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x635

Should All Fire Trucks Carry Water?

43 posts in this topic

Interesting article, especially with the increasing trouble of getting rigs on the road.

As far as a quick knockdown of a Class A fire, isn't the can a truck company position?

This seems like it would be a neat tool to have:

:

Another option is the Macaw, a totally independent compressed air foam backpack from Intelagard. The Macaw multiplies its five gallons of stored water into as much as 350 gallons of finished foam along with the capability of delivering a stream of foam to the target up to 40 feet away, thus enabling the user to maintain a safe distance from smoke, flame or heat.

Place a couple of these units on a truck company and you'll have provided the crew with the capability to make a quick initial knockdown of a fire or protect their rescue path if an engine company is not already on scene.


FULL ARTICLE: http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-products/fire-apparatus/articles/1970355-Should-all-fire-trucks-carry-water/

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Neat tool? do you put it on over or under your SCBA?

So this backpack weights about 45 lbs. So you use them on your initial knockdown but you have to leave your SCBA on the truck. Sounds like another toy that some depts. will buy with tax payer funds and it will sit on the rig till it no longer functions and its then thrown away.

Maybe you wear your SCBA on the front now! Like a reverse backpack...

Ladder44 and x635 like this

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So then why do we have fire extinguishers on the truck? Are those too heavy to make them irrelevant to firefighting operations? Why do we carry them on trucks if that's not the truck companies job? Are apartment packs too heavy to make them prohibitive?

This system was mentioned in the article. It wasn't definitively the Macaw system, only used to give an example. There are a variety of chemicals and application appliances out there nowadays to help suppress a fire quicker and bridge a gap. Besides rescue of victims, wouldn't getting a fire out quicker solve a lot of problems? Every minute it takes for an engine to get on the road makes fire suppression more difficult. It just seems to me that a lot of FIRE departments want to play with toys unrelated to the primary mission, and the newest technologies in firefighting and fire extinguishments are largely played off or outright ignored.

The word "neat" didn't apply to being practical. I think it's a neat tool, but it's still bulky, and there are other similar products on the market that have similar capabilities in a much smaller, lighter, and lower profile unit.

And please take note that the title of the article is "Should All Fire Trucks Carry Water?" and wasn't a statement by me. If you haven't read the article that's linked to in this thread, then don't just base your opinion on the title of the thread....read the article first.

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I think that in a volunteer system, every, or almost every, apparatus should carry water, because you don't necessarily know what you are going to get out and when.

This way, if your ladder is on the road 5 min ahead of any other piece of apparatus, at least they can do something

x635 likes this

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100 gal tank in the chiefs car, that will do it !

That would be great! Paint it white with dri-erase board paint and the side of the water tank becomes an IC Board. You won't have to put sandbags in the back for better traction in ice storms either.

x635 and AFS1970 like this

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Does anyone (other than snotty and I) remember when we used to carry gallon jugs of water with a rope attached?

Old timers, don't let out the answer.

What were they used for?

x635 likes this

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Let's flip this around somewhat, should all apparatus have an aerial ladder? I mean what if you are on the road in your engine and you get a call and you pull up and you see a confirmed live victim in a high window? What will you do?

This is the flaw in the process, no matter what you do you can come up with a scenario where you have not done enough. Should all tanks be 1,000 gallons or more? What if there is a water main break? What if you get called mutual aid to a rural area? While we all have to think of the "what if's" we also have to also think of the probabilities and really how many times have you pulled up first due in the truck at a working fire that you normally would have been in the engine for and had no close engine coming?

In my old department we used to take the rescue on EMS calls. Now this dates back to the rescue being much smaller, but even with the current one it is smaller and lighter than the engines. The only time we took the engine was on reported burns. A few members wanted to start taking the engine on EMS runs instead of the rescue. In my opinion this was entirely based on the fact that the nearby career department did this, but let's face it the reasoning is completely different in the two settings. However the argument was made that we might be in the rescue when a fire came in.

As an officer at the time, I ran the report on simultaneous runs. I discovered that sue to our busy automatic aid system that called for our truck on numerous boxes, we were statistically more likely to be on the road in the rescue and need the truck. I showed the chief the numbers and argued that we should put the EMS stuff on the truck as that was were call volume says it was needed. That went over like a fart in church, as nobody really wanted to take the truck out for EMS runs. The engine cult won and started taking the engine on runs, and due to space limitations now was responding with far less EMS gear than the rescue carried (although most of that was rarely used). As a side not it was not long before the same genius who brought up this issue advocated selling the rescue as it was not doing a lot of runs. I think he just hated the rescue.

Bnechis likes this

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I think that in a volunteer system, every, or almost every, apparatus should carry water, because you don't necessarily know what you are going to get out and when.

This way, if your ladder is on the road 5 min ahead of any other piece of apparatus, at least they can do something

Are you saying the Truck should carry a can with this statement or a booster tank and crosslay line?

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Does anyone (other than snotty and I) remember when we used to carry gallon jugs of water with a rope attached?

Old timers, don't let out the answer.

What were they used for?

Old cellar nozzles? ( insert sarcasm )

BFD1054 and Bnechis like this

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Does anyone (other than snotty and I) remember when we used to carry gallon jugs of water with a rope attached?

Old timers, don't let out the answer.

What were they used for?

Chimney fires? Possible pre-cursor to the baggie of dry chem?

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As for the original post and the article. We've seen what happens when a FD has a tank and pump on their aerial then fails to maintain them due to budget woes. Faced with major cuts, repairing pumps and leaking tanks on apparatus that functionally never used them didn't make sense, next thing you know you're Houston FD on 60 Minutes (mid 90's?) explaining why your truck company couldn't stretch a line. More primary systems require more upkeep and maintenance. Typically FD's aren't apparatus poor, their manpower poor. If there are holes in someone's response system that allow for long periods of time between a truck arriving and the next in engine, likely tossing a Quint in will create an even longer delay when that piece is tied up or out of service.

This reminds me of the Louis CK clip about "Of course, but maybe". Of course, of course we have to make due with the funding and staffing the public gives us, but maybe when they cut and cut until we're riding twice as far with half the members to a fire the public should get what they paid for... Of course not, but... While I wholeheartedly believe we must provide the highest level of service we are capable of with the resources we're given, we must educate the public as to the limitations these cuts make. It is our job to to assume risk to address the emergency needs of our communities, but it's also our job to ensure that we take every measure possible to return to quarters with the same personnel we left with in the same condition. There is a balance between acceptable risk to our members and the amount of risk assumed to save life and property, if the public doesn't understand that scale we are partially to blame. We understand that it's impossible to provide the level of service many Metro FD's provide in rural America, yet how many citizens really understand the difference?

lt411 and AFS1970 like this

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Chimney fires? Possible pre-cursor to the baggie of dry chem?

Getting warm, antique

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Throw rope?

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Throw rope?

Nope on the throw rope

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I don't normally add my $.02, but I like this topic so I will try to keep it going for some good discussion. My department has a minimum of 12 on duty staffing 3 engines with 3, 1 truck with 2, and the duty chief. When we are above minimum additional staff goes to the truck. Engines handle the EMS runs so it has happened the truck has been 1st due with no water. It has also responded mutual aid and been the 1st company on scene. I have wondered if we rely too much on traditional roles of engines, rescues, and ladders as opposed to functions or tasks needed on the fire ground. I know the simple answer is to increase staffing but everyone knows how difficult it is these days. I have been contemplating a quint midi concept in place of an engine and the straight truck we operate now. If you talk to some people like Rochester they still have guys that were a proponent of the QM concept. Let the debate begin....

BFD1054 and dwcfireman like this

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Getting warm, antique

The only thing I can think that might be somewhat related would be trash chute fire, but then I'd think the stakes would be high enough to warrant a hoseline or the bowling ball?

wraftery likes this

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I have been contemplating a quint midi concept in place of an engine and the straight truck we operate now. If you talk to some people like Rochester they still have guys that were a proponent of the QM concept. Let the debate begin....

Some people in Rochester...like 1%? They fought very hard and spent millions to drop the quint/midi and go back.

While the quint/midi might work well in some places. in Rochester it was clearly designed to cut staffing:

1) Double Companies (engine & ladder) with 3/1 on each (total 6 firefighters & 2 officers)

2) Quint/Midi Co with 5/1 on quint & 1/1 on midi (total 6 firefighters & 2 officers)

3) City Manager: "why do you need 6 on those ladders, we use to have 4"

4) Quint/Midi Co with 3/1 on quint & 1/1 on midi (total 4 firefighters & 2 officers)

The big problem is does the quint "fit" the community? Many are too big to operate in some communities

Cost:

3 midi / 1 quint = $2m+ (not equipped)

3 engines / 1 ladder = $2.5m+(not equipped)

Plus maintenance and future costs may be a little lower with the midi/quint's

But switching the fleet at one time to make this work is very expensive. Unless you need to replace the entire fleet.

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The only thing I can think that might be somewhat related would be trash chute fire, but then I'd think the stakes would be high enough to warrant a hoseline or the bowling ball?

Correct For incinerators you used it somewhat like chimney chains. They were used as the line was being stretched. As for water, we had a Doohickey that went over the faucet (all incinerator closets had sinks) and had about 4 feet of rubber hose and a shower head. Handy little tools they were.

They went by the wayside when the EPA got rid of incinerators

antiquefirelt and BFD1054 like this

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Oh, I forgot Bowling balls would not work:

1. I don't think they will fit in the incinerator door.

2. They will burn. We had a run for smoke in the area which turned to be a guy burning his bowling ball on his BBQ grill. It looked like an oil pit fire.

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Oh, I forgot Bowling balls would not work:

1. I don't think they will fit in the incinerator door.

2. They will burn. We had a run for smoke in the area which turned to be a guy burning his bowling ball on his BBQ grill. It looked like an oil pit fire.

Up this way, until recently all we had was candle pin bowling so the balls aren't much bigger than a softball.

Bnechis and wraftery like this

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FYI best bag for dry chem chimney bomb is a grocery produce bag. Thin and melts as it gets to the fire.

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Up this way, until recently all we had was candle pin bowling so the balls aren't much bigger than a softball.

I should take that comment about bigger balls in NY and run with it, but I won't. Put a guy in a room full of fire and he won't care what city he's in.

antiquefirelt, Bnechis and AFS1970 like this

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Are you saying the Truck should carry a can with this statement or a booster tank and crosslay line?

I was thinking like our department, one crosslay and a small booster, maybe 500 gal.

We actually had a situation fairly recently where our truck was sent mutual aid as the FAST team, and ended up being the first arriving apparatus, as the district who had the call was having some major response time issues. The truck made a pretty good push on the fire until our engines and tanker could get there

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Going back to the original article, I have to wonder how much Macaw paid for the product placement in an otherwise decent article? Out of all the options, even when bringing up CAFS no brand names were used, until Macaw, Don't get me wrong there are lots of neat tools out there and I get that innovation is generally a private commercial process, but we need to get away from manufacturers having too much say in discussions on training and tactics. Because without the manufactur specific input, the idea of a foam backpack just seems to be the same thing as a replacing the water can with a foam can.

I went to a class at the CT Fire Academy that was called "Engine Company Operations". I would tell the long story but the gist of it is that the class was not what it said, there was no live fire training as advertised and it was little more than an infomercial for one specific brand of nozzle. The "instructor" was a salesman from the company. Another time I took a class on the State's foam trailers, that was at least 50% put on by the foam company that won the bid and was all about how great their foam was.

So back to the engine / truck / quint debate, why is it that we are generally against quints, but we seem to love rescue pumpers? Why is it OK to cram water and hose onto a rescue but not a truck? Again I ask why it does not work the other way around, as in why are not all engines required to carry extrication equipment?

Edited by AFS1970

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