I just wondered how many dept allow firefighters to ride on the back of brush trucks. And any thoughts you might have. Half of the depts in our county can ride on the brush trucks and the other half can not.
This is our old(ish) wildfire truck - called a 'Tanker' here. Can hold three in the cab, usually only two though; can hold three on the back on a rear facing seat (with belts) just at the front of the tray (the seat is under the small cover you can see, it is built as a roll-cage). We fight wildfires from the back, moving at fairly low speed. The method is terrific for grass fires, can round them up quickly at times. We will run in the black if possible, but also in the green if the wind has changed - which of course has slowed down the rate of spread making life easier as well!
Speaking from my job with the Oregon Dept of Forestry. We do not ride on any part of the truck fighting grass fires. It's also the same practice with the regoinal fire depts. We've discovered that the only way to get the fire completely put out is with firefighters walking next to the truck with a hose, and driving slow.
Nathen we have a department to are north that has that. They get stuck alot too much water. Are brush truck has ag sprayer on the front and a nozzle on each side. It works well you can control what one you use from in the cab with a toggle switch or all three. If you look you can see them it the photo I attached on the brush bar in front of the grill. I still like the booster out the window on the passenger side better though.
People will tell you that the slow speed means it is ok. Ask a couple of firefighters from the Abiline area. Riding on a brush truck trying to cross a barrier, (ie railroad bed). Slow speed, the truck has a flat, and rolls over. Luckily, nobody was killed.
We stopped the practice of riding on wildfires unless there is a life threatening situation where it might be necessary to escape.
Is this really a conversation we are having in late 2010? Get in the dam truck or walk. As far as fighting gain/grass/brush fires on foot, my answer is get in shape. It can be done, my current department does all summer long.
I have 27 years on the job, and I'm qualified as a NWCG type II Safety Officer. I have been on hundreds of wildland fires in my career and have NEVER seen a fire that had to be fought with someone sitting/standing on the tail-broad/hose bed of a moving vehicle.
First, the NFPA doesnt write "laws" they write recommendations. As with any other NFPA recommendation you dont choose to follow; however, you may be called to the carpet on it. Sorry, I agree we shouldnt ride on our tailboards, brush trucks or engines, but I cant stand when people refer to NFPA "laws" I challenge any fire department in the nation to meet all NFPA recommendations, it cant be done...