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Prohibitions on use of Commercial chassis per NFPA


Red Horse
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Thx QF.  I took a quick look at Marion's summary and while you might think they would be biased as they are a custom builder, looks like IMO they were fairly objective.  To a "civilian" like me, biggest case for a custom is to have at least 5 guys who are ready to  jump out with their SCBA on when they reach the scene.  Best you are going to do with a commercial crew cab is 3?  That says to me if its a staffed paid department, that is key.

Rural or non paid- different story I would imagine.  My 5000 population town? two paid guys M-F daylight.  rest of the time truck rolls I  think once two guys are at station.  I have to  say, I'm surprised premium for a custom is only $30,000 vs a commercial.  Then again when I see some of the "recent deliveries" that some manufacturers post and the commercial  is a Pete or a KW vs the old days when it might be a Ford or a GMC that figure is not so surprising.

I'm sure many guys on this thread have varied opinions.

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22 hours ago, Red Horse said:

So guys, what spec(s) does the NFPA have that makes the use of a commercial chassis difficult?

None whatsoever.  NFPA guidelines do not address whether or not a commercial chassis can be used or not.  Any chassis used must meet certain criteria for NFPA compliance, but there is nothing that eliminates commercial chassis from that.

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7 hours ago, Red Horse said:

Thx QF.  I took a quick look at Marion's summary and while you might think they would be biased as they are a custom builder, looks like IMO they were fairly objective.  To a "civilian" like me, biggest case for a custom is to have at least 5 guys who are ready to  jump out with their SCBA on when they reach the scene.  Best you are going to do with a commercial crew cab is 3?  That says to me if its a staffed paid department, that is key.

Rural or non paid- different story I would imagine.  My 5000 population town? two paid guys M-F daylight.  rest of the time truck rolls I  think once two guys are at station.  I have to  say, I'm surprised premium for a custom is only $30,000 vs a commercial.  Then again when I see some of the "recent deliveries" that some manufacturers post and the commercial  is a Pete or a KW vs the old days when it might be a Ford or a GMC that figure is not so surprising.

I'm sure many guys on this thread have varied opinions.

Marion Body Works is a "custom body builder".  They build on both commercial chassis and on chassis specifically designed for the fire service, but they do not build chassis, like true "Custom" fire apparatus builders.  There is not a "staffed, paid department" in the US that has "at least 5 guys who are ready to  jump out with their SCBA on when they reach the scene", not even FDNY.  Some FDNY engines have five  person staffing, the "chauffeur" is the driver/pump operator and rarely goes inside on the initial attack.  Most paid FD's run with an officer, a driver, and a firefighter.  Lucky ones have two firefighters!  Many paid FD's around the US have a driver and a firefighter.

As for that cost comparison between custom and commercial, don't put too much stock in that $30,000 amount.  It all depends on which chassis and which options are chosen.  The spread could easily be twice that amount.

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Marion's primary (custom) chassis & cab supplier is Spartan. Unless things have changed their preferred vendor for commercial chassis was Freightliner, but they will build on anyone's chassis if preferred by the customer.

One HUGE drawback of commercial chassis is the increased length, smaller cramp angle and increased turning radius. 

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TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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Red Horse, what's gong on? Anything I can help with? I have been on 5 truck committees including one for which the frame rails will hit the factory floor come the last week of July- a quint being built by HME/Ahrens Fox in Wyoming, Michigan for $1,072,000

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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3 hours ago, 1958 F.W.D. said:

Red Horse, what's gong on? Anything I can help with? I have been on 5 truck committees including one for which the frame rails will hit the factory floor come the last week of July- a quint being built by HME/Ahrens Fox in Wyoming, Michigan for $1,072,000

Thx-nothing specific-just a "civilian" with an interest in fire trucks.  Rest assured the next time my town goes to bid, I will probably be asking questions. And it seems this question of "commercial vs custom" seems to pop up from time to time.  But always learning something. Like I was led to believe biggest reason for a  custom cab was need for everyone to be in a seat that had the scba in  it.   But as GA-Dave posts-not really  the case.

And by the way, $1.072 mil for a "quint" -is that some sort of aerial?

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A quintuple combination pumper or quint is a fire-fighting apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck. “Quintuple” refers to the five functions that a quint provides - pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.

 

Another thing to consider is equipment standardization.

 

Here in LA county all of the county pumpers are set up the same. Many stations have the primary pumper that is numbered to reflect the station, say 152 for example, and many stations also have a reserve or backup pumper that would be numbered 552. This allows the county to quickly deal with equipment breakdowns on call in a crew that is off to man the backup pumper for an emergency such as a large fire.

 

I do agree that the SCBA argument is mute for most stations. I have never seen the entire crew of the truck jump off the truck as soon as they arrive on scene and run into a burning building. This behavior would be reckless and dangerous. It is better to arrive on scene, assess the situation, develop an attack plan and execute it, all of this can happen very quickly.

 

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12 hours ago, Quickfarms said:

I have never seen the entire crew of the truck jump off the truck as soon as they arrive on scene and run into a burning building. This behavior would be reckless and dangerous. It is better to arrive on scene, assess the situation, develop an attack plan and execute it, all of this can happen very quickly.

I don't know what happens there but here in Eastern Pennsylvania as well as numerous large cities, small towns and other sizes of municipalities all across this great continent we get out of the rig with our SCBA on and tools or hoseline in hand, ready to go to work in a rapid, orderly military manner. Aggression seen as being reckless in some eyes is a coordinated offensive  attack in experienced and trained eyes. We came, we saw, we kicked ass. 

Edited by 1958 F.W.D.
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18 hours ago, Red Horse said:

Like I was led to believe biggest reason for a  custom cab was need for everyone to be in a seat that had the scba in  it.   

And by the way, $1.072 mil for a "quint" -is that some sort of aerial?

Commercial cabs can usually be outfitted with at least four SCBA seats (officer up front and three bucket seats across the back if a four-door.) 

And yes as Quickfarms stated, a Quint is a 5-function vehicle, usually an aerial ladder with a pump. In our case a 111' straight ladder (no bucket) with a pump, a 500 gallon tank, preconnected attack lines plus a bed for 800' of supply line, and we will have 247' of ground ladders. I have attached a pdf of the final design drawings. The frame rails and cross members will all be galvanized, and have just been received back at the plant from the galvanize vendor. All cuts, notches, holes and flanges, brackets etc have already been performed or welded to the rails, then they were shipped to the galvanize shop. They should hit the factory floor the last week of July. We are on schedule to go to the factory the last week of January to do our final inspection. 

23573-HELLERTOWN-PA.pdf

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I have to agree with FWD.  As a former firefighter, captain and occasional acting assistant chief, I saw the value of aggressive work and being "ready to work" when you hear the air brakes engage.  The scenario that often plays out, although not necessarily in a place like NYC where a chief and the first due rigs show up simultaneously, is that a chief arrives first and is able to assess (size up) the scene visually and verbally based on bystander reports.  This is conveyed to the apparatus crews while they are en-route.  Each apparatus calls for an assignment shortly before arrival and in the event that the firefighters on board aren't sitting in seats that are assigned a job already, the officer or person riding in the officers seat (shotgun) issues orders as to whom will do what.  Airbrakes hit, doors open, and you go to work.  In a well trained department it is no different than breaking the huddle in a football team and executing the play.

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Ed Smith

1957 B85F 1242 "The General Ike"

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We need to remember the NFPA has NO regulatory powers, they are not a government origination. They can only make recommendations

From the NFPA main page

"The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.

Our vision: We are the leading global advocate for the elimination of death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.
Our mission: To help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge, and passion.

NFPA delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering our mission. NFPA membership totals more than 50,000 individuals around the world."

All the above is great but they fail to mention that the majority of their funding comes from manufactures that provide equipment to the fire service who just may benefit from NFPA's " Recommendations"

Lets all take their Recommendations as what they are, Just recommendations and not law.     

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Well FWD- based on that PDF I guess I understand why it is a million bucks!  What is power?

And I have to say, I understand both positions in terms of  taking time to assess vs jumping into it.  Although I have to say, occasionally I end up killing time watching responses on You tube.  And I have to say more often than not I end up thinking--"doesn't anyone have a sense of urgency" ?  Guys casually get out of truck, no one is rushing?? I guess haste makes waste? 

Spent 44 yrs in a haz mat world.  Know what a 20 lb Ansul dry powder can do  as well as what fog can do etc etc.  When I first started, one of our bigger facilities in Albany NY had a great fire school set up on property. Old 3700 gal tank trailer that was set up to control various types of conditions ,  big steel pans to practice using fog nozzles etc.  Unfortunately that facility had to quit that when state prohibited private training fires because of "air quality issues".

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On 7/20/2020 at 11:19 AM, 1958 F.W.D. said:

I don't know what happens there but here in Eastern Pennsylvania as well as numerous large cities, small towns and other sizes of municipalities all across this great continent we get out of the rig with our SCBA on and tools or hoseline in hand, ready to go to work in a rapid, orderly military manner. Aggression seen as being reckless in some eyes is a coordinated offensive  attack in experienced and trained eyes. We came, we saw, we kicked ass. 

While I agree with your statement on aggressiveness, my point was that not everyone on the rig needs to do so.  I spent 23 years as a Driver and RARELY wore a BA while in that capacity.  When I was filling in on "the seat", I came off the rig with a BA on.  Our crews going inside are as aggressive as any I have ever seen.  They do their own forcible entry, when needed, and don't wait on ventilation to go in.  Most of our fires are knocked down with the first line and before the second engine arrives.

Our first apparatus to come from the factory with SCBA seats was a 1992 Ford LN-9000/American.  When I was hired in 1986, all SCBA's were either mounted in high-side compartments or carried in boxes in the rear compartments.  I asked the Chief about mounting a BA in the jump seat of my engine, but he said no.  I began carrying one on the seat next to me, but then they got worried that it might fall off while responding.  After several weeks of debate, I was given the go-ahead to mount two on each engine.

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On 7/20/2020 at 11:26 AM, 1958 F.W.D. said:

Commercial cabs can usually be outfitted with at least four SCBA seats (officer up front and three bucket seats across the back if a four-door.) 

And yes as Quickfarms stated, a Quint is a 5-function vehicle, usually an aerial ladder with a pump. In our case a 111' straight ladder (no bucket) with a pump, a 500 gallon tank, preconnected attack lines plus a bed for 800' of supply line, and we will have 247' of ground ladders. I have attached a pdf of the final design drawings. The frame rails and cross members will all be galvanized, and have just been received back at the plant from the galvanize vendor. All cuts, notches, holes and flanges, brackets etc have already been performed or welded to the rails, then they were shipped to the galvanize shop. They should hit the factory floor the last week of July. We are on schedule to go to the factory the last week of January to do our final inspection. 

23573-HELLERTOWN-PA.pdf 1.28 MB · 4 downloads

Will it be painted to match the Dash CF?

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NFPA regulations may be "recommendations" and "not law" but good luck explaining that to a jury during a lawsuit. A sharp lawyer will ask , " if these

regulations were approved by your peers why didn't you follow them?" Many cases have been lost by not following the NFPA. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, GA_Dave said:

Will it be painted to match the Dash CF?

Yes. The aerial will be a metallic gun-metal gray. 

I fought to go complete polar opposite- red with black stripes.....But got out-voted by the kids. 

The black and red is for our local high school sports teams- we are a big High School Football and Baseball town. 

Edited by 1958 F.W.D.
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15 hours ago, Red Horse said:

Well FWD- based on that PDF I guess I understand why it is a million bucks!  What is power?

Cummins ISX15 at 600hp

We received six bid proposals, and this one was the lowest responsible bid. Highest was Seagrave at over a million and a quarter. 

I have two 20lb ansuls fillled with Purple K in my garage!!! 

Edited by 1958 F.W.D.
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