Looking for a little discussion on quints. Our department, like many departments, is facing a budget crunch and one of the ideas on saving money is getting rid of truck and engine companies and going to quints. What are your experiences with quints? I want the good, bad, everything you all have to offer. The city I serve is roughly 500,000 people strong. We have 24 stations with 25 engines and 9 truck companies. Thanks ahead of time for you input.
Personally, I can't get the things I want on a quint to do all the things I expect for a truck company to manage. I guess if you are just using a quint for down and dirty truck ops, you can make it work, but I know on our tractor drawn aerials, we still find ourselves wishing for a little more compartment space. When you add supply lines and attack lines and all the engine stuff, it gets to where you have to trade some things.
For numbers crunching, the quints are the way to go. You can staff up and it can function as a truck or an engine, depending on what you need. It can supply itself (master stream). It can protect itself. They can be big or little, again depending on what you need; just something to cover when a truck isn't available, or a full-on aerial.
We run one true truck company for our jurisdiction, which uses a TDA (we also have a reserve TDA). We have two 103-foot quints that are assigned as engine companies, but they carry not only the required equipment for our engines (which includes medical and some rescue gear), they carry medium duty extrication tools including hydraulics, and a good number of items for truck work. These companies are usually deployed as engines, but can also be used as back-up truck companies if our primary truck is tied up.
As with everything, there are benefits and downsides, but if you keep an open mind and remain flexible, they can be a good addition to your fleet. Unless I had dedicated rescue companies, I probably wouldn't go all quint, but that's just my opinion.
In larger departments like yours, it's a sham to try and reduce staffing. We use a quint and it's staffed with two. The truck is great, but what do expect to get with two guys? I always hear that it will used as an engine or a truck. But when it's parked in front of the building on a narrow street, the ladder and the pump get used. The pump operator is busier than a one arm paper hanger!