1. #1
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    Default Apparatus Visibility...A Real Safety Issue

    Am I the only one noticing an alarming trend in the design and manufacturing of new apparatus. Even with all the new NFPA specs new trucks being made LESS visible because the agencies are ordering them that way.
    The issue has to do with the new roll-up doors most departments are ordering. By itself it is a great idea. The problem is that most trucks are being ordered with unpainted doors. No matter color your department normally uses, leaving the doors unpainted makes the apparatus virtually invisible from the cab back.

    Aluminum is a neutral color. Therefore it can't be seen by the driving public. The reflective tape isn't seen except at night. We have enough trouble getting traffic to move or not hit us on the scene. Why make it worse by design?
    You would NEVER by buy a firetruck with the traditional swing doors and leave them unpainted. They are made of aluminum! Also, look at the rear of most trucks being built today. They have no paint at all. We all know that emergency lights alone are not enough to warn idiot drivers. Try the new chevron concept.
    Why are we not painting our firetrucks completely from the cab back? Not sure. Cost? I don't think so. If they were swing doors they would be painted.
    It is the same mentality that pays $350,000 to $750,000 for a new truck but won't put enough emergency lighting on it to make it visible on the sunniest day in July.

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    jta911hc: Are you a paint salesmen by any chance???
    The fact that we chose not to paint our aluminum roll ups was based on the fact that painted roll ups are going to get the ***** scratched out of them every time they operate. Paint does not make the truck more visible. proper use of lighting and decals/reflective striping does make a difference.
    Ugly ***** chevrons are not going to make the motoring public pay more attention to our big red truck with almost enough flashing lights to be confused with an airport. Making people actually have to be alert and not putting on their make up, or playing text games on their cell phones would be a good start.

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    Islandfire03 is correct, if you paint the newer type of roll up doors, the paint will chip off and look like ****. It seems that no mater what color your truck is or how many lights and 3m stripping you have the motoring public will still hit your truck. (Hell most of the tax paying public is so stupid that if breathing did not come natural they would die) Our trucks are Fire Engine Yellow and lit up like a christmas tree and they still have gotten hit, (***** in a BMW on a cell phone) while on the scene of a mva. That being said, If the public is still going to hit our trucks no matter what we do, I would perfer to keep our trucks the same and not put that crappy ugly *** looking chevons on the back. For a pitcure of one of our trucks see the below attachment
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    Islandfire03 is correct, if you paint the newer type of roll up doors, the paint will chip off and look like ****. It seems that no mater what color your truck is or how many lights and 3m stripping you have the motoring public will still hit your truck. (Hell most of the tax paying public is so stupid that if breathing did not come natural they would die) Our trucks are Fire Engine Yellow and lit up like a christmas tree and they still have gotten hit, (***** in a BMW on a cell phone) while on the scene of a mva. That being said, If the public is still going to hit our trucks no matter what we do, I would perfer to keep our trucks the same and not put that crappy ugly *** looking chevons on the back. For a pitcure of one of our trucks see the below attachment
    Where is it? I can't see it without the red paint. Oh, OK now I see it, now that I put down my cellphone, cover the Garmin and turned down the XM and actually LOOKED!

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    If paint chips on roll-up doors, then why can they get it to last on beverage trucks? they have roll-ups and the doors look good after many years.

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    Smile Hahahahahahah!!!!

    I Know, I heard it all before. "It not a real firetruck until it ripens and turns red!" or "You could make to the the call faster if you did not have to stop and drop off the kids coming home from school." It all good, Our Trucks have been yellow since the early 60's. The chief says we had one of the first yellow (not slime green) firetrucks in the nation. Anyway one of the neighboring fire depts. hate it when we respond mutual-aid and bet them to the fire. That Yellow truck real sticks out like a sore thumb, parked in front of the red ones.

    To Answer your question about the drink trucks. The reason that the Beer trucks doors do not chip as bad, (and they do still chip out), however not as bad as the smaller doors, is because they roll up on a bigger track. The roll up doors on the firetrucks are packed tighter when you roll them up,(to save space) and they rub somewhat, which can cause the paint to chip.
    Last edited by BULL321; 01-03-2008 at 08:42 PM.

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    Default Its great to be green

    Rear pic 2007 Pierce Rear Mount Pumper/Rescue
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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    I Know, I heard it all before. "It not a real firetruck until it ripens and turns red!" or "You could make to the the call faster if you did not have to stop and drop off the kids coming home from school." It all good, Our Trucks have been yellow since the early 60's. The chief says we had one of the first yellow (not slime green) firetrucks in the nation. Anyway one of the neighboring fire depts. hate it when we respond mutual-aid and bet them to the fire. That Yellow truck real sticks out like a sore thumb, parked in front of the red ones.

    To Answer your question about the drink trucks. The reason that the Beer trucks doors do not chip as bad, (and they do still chip out), however not as bad as the smaller doors, is because they roll up on a bigger track. The roll up doors on the firetrucks are packed tighter when you roll them up,(to save space) and they rub somewhat, which can cause the paint to chip.
    Also look at the way many of the beverage truck bodies roll-ups work. Where ROM and such roll up into "drums" the Hackney style doors only slide on a track across the ceiling of the compartment, and more or less lay flat tight against the ceiling. Not sure about all beverage bodies, but those thicker slats wouldn't roll into too tight of drum and waste a ton of overhead space if they didn't store as described above.
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    npfd801
    Thank You, for explaining it better than I could. I was to busy laughing at what RFDACM02 said to clearly explain what I meant.

    Engine305
    That sure is something. If someone hits the back end of that truck they should be beat with a 2x4 w/ a nail in the end of it. Still watch your back and keep your head on a swivel.
    Last edited by BULL321; 01-03-2008 at 11:54 PM.

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    It's a conspiracy!
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    Default No paint please

    WE chose not to paint our doors for practical reasons. After looking at apparatus 1+ years old, we decided to forgo the paint. Didn't consider the visibility at all. I figure if they can't see a ten-inch reflective stripe, warning lights, and traffic cones, the extra red paint won't make th difference.

    I have seen apparatus equipped with a protective cover over the inside door drum so the door ribs don't get scratched from equipment inside the compartment. However, that won't prevent exterior damage nor abrasion from heavy use.

    In regards to warning lights, NPFA regulated that in a big way years ago. Most departments now just choose branded package.

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    When we purchased our rescue 7 years ago, it actually was a matter of cost. We were pinching pennies to get everything we needed, and when we could save a few hundred dollars going with the satin-finish doors, we did. Thankfully, times have changed, and we're getting painted ones on the rescue-pumper we're spec'ing.

    We've never been told anyone had a hard time seeing our rig with the non-painted doors: Pretty yellow fire trucks. (...I sit and wait for the jokes about the rig ripening in the sun, and asking how many cases of Snapple we carry on it...)

    Anyhoo, I ride a busy engine company at work with painted roll-ups, and we have no issues with the paint on it. In fact, we've never had any paint issues on the 27 rigs we have with the painted roll-ups. I'm sure there are problems with the paint chipping off somewhere, but I've yet to see it ... and my PT job is driving around and looking at everyone else's rigs!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    I'm sure there are problems with the paint chipping off somewhere, but I've yet to see it
    I might be wrong, but I'm guessing you guys don't use much sand on your roads in Va?
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    BoxAlarm187
    Those are some mighty fine looking firetrucks. And I agree whole heartly with you, If they can't see our trucks, all the chevons in the whole world will not help. Here is a picture off our station and all our "pretty yellow firetrucks"
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    We went out on back to back MVC's the other day in the middle of storm clean up and after we got back we washed the engine ,rescue and ambulance off. We gathered up a full 5 gallon pail of the lovely 1/4 gravel and sand when we cleaned the floors. That was after traveling less than 3 miles total per truck. This nasty grit will coat everything and will find a way to scratch the roll up doors if painted.
    my personal van has a 1/4 inch layer encrusted on it from the windows down , It's only been 2 weeks since the last time it was warm enough to wash it. It's a mixture of frozen road slop , salt and coarse sand and will be there until we get above freezing again. Welcome to Maine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire304 View Post
    I might be wrong, but I'm guessing you guys don't use much sand on your roads in Va?
    In our area, we use a low to modern volume of salt during the winter months. However, as you travel west from our location, the terrain becomes much steeper with higher snow and ice accumulations, and sand and sodium chloride is used widely. Even under these conditions, I have seen little wear that these products have put on these rigs.

    Thinking of it, virtually all of the rigs I've seen delivered to departments in that area recently that had roll-ups, had 'em painted.

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    We have two apparatuses with roll ups.

    One is a few years old and has powder coated doors.

    One is one year old and has regular paint on the doors.

    Guess which one will never scratch and which one is already scratched?

    And you can't hardly hand buff them let alone use a DA or orbital buffer as it would force compound down inside the slats.

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    Post My $.05 worth

    My dept chose not to paint the roll ups as a $$ factor. for our engine, we saved approximately $3500 and the price was even more on the rescue. We did choose to chevron the rear of the engine as well as add an arrow stick and all LED lighting on both. The rescue also has an arrow stick (99") on the rear. I think we would have chevroned the rescue but when we purchased it 4 years ago, there wasn't as much publicity for chevrons. I pushed for chevrons on the engine and that is largely due to everything I hae seen in the magazines such as Firehouse and Fire Apparatus.

    And yes, we operate with the ripened red apparatus!!!

    Here's the apparatus from the Mfg's website:
    http://www.customfire.com/d_pumper.php?id=467032e713316
    http://www.customfire.com/d_specials...=430644b752ede

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    Default Moth effect

    Something worth considering in the ¨Paint/don't paint debate is the so called ¨Moth effect¨. It is well enough documented now that drunk, drug impaired, or tired drivers will focus on something that is particularly bright or unusual in standing out from the background and unconciously steer towards it.
    Highway Police in most parts of the world have learned to their cost that excessive amounts of lights and reflectors actually result in more people driving into their parked vehicles rather than less.

    In emergency services it is a lesson rapidly learned that you can be vulnerable on the road and you need to be seen. It takes some time, and usually some thorough research of the cold hard facts to get your head around the idea that past a certain point being too conspicuous actually makes a collision more likely.

    Anyone who has decisions to make to do with apparatus marking and visibility would do well to research this stuff. The results might well surprise you, they sure as hell surprised me!

    stay safe

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    The Boys from Britian posted up some good study info done in the UK over the high-vis striping and particularly the Battenburg blocking. That thread also had some good discussion, and many points referenced here already.

    The thread is here:

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthre...ght=battenburg

    And the Study is here:

    http://theheap.net/files/14-04-high-...ity-livery.pdf
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimthefireman View Post
    Something worth considering in the ¨Paint/don't paint debate is the so called ¨Moth effect¨. It is well enough documented now that drunk, drug impaired, or tired drivers will focus on something that is particularly bright or unusual in standing out from the background and unconciously steer towards it.

    It takes some time, and usually some thorough research of the cold hard facts to get your head around the idea that past a certain point being too conspicuous actually makes a collision more likely.

    Certainly part of the equation, but the simple fact remains that I would much prefer those "Moth's" to be drawn towards the Big Red (or other colour) Reflective and Flashing Truck, than the Small Yellow Reflective Firefighter.

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    Email Ron Moore via Firehouse- he put together a fantastic PPT a few years ago about highway safety and visibility....
    Luke

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    Default What A Hornets Nest...

    I guess I really stirred the pot with my comments about painted roll-up doors and chevrons. As a retired Deputy Chief with 40 years in the fire service I guess I can speak with some authority about fire appartaus design.
    Despite all of you who are against painting your trucks because it doesn't matter. You are wrong. Color does matter. A neutral color like aluminum can't be seen. Red, yellow, or whatever color, contrasts with buildings or any other backgrounds you are passing. When you order unpainted doors with the traditional white reflective stripe, that stripe is lost during the daylight. Unlike painted doors where it can be seen anytime.
    As far as chipping and scratches, I have never seen any firetruck that didn't have scratches and chips on the body. At least those that go on runs have them. It comes with the territory. A little touch-up maintenance can take care of those.

    Chevrons do make a difference. They break up the flat pattern of the truck and make it more visible. Just because you don't like the looks doesn't mean they aren't effective. British and European fire apparatus have had chevrons and checkerboard patters on ALL sides of the truck for decades. Their accident rate at scenes is almost non-existent.
    As far as emergency lights go you must design your rig to seen on the brightest summer day with the sun overhead. Most manufacturers today putting the front red lights right next to the headlights. Because of this the effect of the red lights is duffused, especially at night. Also they are putting them higher on the body so they are not seen in through the rear windows of cars.
    It is the same old story, anything new is hard to sell. Traditions in the fire service are needed and are a great thing...but let's not impede progress with stale traditions.
    Thanks for all of your comments and for letting me give my experienced opinion. It shows that all of you are at least paying attention and are concerned about the issue. BE SAFE BROTHER!!

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    Virtually invisible? Can't be seen?

    Those military types around here must have missed the boat by painting all those vehicles camoflage patterns. When all they had to do is paint em aluminum, so they would be virtually invisible, and then they can't be seen!

    Please look at what you are typing. There are good arguments to be made for visibilty, but the way you have presented this makes for an opposite effect.

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    What, the NFPA lighting package isn't enough?

    I think it's plenty.

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