We have 2 side mounts and 1 top mount. I've loved the top mount from the start. It gives you a clear 180 degree view from side to side, as well as keeps you out of the road. A few have suggested the rear mounts, but we have a good bit of highways and a 10 mile stretch of interstate in our response area, and personally behind the truck is somewhere I don't feel comfortable being on the highway.
I have operated top mount and midship, and I hate top mounts! As everyone has said they have a good view, operator out of way ect. When we respond during the day it is usually the driver and maybe one firefighter. So for us upon arrival put pump in gear help stretch line, climb up charge line, get back down get kinks out of line, climb back up check pressure, climb down and set up porta tank. I don’t care how much we train some people will never know where the equipment is on the trucks so you are constantly getting down to get a piece of equipment for someone. If you respond with a full complement of firefighters so your pump operator can just run the truck yes they are great. As for deck getting slippery the transmission produces enough heat to keep top deck clear. The lower side steps will get icy especially if you have a leaking side discharge. My career department just ordered a rear mount rescue pumper. Did a lot of research before hand and talked to departments that are running them. Our pump panel will be on the left rear side. With a rear mount you pull past the scene leaving room for the truck, and the pump operator can see two sides of the building. All intakes and discharges will be away from the operator making it safer. As for traffic concerns if it’s a major incident PD closes the street.
We really like the top mount, its the way to go, even in Michigan. Our Truck (Sutphen) is on the side, and our new engine is a bare bones with side mount and we already wish it was on top. I saw a new idea with a side mount pump and an elevated (above pump) control panel so you can still see both sides of the engine. Looked kind of goofy, but was pretty cool.
Top mount is the only way to go. For firefighter safety and being able to see what is going on you cant beat it. In a job where every second counts when your pump operater can see what is going on and be able to correct a problem with out having to send a messenger around the truck to tell him/her save alot of time. I know that the arrgument will be that the pump operater may have a radio but even then the noise on the pump panel it is hard to hear the radio.
I like the idea of a top mount because of the safety issue, as stated, and also because you can also keep an eye on all that's happening...the next best thing in my oppinion is the drivers side, so you can hop outta the truck and be right there...
Top mount without question.
For safety's sake and the panoramic view that it gives the pump operator. It lets him see all four sides of the truck and we hook him into headphones for the radio. I think it's a sweet set up.
I can see the problem if it is a long call. And the operator could get injured after getting fatigued, especially in bunker gear it could be easy to not lift that leg high enough, and get injured. Though I personally like having to climb up and down off the engine while I'm on engineer duty. It at least gives me something to do and keeps me active. But i have been fatigued to the point that it was harder and harder to climb up, so can see your point. I still think the vantage point is worth it though. Maybe preplanning a little more would alleviate some of the trips up and down.
Our new engine is being built now it will have a side top mount pump still gives you the ability to look out over the truck and shortens the truck up about 3-4 feet which is a big deal int the area we protect.
We also have both side mount and top mount. I like the top mount better too. When I got started I am not sure that they even had top mount pumps, and if you came into a scene where the fire was on the passenger side of the vehicle you had no idea what was going on. The top mount is the way to go!!