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x635

Apparatus Comittee Members

20 posts in this topic

After seeing a wide variety of number of personnel that are included in the factory visits for apparatus under-construction visits, what is generally a good number?

I was looking at photos of one FD's factory visit, and they had 10 people there. It seems, to me, that number of people would be more a hindrance then a help. I would think that the four people from the committee would be a good number. Even if there's more members from the committee, those 4 should know what the committee wants, and be enough to represent that committee. And how many visits is appropriate?

I know some departments require the dealers to pay for the visits, so would smaller numbers mean a small savings on the price?

Also, what's a good number of people that should be on an apparatus committee, and who should they be? (Chief, Captain, Mechanic, etc.)

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Just my opinion having served on two.... Chief officer, line officer, experienced firefighter/operator, representative from board of commissioners or whomever is cutting the check.

dwcfireman and x635 like this

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Our apparatus committee is made up of 5 personnel of which in recent years three have gone on any factory trips. Typically the committee chair goes on all trips, the A/C in charge of maintenance goes on the pre-build and final trip and other holes are filled as can be by availability. The last two fire apparatus purchases were bid with three total trips each: pre-construction, pre-paint, final inspection/testing. Both of these trucks were "one-offs" and thus each trip proved valuable. I'm not sure we'd do the same number if we used the same builder or if we were buying another one of the same of either. I suepct the needs vary greatly from FD to FD and depending on the apparatus.

x635 likes this

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Five at the most, especially on inspections. You may have a larger committee or group to help develop specifications but the large group is a hinderance while trying to do an inspection.

x635 likes this

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How about two and the consultant. I know it's too practical and everyone wants to go on a "free" trip.

x635 likes this

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I remember back home that our apparatus committees were always about the size that people keep suggesting; five, usually consisting of the chief, both assistant chiefs, a couple of senior firefighters. I remember for our new engine (2005), however, that someone finally had a bright idea, and a legitimate idea at that. One of our younger firefighters was a certified deisel mechanic! Much to what Bnechis stated, it makes all too much sense to send a mechanic. I understand it's simple for carreer departments to send a mechanic, but in the volunteer world we need to get these people involved in the apparatus design process. I know A LOT of volunteers who are full time mechanics. They have knowledge and skill where many of us don't, and we need to include them where it counts!

Bnechis and x635 like this

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Having just sat on a committee with 10+ members, I am not sure which is worse, 7 people all asking the dealer for something different; or a pound wise, penny foolish chief officer more concerned with aesthetics than function.

I would rather have a large committee of progressive individuals than a small one stuck in 1980.

Edited by SRS131EMTFF

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Anything would be better than our last build where the chiefs were given almost zero input and some old guys who haven't seen a fire or been on any apparatus in God knows how long were the ones to write the specs. We (eventually) will be getting a lot of stuff we don't need and some stuff we do need in a nearly un-workable package.

x635 likes this

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We usually send 4 for both the pre construction and the final inspoection. Usiually the committee is 4, the Chief, me, the engineer of the rig being replaced and one at large member. The town officials ( cut the check) have enought confidence in us to do the right thing and only want the good press when it is delivered.

I have served on 5 truck committees and only had to fly to Smeal (1) and Sutphen (1) the other three were built within driving distance Rescue 1 and 4 -Guys and a demo model from E-One.

Our newest order will be built at Sutphen East, so a 90 minute drive, so we save the travel cost of 8 and use that for other incidentals on the rig.

x635 likes this

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I know some departments require the dealers to pay for the visits, so would smaller numbers mean a small savings on the price?

The dealer may pay for coffee and donuts at the visit but they are definitely not paying for the trip. They build that cost into the cost of the apparatus and you're actually paying for it. You just circumvent the budget process by concealing it in the apparatus cost instead of a line item in the budget.

Dinosaur and x635 like this

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I would say 5 on the committee, (6 if you choose to use a consultant) 1 chief officer, a mechanic/ skilled operator, a trustee or money man and two members at large. Anything more and the committee becomes too unwieldy and cliques within the cliques can form creating far too many problems and far too many opinions on how to solve them.

As far as inspection trips go I would say 3 should do it. (Four if you have a consultant)

1 Chief

1 Mechanic or skilled operator

1 Trustee or "check writer"

These members should be be well versed on the specs and what it is you're looking to buy since as committee members they developed them

x635 likes this

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If you have a budget you must stay within, the money man is just a waste, unless he will nitpick every item, then he is a major detriment.

I have sat on committee's for career, combo and volunteer depts. and if you have a target amount and/or a max amount you are set.

Many committees I have witnessed have no clue what the process is and spend time on everything but what is important...i.e we don't care how much water actually flows through it (as long as the plaque says xxx more than some other dept). But we spent 20 hours debating if the blue light should be on the left and the red on the right or the other way around. (and it takes 5 minutes to change the lens so what difference does it make)

The other big mistake I see is "we want it exactly the same as the unit its replacing but 30 years newer" ...... Does that rig perform the way it needs to? "No, but we still want the new one to be the same". In 30 years have you ever used the front suction with the shiny cap on it? "No but we want it on the new rig so they look the same".

Been there done that as well.

x635 and Bnechis like this

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What about the departments who put into their specs that requires the dealer should provide airfare, lodging, meals, and incidentals for 3 separate trips to the factory? You are screwing the dealer's ability to be competitive. And you're screwing the taxpayer. Is it strange to anyone else that this is ripe for corruption?

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What about the departments who put into their specs that requires the dealer should provide airfare, lodging, meals, and incidentals for 3 separate trips to the factory? You are screwing the dealer's ability to be competitive. And you're screwing the taxpayer. Is it strange to anyone else that this is ripe for corruption?

That's what almost everyone does. But its not the dealer who pays. In almost every case the contract is between the municipality and the manufacturer. The dealer advises the manufacture as to the costs and they get reimbursed from the manufacture after you pay for the truck.

Dinosaur, x635 and antiquefirelt like this

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The Chief (or his assistant if he chooses to delegate)

The captain of the Company to which the rig belongs

The Engineer responsible for the maintenance of the rig

The Commissioner who is tasked as the "Fleet Manager" for the fire district

And if one additional person is needed to lighten the work load on the other 4...a recent ex-chief or master chauffeur preferable who has completed the respective nys courses to operate the rig being replaced (evoc, pump op, or ladder op)

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I remember back home that our apparatus committees were always about the size that people keep suggesting; five, usually consisting of the chief, both assistant chiefs, a couple of senior firefighters. I remember for our new engine (2005), however, that someone finally had a bright idea, and a legitimate idea at that. One of our younger firefighters was a certified deisel mechanic! Much to what Bnechis stated, it makes all too much sense to send a mechanic. I understand it's simple for carreer departments to send a mechanic, but in the volunteer world we need to get these people involved in the apparatus design process. I know A LOT of volunteers who are full time mechanics. They have knowledge and skill where many of us don't, and we need to include them where it counts!

So who was running the department while they were gone?

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So who was running the department while they were gone?

Sorry, forgot to answer the question of who went on the trips....Usually only one of the three chief officers would go, sometime two. The department always tried to keep a chief in town. The rest of the committee would go, as well. And being a snall rural village the village trustees rarely got involved (especially since the mayor was one of our firefighters!).

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When I was at the Smeal factory in the corn fields of Nebraska , there was department that spent roughly 1 hour at the plant looking at thier rig then were flying out to a Rockies - Met game as part of their inspection .

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