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I volunteer for a small department and we are looking to possibly build our own brush truck.
Looking for some ideas or just a starting place I guess. If anyone out there know of any good sites to go to or maybe some expert advice we would truly appreciate it.

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Although it is not uncommon for departments to build their own brush trucks, I would caution you against building your own brush unit. In terms of liability, home built trucks do not meet the required NFPA 1901 specs and are often overloaded and do not have the proper type of water tank. Rollover accidents, specifically with tankers are occurring in homebuilt trucks.

From my own experience years ago in another department, the members built their own brush truck on a Ford Chassis with a tank...booster reel...etc. I have to say it was a good looking truck, but it was so overloaded that the headlight beams were not even on the road and it was almost impossible to drive....let alone stop. Needless to say, the truck did not meet NFPA 1901. I certainly understand budget constraints and good intentions, but safety should always be the first and foremost consideration, not only for your members, but the public as well. Yes, it may be less expensive to build your own unit, but just one lawsuit from an accident involving a death or personal injury would probably ruin most departments. This is just some food for thought and only my opinion. I am providing a couple of blurbs from NFPA 1901 for your review.

NFPA 1901: Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus: Document Scope: 1.1* Scope. This standard defines the requirements for new automotive fire apparatus and trailers designed to be used under emergency conditions to transport personnel and equipment and to support the suppression of fires and mitigation of other hazardous situations.

The Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, is published by the National Fire Protection Association to outline the standard for firefighting apparatus. The listing sets minimum standards for mechanical, cosmetic, lighting, and all equipment to be included with fire apparatus to be standards compliant in the United States.

Stay Safe!
Just so you know where to look for this, NFPA 1906 covers the Standard for Wildland Fire Apparatus.

Good hunting.

Chad, The Texas Forest Service has grants available for funding brush trucks. You will have to meet certain specifications but it is worth it. We got one about 4 years ago. AG-Meir of Belton, TX built the truck. We did some modifications last year for our type of terain. They build a good truck.
Check out M&W Fire in Vinton,Va . They built our C5500 brushtruck sled with our input and were very helpful.
Chad, lots of good info here.

Though I have not seen a mention of a type 3.

I am a Captain with CAL FIRE (CDF) here in California. We use type 3 eng. for our Departments wild land rigs. I have been working of/ driving and abusing them for 15 years now and they do everything we can safely ask of them. We use them for wild land, interface, and structure. But obviously, they are not a type 1.

I included an info sheet on our most common eng. A "Model 14". we have since gone to a "model 34". Bigger, more HP and NFPA compliant. Currently being built by Rosenbauer, for about $250K probably going to cost a fair bit more for just one. (We buy about 10 a year)

Good luck!

Eric Chisholm
To save some time trying to figure out how to build a truck start with what it will cost versus specing one out though a vender such as Unrue fire equip.
we have

2) dueces 6x6 one has 1300 gallon tank the other has a 700 gallon tank
1) 4x4 ford 450 v10 with a 350 gallon tank and 50 gallon foam with compressed air system on it
1) 4x4 ford 350 diesel with 400 gallons and 50 gallons of faom just mixed with water
Anyone that is going to build their own truck, please be carefull with what you put on it. 2 1/2 ton trucks are rated to carry 5000 pounds when thay were new! Over loading them will strain already worn drive lines, steering, breaks and suspensions. If the truck is not NFPA compliant and it LODDs a firefighter or injures a civ, you are really hanging out there. Get expert help and watch out for "bargins".
That's very true. I know that Texas and Oklahoma both do that. Just the chassis usually though. The last couple of years the Oklahoma forestry service bought dozens of F350 some with installed flatbeds and divided them out to depts in need of a new truck. Deer Creek OK. got one and handed it over to Unruh Fire, a brush truck manufacturer in Kansas for their install. There is a picture of it on the recent deliveries page at

Brent Sanger said:
Depending on your state, you may be able to secure a brush truck from your forestry or land management agency, whoever is responsible for wildland fire control. My department has 2 military surplus 2.5 ton trucks that were converted by Georgia Dept. of Forestry for wildland firefighting, and they work quite well.
We are also a small department, so we didn't need the big deuce and a halfs or military type vehicles. We purchased 2 Chevy 2500 straight cabs and put utility beds on both of them, and then put a skid unit in the back of both of them. One has a 200 gallon tank, and the other has a 250 tank. They work really well for the uses we have for them.
i want to know yalls opion we are looking at getting a new truck. i my self like the f-750 with a 1000 gallon most of our call are mutail aid they call for most of the time a large truck we have one. what would our kind of truck would you get?

Since I just helped build a Brush Truck last year for another department and Work for a couple different contract crews that build our own brush trucks.


Nick made a good point talk to your local forestry agencies we picked up a bed from a FS type 6 for nothing they even delivered it for us. as for the truck itself we actually had the local power company that had a pick up they were getting rid of that donated it to the department. I know that same department has a contract with the local department of lands and were givin 2 tenders and a brush truck on a "Lease" of like 1 cent a year until they decide that they dont want them anymore.


Also another way to do it is look for local contractors or even local utilities companys that are surplusing or even giving away their old vehicals some are a little worse for wear but with a good mechanic can get it in good running shape pretty cheap then its back to the surplus from forestry agencies to equip the truck



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