) with 7-8 people, usually 4 on the engine and 3(sometimes 4) on the truck. Both pieces would respond on all runs they were dispatched on, including ems runs. The city was short on money and the department rotating the closure of companies on a daily basis. Chief McElfish saw the TQC as one way of maintaining the same number of stations and at least 4-5 people per company, and still provide service within the budgetary limitations imposed by the city council.

    It's not a perfect system by any means, but it has worked to some degree. In March of 2004 they had a major fire on Broad Street where the Virginia Commonwealth University was building new dorms. It damned near turned into a conflagration, due to high winds, heavy fire load and brand conditions. The ability to put close to a dozen aerial devices up quickly helped keep it from being worse than it was. They would never have been able to do it in the old days, because they were closing at least 2 of the truck companies each day due to staffing issues. They have made several spectacular stops/saves by having a bunch of aerials on scene quickly.

    It's interesting to note that they are still suffering from staffing issues (but then again who isn't?), and are still occasionally closing companies. And, most are running with 4 men as a rule, only the busier companies and the 3 rescue companies (they were formed as part of the TQC) maintain 5 on a regular basis.

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    I seem to remember something about Syracuse New York running quints. Or at least the engines having 55 foot squirts on them...

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    I don't know where everyone is from but where I am from all the truck, ladder companies (105 foot sticks or 100 ft towers) what ever your dept chooses to call them have pumps, and we still call them trucks not quints. Even though by the book they are quints because they carry water and have pumps. I may be in a bubble but don't most truck Co's have pumps except the big cities, and even a lot of them do. So what is the big deal.

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    27, I can't speak for anyone else, but it seems to me that the truck/quint debate isn't so much about whether or not the truck has a pump and hose, but whether or not the truck crew is expected to perform engine company duties. Quint apparatus vs. quint company / quint concept maybe? That's just how it looks from my point of view, and I've been taught the quint concept since the beginning.
    The opinions expressed in this post are well-reasoned and insightful. Needless to say, they are not the opinions of the government that I work for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 27Truckie View Post
    Even though by the book they are quints because they carry water and have pumps.
    Simply having a pump and tank does not make a ladder truck a quint! Somewhere along the way, we as the fire service have ignored what it takes to be a quint:
    • Minimum 75' aerial device with pre-piped waterway
    • Minimum 1000gpm pump
    • Minimum 300 gallon water tank
    • 85' of ground ladders
    • Hose bed for 30 cubic feet of supply line and two 3.5 cubic foot areas for attack lines
    Don't be fooled into thinking that any aerial with any pump and tank is a quint - it's not.

    There are many, many departments that don't put pumps (and/or tanks) on thier aerials. The department I work for is one. We run five 100' towers, all with no pump and tank. That's a lot of room taken up for equipment, and that style works great for us. It's not just big cities that are "dry" and not just smaller communities that are "wet." That's a little too much of a broad brush to paint with when it comes to classifying aerials.

    Upstater is correct that this isn't about the definition of the rig anyway. It's talking about 2 departments that show up with nothing but quints on a fire - and how the IC ensures that all disciplines of both truck and engine work are accomplished at the same time.

    ChiefDog, Syracuse does run Squrts, not quints, so they technically don't fall into the same category as Richmond and STL. Not picking, just clarifying.
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 09-19-2007 at 10:46 PM.

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    I see what you are talking about with the how do they operate engine or truck. Here if they are first in they will be the engine but that almost never happens, every other time they are the truck the reason they have the quint crap on them is so they can pump there own ladder pipe and operate by themselves at a fire and not have to have an engine to supply them.

    I also just went to there web site and all it talks about is the quints, but I also have the new fire app journal and it has a pic of there new pierce engine I dont know.
    Last edited by 27Truckie; 09-20-2007 at 12:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 27Truckie View Post
    But Richmond does not show up with all quints they still run engine co's.
    Perhaps my earlier post was a little confusing ... hell, it can be confusing to listen to them on the radio sometimes. On structural assignments, it IS the SOP that all quints respond. Generally, the only times that you wouldn't see this is when one of the companies dispatched happens to be out on thier pumper/FRV clearing from another call, or if the quint happens to be OOS for mechanical repair.

    In other words, showing up with anywhere from 4-7 quints (depending on the occupancy type) is the norm, having an engine in the mix would be the exception.

    The engine you see in FAJ is a 2007 GMC/Pierce that's assigned to Engine 19. It wasn't a replacement for the quint, it was a replacement for thier engine. The unusual design was dictated by some very tight response areas that they have where this pumper will excel.
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 09-20-2007 at 12:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Perhaps my earlier post was a little confusing ... hell, it can be confusing to listen to them on the radio sometimes. On structural assignments, it IS the SOP that all quints respond. Generally, the only times that you wouldn't see this is when one of the companies dispatched happens to be out on thier pumper/FRV clearing from another call, or if the quint happens to be OOS for mechanical repair.

    In other words, showing up with anywhere from 4-7 quints (depending on the occupancy type) is the norm, having an engine in the mix would be the exception.

    The engine you see in FAJ is a 2007 GMC/Pierce that's assigned to Engine 19. It wasn't a replacement for the quint, it was a replacement for thier engine. The unusual design was dictated by some very tight response areas that they have where this pumper will excel.
    So the monetary savings is purely in staffing? It would seem that if every company has a quint which cost more up front than an engine or a straight truck, then they run an engine also, there is a more rolling stock to pay for and maintain. Did they close whole stations? Where is the cost savings? Or was this really borne out of changing the fireground staffing? It seems to maybe look good upfront, but some of the long term effects are now coming to light (less effective truck work, jack of all trades master....) I'm not slamming them at all, I'm interested to know the pros and cons. As an outsider it seems flawed, but obviously there are some significant benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    So the monetary savings is purely in staffing?

    Not entirely, but a lot of it is. For the argument let's consider how many quint departments operate. For the sake of discussion, I'll just use some general numbers.

    Just assume that a particular department, in it's current format operates out of 40 engine houses. In these houses are quartered 40 engine companies along with 21 ladder companies. Every engine company runs with four personnel, five in a single house, and every truck company runs with a total of five.
    Now the decision is made to go with the 'quint concept'. What can basically happen is a sell off of newer rigs, or rigs that are now deemed unnecessary, in order to help off set the initial cost of buying 40 new rigs.
    All truck companies would be eliminated, and 40 quints would be put into operation, and as history proves, they usually staff these quints with four.

    21 ladder companies have now been eliminated, along with their staffing. All firehouses now have a pumper and an aerial device, but the total number of rigs available has been significantly reduced, along with total strength on duty.
    On the surface this looks great, as there are now 40 aerial devices in service when there used to be half that, and no firehouses were closed to accomplish this.
    The problem is when there are multiple fires at the same time, or multiple alarm fires occur. If the department also runs EMS, and now rigs are tied up on these types of calls, an area becomes depleted of apparatus much more quickly, and often. Now, instead of operating 61 line rigs every shift, only 40 or so are in service. I say 'or so', because some cities that have gone to this concept use rescue companies and a mini-pumper type of rig to help as well. Several places that exist use the same guys to jump from the quint to the mini-pumper for EMS types of runs, or rubbish fires, and so on. There by reducing their on duty effectiveness even more. Also, remember that there are now 21 fewer rigs on the street, so less fuel costs exists, less maintenance, and so on.

    The savings is negligible, in my opinion, and the savings that is there is in the reduced manpower. That is what quints are in all reality, a complete and total reduction in staffing. It provides a way for a city's common council to almost cut staffing in half and sell it to the public. No alderman or politician wants to shut a fire house down in their district, yet they want to cut staffing. This is a great way to do it, and save a few dollars, and keep their local firehouse open, there by saving their butt at election time.

    No, I am not a fan.
    Last edited by jasper45; 09-20-2007 at 10:23 AM.

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    Another aspect of the quint concept, and the one I believe my department was looking at going that way, is that you can expand your abilities if you have less manpower.

    We operate out of 5 stations (soon to be 7, possibly 8) with a single company out of each one. Each station has a four man crew. We had engines at every house and one 100' platform quint. Of course, ISO didn't like that with the expansion we were having, so we had to add aerials. The apparent solution was to go total quints.

    It started with buying two 75' quints and placing the platform as a reserve company. A third was bought just prior to our new chief coming on board.

    As I remember, the theory was that we could maintain manpower and not have to have to drop company manning by splitting an engine crew into two two-man companies (engine and truck). Sometimes you have to work with the limitations the city sets.

    How we work now, with the mix, is not too bad. If the first in company is a quint, we can work most of our operations with the single truck. Another engineer will operate the stick while the one assigned to the quint will work the pump. If first in is an engine, we simply pull past or short and give room for the quint to get in so we can use the stick. We do have a policy that the stick goes in the air on any working structure fire.

    The biggest issue I've seen is our habit of working defensive fires off of one truck, using attack lines and the aerial device. However, this is more of a training/operations issue than an apparatus issue. However, it can be done; it's just hell on the engineer. I've had to pump three 1 3/4" lines, a 2 1/2", and the stick before (thank God I had a good hydrant!). It's work, but it can be done in a pinch.

    In this type of case, I think the quint concept can be a reasonable option, if the city is willing to spend the money on higher cost apparatus. Fiscally speaking, a $500,000 truck that you operate for even 5 years is cheaper than hiring an extra 4 men at a cost (salary and benefits) of $60,000+ per year over that five years ($1.2 million). The chief can maximize the abilities of a single company this way.

    That being said, I do not think it's a good option to make budget cuts for manpower, though.

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    Default Staffing

    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    So the monetary savings is purely in staffing? It would seem that if every company has a quint which cost more up front than an engine or a straight truck, then they run an engine also, there is a more rolling stock to pay for and maintain. Did they close whole stations? Where is the cost savings? Or was this really borne out of changing the fireground staffing? It seems to maybe look good upfront, but some of the long term effects are now coming to light (less effective truck work, jack of all trades master....) I'm not slamming them at all, I'm interested to know the pros and cons. As an outsider it seems flawed, but obviously there are some significant benefits.
    Almost every article I've read on the the quint concept says if you're thinking of converting to save on staffing, you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

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