Jeff - Here we go again! The higher ups. These people are misinformed as Russ said. I am sure they have many more strange views. I find it very disturbing that the fire service is led by people like this. If you take a position of authority in the fire service part of your responsibility is to pull your head out of the sand on occasion, learn something new, be open to ideas and know your job!
I agree that they are misinformed, they are using the information that was given to them. Slowly we are starting to make some positive changes to some of our tactics and our operational scheme. We are enjoying the extra training we are putting in to show the tactics, and the reasons they work. Like I said, slowly but surely.
Another thing that I would like to change on the engine. Engine 1 has an on board pre-piped Class A & B foam. But, we don't get authorization to use it... DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT STUFF COSTS?
If you mean the foam is over-rated I would have to agree with you on most occasions. But, when we had our last really good burner, (a maintainance shed, with storage of about 500 gallons of oil, and other petro-chemicals,) it would have been nice to crack into the class B foam to at least extingush the fire instead of trying to cool the oil. I ruined a good set of turnouts at that fire for no good reason. But for the vast majority of fires, properly applied water is the best, and quickest tool you have.
It depends on which engine. I hate to brag,but our newest engine does everything just about right. We love our 1981 American LaFrance Century...low crosslay preconnects,decent sized hosebed(for the time it was built,larger diameter LDH has somewhat diminished its capacity),ground ladders easily accessible,1500 GPM/750 tank etc...we just built an updated version. But you should have seen the eyebrows when we told the prospective bidders that we wanted an engine with low sided compartmentation on both sides.Flabberghasted!! not rescue body style compartmentation?Our other engines for one reason or another just arent that user friendly-our 1992 rescue pumper just doesnt do anything well do to size,hosebed heights and limitations in compartment space due to trying to be an engine and a rescue.
We went through the rescue pumper stage, full depth compartments, tons of truck tools, hose beds too high, not enough supply line, cant reach the ladders, etc. I am hoping and it sounds like our new chief is going to get us back to basic engines that cary water and hose, lots of hose, enough LDH, a couple duce and a half preconnects, booster reels, ladders on the side of the engine where we can reach them, good old fashion get r done engine company.
After reading all the responses it seems we all are crying the same song. I too would like to see lower hosebeds, battle ready rigs, and low pressure- high flow nozzles. The biggest thing i think is that we need to spec the rigs to what they are going to be used for and the district they will call home. Pre-connects, standardization, and complaints of water damage i have a problem with.
Pre-connects are a predetermined length before the fire ever starts. What about the fires beyond that reach? Okay so some of you may have that covered, but just make sure. Oh yea, pre-connnects of different lengths, if you have a 100' and a 200' and you need the 200' to make the fire room, where does the back up line come from? The other pre-connect is not long enough.
Standardization- i think is a poor excuse for not training and knowing your district. If i'm detalied from one house to another chances are the district is going to be different, so i would expect the rig to be. Unless you are detailing all the time you probablly spend most of your tours on the same rig. Why should you care about all the other rigs?
And WATER DAMAGE?!?!?!_ I don't get it. Where i'm from we went through Hurricane Floyd and i'm sure some of you have been flooded before. Look around, a lot of the houses that were flooded have been cleaned up, remodeled, painted, or whatever, are now occupied. How many houses that have burned down due to inadequate flows can you say the same for? You can clean up water, you can't clean up ashes!!!!! Black fire has done as much damage as you will do flowing water while making the push.
so..whats the answer here..why are departments from all over the country making the same mistakes when spec'ing a new engine(s)? When my department purchased our newest engine last year it was the culmination of years of painstaking investigation and nit-picking. We dont do alot right..but I gotta say, we took delivery of a battle ready engine that fits the district that it will protect. The committee did a great job of staying focused and being able to provide excellent reasons why we did something or didn't do something. One of the biggest problems we had to overcome was to design and build an engine that would be able to fit into an area of old summer homes that are now year round housing. The access is quite limited and at a steep angle. The hydrants are out on the main road at the bottom of the hill-hundreds of feet away. One of the roads has a turn to it that even a mini-pumper couldn't make. So we have to move the engine in right to the turn and hand stretch to the last house near the shoreline if there was a fire.I also think that we(as the fire service) try to reinvent the wheel..take this rescue pumper concept..i suppose that it works for some departments..but I belong to a smaller volunteer department and I can tell you..it doesn't work for us. The hose beds are too high,it doesn't carry enough hose, its too big, it doesn't allow us to carry enough rescue equipment, the ground ladders are too high. So, its 2008 and we're perfectly happy with our battle ready,functional, engine with low sided compartmentation on both sides without all the truck company gadgets. The more things change,the more they stay the same.
On the last two engines we purchased it was decided that they should be equipped with rear suction intakes, which I have yet to see anybody use. Typically our operation revolves around a reverse lay and a front suction would be much better suited for this task. Also since we do respond to rural water areas I find its easier to draft out of a front suction and put your tanks to the front to maintain a narrow profile on a roadway. Thats pretty much about it though, our last two engines are pretty good, 1500/700 pump/tank, good compartmentation, low hose bed with plenty of room in it, crosslays are low. All in all two great rigs.
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