03-27-2008, 03:54 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
Wildland/Attack..."to CAFS, or not to CAFS, that is the question"
Brothers and sisters, I could use your help.
This year we'll be trying to secure funding through the AFGP for a new Wildland/Attack vehicle. The one we have is a no frills, Regular Cab 1992 Ford F250 purchased off the local dealers lot way back when....no HD suspension, no towing package, etc. Just an F250 that was converted for use as a Wildland/Brush vehicle by putting a skid in its bed and then asked to do things it was never meant to do. Same thing we've all had to do at some point in time along the way. A year or so ago we ended up pulling the tank and pump off it and now use it pretty much as a utility truck and occassional First Response medical rig. Between engine seals needing to be replaced after we tried to tow our 14' tandem axle trailer with mobile cascade to an incident, multiple electrical problems, and brake issues, we've come to look at it as the old, black lab lying by the fire place.
When it comes to filling in this year's application, I'll list us as having a Brush/Quick Attack vehicle....but in reality, I'm not sure we do.
My question for those of you far wiser than I at this is, should I try to justify the additional cost of a CAFS system in our Project Narrative for the truck...? I've read through several of the other threads that appear upbeat on CAFS, and have found several interesting papers and reports encouraging fire departments to pursue CAFS, especially for Wildland fires. I'm just concerned that putting the extra $30-40K into the request will push the envelope too much.
In one of the vehicle quotes I've gotten, it would take a pretty "standard" 2008 F550 6.4L Diesel Crewcab 4x4 Wildland/Brush truck at ~ $103K, up to $138K if outfitted with a Hale CAFS system. Will our peers see this as too much ?
I'm also curious if any of you have experience with CAFS systems....I'm hearing some chatter about their complexity when it comes to maintaining them.
Would welcome your advice.
04-04-2008, 12:33 AM #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- Joshua Texas
04-04-2008, 01:57 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
We have the CET CAFS system and I think it's about as inexpensive as any pump manufacturers offer. Not sure how much the lower valuation of the dollar has hurt the price recently since the unit is made in Canada?? For more information: http://www.fire-pump.com/dropin_cafs.asp
We wanted to use a single tired rear axle chassis and not a dually so we wanted to keep tank capacity down and the CAFS system helped extend our limited water carrying capacity.
04-04-2008, 05:49 AM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- Upstate (Albany area), NY
In direct answer to your question, any Peer Reviewer worth their salt will understand the reason for going for the CAFS. Why purchase a Type 5 Engine (can we STOP calling them "Brush Trucks"?) with 25 year old technology???
As for Hale, vs. Darley, vs. Waterous, vs. CET, vs. Acme, vs. Binford.... Only you can make that decision. We recently spec'ed and purchased a Type 1 CAFS Engine for primarily structural attack, and after several roadtrips of traveling upwards of 500 miles to look at various systems, we settled on the Hale because of ease of use, and the training curve. I WILL tell you that had our primary function been wildland, either direct attack or exposure protection, we might have chosen differently, as the multiple controls on the Waterous and Darley allow the operator much more range in wet/dry, etc..."If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
George S. Patton
04-04-2008, 06:43 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- Northern NY
All vehicles are a long shot
If you should make it past the computer and make peer review it should help if you can explain the benefits properly in cost/benefit and effect on daily operations.
The million dollar question is what does an extra $35,000 cost you on your computer score. Nobody knows the magic formula. If you have all of the other statistics to be successful on any brush truck, probably is a good idea in my opinion. If you computer DJ, try next year without CAFS.
It seems like call volume, acres burned, population, square miles, age of vehicle being replaced, average fleet age, blah, blah all play into the computer score. We computer DJ'd last year, so we are going just for a new skid this year to put on the old truck.
Trucks are the most competitive and only 1 in 10 are funded if I remember BC79er's lecture on truck applications. Don't ask for a Jaguar if you need a Chevy
04-04-2008, 12:17 PM #6
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
Pulled the CAFS option out of the request on the 11th hour.
Great points, both ways. Not sure what happened, but there was a big lag between my entering the initial thread and it actually getting posted. We did some soul searching on the 11th hour, and were indeed concerned about how the "computer" would view that extra cost. We're not big on "Cadillac's" when it comes to grants. I think that approach helped us in 2004 and 2005 when we were awarded Ops grants each year....7 key projects in 2004, and FF Survival/RIT training and equip in 2005. So, I pulled the CAFS proposal out and went with an around-the-pump Class A system instead. It's a role of the dice either way. We're just happy to be handed the dice each year (ie, the fact that this program even exists). The rig we're trying to replace is a 1992 F250 Reg Cab 4x4. It was a stock, off the lot, pickup when our Department bought it 16 years ago. And then we asked it to do something it was never designed to do. I think this fits the AFG's stated priorities pretty well. We also tried to use it to tow our 14' tandem axle enclosed trailer that we got in a 2006 Vermont Homeland Security Grant. Our mobile cascade system is in it, along with our Ice Rescue suits/equip, and spare SCBA/RIT equipment. The weight of that trailer makes towing it with that 1992 F250
an exciting trip. It's become a maintenance nightmare (examples given in our application). We need something for Wildland. Ave. age for our overall fleet is 11.7 years, with this rascal being 16 years (only one). Touched on the advantages/disadvantages of both CAFS/non-CAFS foam systems in the narrative, explained why we elected to go with non-CAFS (given the type of wildland calls we respond to, and in light of some innovative stuff I'm reading about "Durable Foam" which yields Drain Times nearly equal to CAFS). Total request came in at ~ $104K (2008 F550 CrewCab 4x4 Diesel, or equiv., as base chassis), also included equip. necessary to put vehicle into service and a small amount for travel. I think the AFG portion of the award if funded came in around $99,900. Not sure if there's a "red flag" that might go up at anything in this category that crosses that $100K threshold. Speculation on my part....not science or prescedent as near as I can tell. Greatly appreciate your comments, experiences, ideas. I'm not a professional at this grant writing stuff. A lot of it comes from the heart...no joke. The fact that our department was successful in 2004 and 2005 was also in no small way related to the thought provoking, no nonsense, exchanges I've been able to extract from these forums. For that, I say "thanks" to those of you that post these entries. I'll keep you posted on how we make out. Hit the submit button yesterday morning....then caught a flight out here to Chicago to be with our daughter under-going chemo (now in remission and doing well....tough kid....gets it from her mother). Sitting in the waiting room of the center as I type this, while she's getting her bag of "Rituxin". Sure keeps things in perspective. Thanks again. If we aren't successful, I wish all of you who are, the best. I know you'll do great things with the money.
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