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GearheadGrrrl

How old can an active fire truck be?

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I'm on the city council of our tiny town and last night took in a show 'n' tell by the not quite so tiny town fire department that we pay to provide fire protection. They've got 7 trucks, the grass trucks are less than 10 years old and the tanker is a 2003 model, but it goes downhill from there- the "new" pumper is a 1995, and they've got an IH Loadstar and Cargostar from the 1970s for backup, a Paystar of similar vintage with a water tank, and an '80s Econoline cube van to haul the SCBA, Jaws, etc..

Some of these trucks border on scary and need replacing- the Cargostar don't even have air brakes! Is there a hard and fast age based rule as to when a fire truck needs to be replaced, or is it based on meeting certifications, etc.? Thanks!

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Im pretty sure that if the trucks performs the job, and is DOT legal, that it will stay in service as long as possible. The reason you probably don't have all new equipment is your likely from an area that isn't very big (just a hunch).

At my workplace, we have concrete pumps from the 80's, and they still go out and do jobs. Every once in a while we get a new model pump, and get rid of one of the older models.

The money probably isn't there to afford to buy three or four 1 million dollar pieces of equipment..

I really dont have any experience in the Firetruck field though, so my answer is just my opinion.. Someone who has experience will probably chime in

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  • after say 10 years they usually send it out for refurbing. aerial ladders are recertified, pumps are tested, etc, etc. after 20 or so years it's time to do it all over again. refurbing is not cheap but definately cheaper then buying a new rig. question is up to the village or fire district as to how they want to spend their money. the sad part is you sometimes have a real workhorse with no real issues that goes out to pasture and is replaced with a problematic lemon that is supposedly the state of the art. that is where 'always wanting the newest toy' can be a real detriment to the fire service.

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you really have to check out NFPA rules on apparatus replacement to be certified usually 20 years.

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Condition, not age usually dictates the replacement schedule. As others said, there are no hard fast rules that require replacement of older rigs. In our organization it was usually a combination of age and maintenance costs as measured by the "per mile to operate" cost, as well as the overall reliability of the rig; i.e. how often was it out of service for repair, did it fail to start for a call, did it break down on the road, etc. But, we were a large well funded urban department that regularly put high mileage on the rigs.

One other factor that comes into play is the ISO rating given the department that sets the local property insurance rates. The ISO will down grade the department if the apparatus is too old for the rating schedule.

To many small rural departments the "new" pumper they procure will already be 20 or 25 years old. It does the job and it is what they can afford.

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Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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think its 20 years in New York State. most all our volunteer Fd's around here get rid of them after 20 years. tires are every 8 years no matter what the condition.


post-6-0-64947600-1408238925_thumb.jpg

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My department runs trucks as long as possible they'll send them out to get refurbed before they consider replacing. We still run a 1972 r-model that was an engine but got repurposed as a hose truck in the late 90's our rescue truck got replaced 2 years ago and the old one was an 80s cab over ford gas job. So as long as they get the job done small town departments keep the old stuff in service


Unmistakeable Design, Unmatched Performance. Real Trucks Rattle

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Lads if I remember correctly, the latest version of NFPA 1901 (The Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus) suggests that apparatus 10 years old to be placed in a "reserve" status, and 20 years to be replaced.

For the un-initiated, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assoc. or as we like to call it "Not For Practical Application) are strictly standards and not "rules" as many like to call them; however many organizations and municipalities like to claim that they "follow all NFPA standards" which would be impossible.

However, what must be understood is that if you find yourself in a courtroom seated at the Defense table, be prepared for the Plaintiff to be using the NFPA standards against you, as they are the recognized, "expert" criteria within the United States and in many places abroad. I recently did some fire code consulting work for a fueling facility at an industrial plant in a far-away land and one of the requirements of the project was that everything had to meet NFPA standards for fuel farms and petrochemical bulk storage facilities.


TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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They didn't tell us that kind of stuff in recruit school


Unmistakeable Design, Unmatched Performance. Real Trucks Rattle

.........._,___

..... __/_|___|

.___/__] | |...|

|.__|____|___|___

|=(@)[___][__]==(@)(@)|

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Our dept still runs a 1978 Mack pumper and a 1976 rescue and I'm from a area where most trucks are replaced every 15 to 20 years except for us for some reason. Are other two pices are from 1991 and 1999. As the other guys said 20 years is the common age for a fire truck except for Mack of corse because they run for ever and don't rattle to pices lol

Rudy

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Hello, The Noroton Heights fire department in Darien CT runs an all mack flleet. They have 4 CF's and an MR rescue truck. They love there Macks. Noroton Heights can afford new trucks but they chose to keep the mack fleet going. Here is a link to their websites apparatus page http://www.nhfd.us/Apparatus.html If you love Macks, what sane person dosen't, it worth looking at their rigs.

Edited by VALS327
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I know in Plymouth they still have a bunch of old stuff still in service, it is a big town with 7 stations plus the state stuff in the forest. This breaker is a 77' and still running, I remember this truck from when I was a kid.

http://www.capecodfd.com/PAGES%20Appar%202/PLB171.htm

Some of the stuff in the next town over is older

http://www.capecodfd.com/PAGES%20Appar%202/WAB404.htm

Go down the Cape more and it gets older still....

http://www.capecodfd.com/PAGES%20Appar/unit%20463.htm

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We have 2 AWD Chevys that are in the early '70s

Who built those for you? Very neat truck.


Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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Who built those for you? Very neat truck.

Panel looks suspiciously like an Appleton.


TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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"How old can an active fire truck be?" Depends on where you live. In the mid-Atlantic region a fire truck has to be replaced either when it gets dirty or a neighboring fire department

buys a new truck (have to outdo the Jones, of course). Here in northern New England, departments run trucks that are 20, 30, or 40 years old because they have no other options.

Buying used trucks is big business. Rural fire departments have to buy what they can afford regardless of what the N.F.P.A. "recommends".

bulldogboy

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We just bought a new Rescue/Hazmat for $450,000


Matt

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This is my 1958 Ward Lafrance, It was in service for 32 years 1958 -1990 , thats because it has a 671 DETROIT IN IT AND IT PISSES PEOPLE LIKE 1958 F.W.D. OFF SO THATS WHY I AM YELLING SO YOU CAN HEAR ME !

MADDOG93:

Is that the Ward LaFrance that was in service in Alexandria, NH for several years? I know that they had a Ward LaFrance like that and a 1957 Mack "B"; both came from Port Chester, NY. I saw the Mack

when it was in service in Alexandria.

bulldogboy

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Yes it is I drove both the Mack [1981] then the Ward [1991] up there from my dept. I have them both in my barn. Bought the Mack in 2000 then the Ward in 2004 they have been together for 45 of the 55 years together. only 10 years apart when the Mack left first. My photo to the left is on the ramp at Alexandria !

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I have a photo of the Mack when Alexandria had it for sale. Later, I saw it in Harvey Eckart's book, "Mack Model B Fire Trucks". Glad to see that it was saved. You drove it to rural Alexandria? Must have hurt to

leave it behind. Alexandria liked having the Mack in their department.

bulldogboy

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