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.
it really all depends on what type you dept has or is comfortable with. our dept has had top mounts for 40 yrs, except for our ladder of course. top mounts do offer better view of the scene in my opinion though.
Mid ship panels on top are great only so long as the weather is not cold (high in the injury department when you fall off), or if the PO does not need to get off that position to get stuff for crews from the compartments (again injury making problem). They do offer great views of what is going on, but do you really need the veiw or will an effective radio system let you know what is going on anyway. Also, they cost more because you have to reposition the pump back some from where is would be if side mounted.
If you are worried about traffic you need to consider is the whole event scene is at risk, we tend to park the 25 ton stop sign in the way and block the roads, cones go out to prepare to reroute traffic after the scene is not so congested (of course LAW wants it done now but they are becoming wiser).
That's not YOUR pump panel, you're a truckie. It's the engine's pump panel. :-)
I have it on good authority that your truck didn't have a pump panel.
I saw it at two fires today, and it didn't have a pump panel...although it was underwater from the rain at the Forest Drive fire tonight.
My last two trucks I worked didn't have pump panels, either...unless you can count a starter switch, choke, and dump valve on a Hurst Simo motor as a "panel".
I liked the pump panel location on the first engine I ever worked. It was 1947 American LaFrance 700 Series with a side-mount midship pump. The best thing about it was that it was mounter on the officer's side (curb side) of the engine. That way operator was out of the street, not exposed to falling or slipping due to ice in the winter, and the operator could see the entire fireground on almost every call.
I 'd like to see someone bring the right-side pump panels back. It makes a lot of sense. The 700 could get around hills just fine. A midship wouldn't have been able to get out of our station. It sat atop a steep ramp on a small hill. An engine with the long wheelbase/long bridge length of a top mount pump would have been damaged or hung up every time it pulled out of the station.
We have each. In the Houston area summers, the top mount with all of it's polished stainless and diamond plate is great for working on your tan. It is also great in a thunderstorm to be standing up there with lightning striking around you. While the side mount operator can open the compartment door for an umbrella from the sun and rain.
Ok, so much for creature comforts. Maybe I'm just old..school, the less climbing I have to do...
We have 2 midship sidemount panels I wouldn't trade them for anything, I have run a top mount it was great, but if you live anywhere in the northern US in the winter it can get VERY cold ontop of the truck, a side mount can also make you a better pump operator because if the panel is on the other side of the scene where you can't see whats going on you can only rely on 2 things the RADIO and INSTINCT.
Side mounts are great for short wheel based engines & top mounts are good for highways and roadways with high traffic volume. I haven't pumped with a rear mount but people seem to like them that have it. Either way as long as the engine has a short wheel base and low hose bed and is user friendly and is practical, it works for me. But its up to the company and the area they cover to decide what is right for their own communities
have top mount where i work and side mount where i vol. like the top mount over the conventional side mount but have ya'll seen the PUC made by Peirce. it can be in side mount or top mount but the side mount would be my choice here. the discharges and suction are set to the side of the gauges and throttle and valves. you can get a camera that shows you the other side of the truck and is adjustable. did i say that it is also a tru 1500 gpm class a pump that can pump and roll. they have brought back my love for the side mount. but until i get one of the PUC i like the top mount unless you are short of manpower. and yes i have been hit from a busted hose at the pump panel. broke four ribs and landed 10 feet back from the engine. still have a stiff neck but faired out really well considering.
Only our reserve engine has a top mount pump. The rest all have side mount pump panels. I prefer the top mount because it keeps you out of the roadway, as well as allowing you to view the entire scene. With the side pump panel you can be on the opposite side from the fireground, and unable to see anything. Stay safe!
ALmost all of ours are on the front. We have a lot of long narrow driveways and it seems to work. Our newest apparatus is a midship and that works well to but the engine i'm assigned is on the front and I can due most anything from there.