Greetings friends in FFN land.
I am constantly being the one who is proactive and voice my opinion in my fire company on a regular basis. Now on the other hand I'm not a s@#t stirrer either, but after 34.5 years both career and volunteer and a retired fire officer who has help with many apparatus spec's & purchases I should know something. I am looking for both the Pro's and Con's on conventional compartment doors vs. roll up doors. It is not a cost issue first off, I can see running rollup doors in congested city and suburban areas due to limited space around the apparatus on side streets and alley ways. In the city and suburbs a good many departments are career or combination and regular if not daily apparatus and equipment checks and washing are a part of the daily routine. And city and suburban streets are usually paved roadways unlike in the rural area's where I live and the roads are not all paved but dirt covered with chip and tar dusty and muddy roadways, and being a volunteer co. can't 100% garuntee the trucks up keep except for and occasional monthly check and wash, weather permitting. Our conventional Compartment doors have served us well for almost 50 years what haunts me the most on the rollup doors is, there will be a lack of maintanace, proper washing of the doors, drying in cold weather and we do get cold here. I have seen these doors on other companies not open when needed by Freezing shut, dirt and grime stuck in the rollup tracks causing failure to open, opening only partially, and horseplay in the apparatus bays where some one runs or runs into the rollup door or falls into the door or even accidently hits or scrapes into the rollup thus causing to not work properly or at all. On the other hand though our current compartment doors which have worked well for years and been put through the same punishments I described above (time tested) have always worked well even when bent up, frozen and filthy dirty. My point is what use would rollup doors do a rural fire co. running 65 to 75 calls a year in a area non condusive to rollup doors?. So if any one can ansewer my question I'd like to know your thoughts. And I only believe in our situation it's a case of the I want's not one of nessesity or need, but only to keep up with the company up the road or in town.

Thanks and Be Safe

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WOW, Ok I like the roll up doors, mainly because of the clearance they give you in a working area, however you do have to maintain them more often then your swing open doors. Both types have there pro's, and con's, but you already know that. We have both types on our trucks, the newer trucks have the roll ups. It also depends on the type of truck you are putting them on. If you have large compartments, I would go with the roll up, and for the small compartments I would go with the door style.
Well I for one have seen the pro's and con's of roll ups recently. On my first station I am on ( station 1). We only have conventional doors. these as you have said are time tested. They never fail to open even when bent or frozen. On the other hand on my second station (station 4). We have roll ups on the main engine. They have only had this truck for 5 years. In those 5 years the truck has only seen a few fires and not much more road time. That is changing due to the new leadership and new member's. So that brings me to the con's. The engine only saw as you mentioned monthly maintenance. Therefore even when washed and waxed it still sat for extended periods without attention and use. And infrequent maintenance. The roll ups on the passenger side have dirt and dust rolled into the tracks and and mixed with the grease. Causing the doors to stick both open and closed. Sometimes taking 2 or three men to open a single door and also to close them. We also had a problem with the switches that trigger a alarm when the doors are left open while driving. The switch due to the same dirt and dust was sticking. Now since that time the chief and myself have taken the time to properly maintain these doors. By maintain I mean taking a steam pressure washer to the doors and tracks. Cleaning all the dirt and grease from them. And then re lubricating them with the appropriate lubricant. In our case we used a dry lubricant, I believe it was powdered graphite. This has provided the benefit of not collecting dust and dirt to the same extent. I believe with proper maintenance these doors are okay. I don't see as you have mentioned, what benefit outside of congested areas. Just my experience and thoughts. Hope it helps.
I agree on pointing out the pro's and con's. As for my dept we now have roll-ups on both engines and conventional doors on our tanker. I just like roll-ups because on our long drives there is still limited room to walk around the truck(2.5 ft of snow). We get about 90 inches of snow every winter, and im not sure how cold it gets around you, but we have never had any problems with roll-ups freezing shut. We do get a bunch of salt residue on the doors but a good rinse and wash and its gone. We cover about 40 miles of unpaved roads and everytime these trucks go out it is in horrible weather, long drives, and off an unpaved road. these things get nasty dirty,but i can only recall having to clean the tracks once in a 14 year period, and that was just recently and not due to hard operation. Once in the past 14 years have we not been able to open a compartment, and that was due to a tool being wedged against it from inside when it came out of its holder. All our doors are unpainted and that means less scratched paint for us. i only have one CON for the conventional doors, the operators compartment always swung toward the pump. Even in our rural area we ran 363 calls in '07 and 450+- in '08, we still get cramped quarters on scene and every bit helps.
we have both types on our trucks we love the roll up they are great and it gets cold here in the winter and they have always performed real well I am taller so i like the idea that i will not run into the conventional type doors on the other trucks
I prefer roll-ups. I like it when something gets completely out of the way. Doesn't stick out into traffic, no sharp corners poking out. What's not to like!

So there's a little more's worth it to me.


So very true espeacilly in tight quarters.
We have roll up doors on our new engine and rescue and swing outs on our older 2nd due pumper. I really dont have a problem with either style. I guess I think the roll ups look nicer and the only problem I have ever had with them is putting too much stuff in the compartment and getting something stuck all the way at the top, then the damn door wont roll up. We definatly get cold weather in my area and havnt had any problems with the doors freezing. I can remember one of my first fires where it was probably about 5 degrees outside without the windchill. Pumps froze, hoze froze, FF's were freezing lol, pretty much everything but the roll up doors froze.
Looks to me like you know the answers. We have both, our air truck is all rollups and I see no longevity in them. One of our engines has the conventional doors, low compartments are swing-out and upper compartments are swing-up which we like and just to stop the remarks, unless you are 7ft tall you won’t hit them. Now our new order has all conventional except the rear is a rollup, this is done in order to keep the tailboard clear which I can live with. Just for the record, rollups are not fireman proof:)
Roll Ups
Jack...yup you are right. The proper lube is always essential!!!! In many different things in life. We had that very same problem when we first got apparatus with roll ups. Wrong kind and too much!

However I still like the 'look' of conventional compartment doors!
Never had a problem with our roll ups and we are a rural community where we drive on dirt and gravel all the time.The winters in Nebraska can get really cold as well. I personally perfer the roll ups for the clearance it allows to the compartment and the fact nothing is sticking out in to a walkway or street. We have a lot of calls on the interstate and anything left hanging out is a taget for passing motorist. I have personally turned the corner in full gear and took my self out on a conventional door left hanging open..... Yes it hurt. I have never heard any of the other depts in the area having issues with there rollup's niether. As far as lack of maintenance and care for them thats a dept issue. Despite the fact your only a volunteer dept. and don't run many calls dosen't mean you cant take care or maintain your equip. We wash our trucks after every call and go through them monthly... (well it suppose to be bimonthly but it always seems like it only gets done once a month.....

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