"New" Quick Attack Truck for Our Department. Now What Should We Fill It With?

Hello All,

My department just purchased another local department's used "quick attack" truck for fighting brush fires and being the first truck on scene to most of our fires. It is a 1980 Chevy 1 ton 4wd with a 300 gal. tank and a ton of compartment space. We are in a very rural area (a town of 282 people), and out of our 20 or so fire calls last year, right at half of them were brush fire related. Now that we have a more brush oriented rig to respond to calls, I'm wondering what we should fill it with. Obviously, I'm thinking shovels and rakes and other brush related equipment, but because it is probably better moving around an accident or fire scene, plus has lots of compartment space and an on-board generator and scene lighting some of us are thinking it would be a very good first attack truck in general. We are pretty new to the idea of a small pumper to do work, some of our more senior members are not keen on the idea of this truck, but we are doing an experiment with a $4000 truck to see if we can possibly justify a better truck in the future. It's a pretty neat truck for what we paid and in very good shape, and I would just love to see it utilized to it's maximum potential (especially since I was one of the biggest supporters of a quick attack style truck).

Thank you everyone for all your answers!


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This isn't a concept I haven't seen used in Western New York, but I have seen several articles in Fire Engineering and Fire Rescue magazines.  Here is one of the articles. Hope this helps out.


miscellaneous wildland stuff for a quick attack (You probably thought of most):

drip torch (training required)


combination tool ("combi")

Halligan Bar

bolt cutters and fence pliers

trash hook and pike pole

class A foam

assortment of straight bore, fog and foam nozzles

extra 1" forestry hose

fill hose

portable extinguishers, class A and ABC

5 gallon backpack pump

portable foam unit (ex: Foam Pro)

5 gallon gas can (if pump has separate tank)

tool kit for small repairs

chainsaw and saw kit

ice chest and spare drinking water


flagging, multiple colors

fire shelters for entire crew

NWCG S-130/S-190 training for your firefighters

My brain is empty. LOL


Our Dept. of Forestry supplies us with what's called a NUS (normal unit stocking ) sheet which lists all the appliances,hoses and safety equipment needed for a fast attack brush truck. I would recommend contacting your states agency to see if they have such a list. Ours is rather lengthy to itemize here. I also would recommend conducting a round table discussion within your department to come up with ideas for this to suit your needs.

Thanks guys! I am planning on bringing it up at the meeting and wanted to have a starting point. It will be up to only a few of us to get the truck stocked so it's nice to have a straight forward list to start, then start filling it with the junk that will inevitably get thrown into the compartments...

Maybe no other small department has trouble with lack of organization in truck compartments, but we seem to have some inconsistency that a few of us have been working on and trying to fix so it's the same layout in all of the trucks.

Personally  I'd look at what it's main role will be, is it just a brush truck, or are you going to use it as a quick attack and possibly first out for mva's and smaller rubbish/car fires, only because I've seen others do similar and it works really well 

My personal goal, and the goal of most of the younger group on the department is to have something to do work on MVA's and Fast Attack on small fires such as trash or car fires. Rather than getting the big #1 pumper out first, get this one on scene, assess the situation and see what is necessary. The older group on the department agreed that we needed a brush truck to keep our #1 pumper out of burning corn fields, but they have not adopted the small rescue/brush truck combination scenario until we came up with this cheaper option with all the compartments. We were initially looking at brush-only flatbeds/skid units in 1 ton pickups, and found what we got for so reasonably that we thought we'd try this and look at newer (more expensive) options over the next couple years instead of months.

I also thought my last comment sounded like it could be taken the wrong way after I posted it. Before anyone goes crazy about how I have little experience and am criticizing the department only on here, I am definitely vocal in meetings and trainings about our organizational aspects and how we can work through them to get better and look more professional to our community. We have adopted wearing gear to ALL calls since a few of us raised a stink and we are working towards a more involved whole department. Unfortunately, elections are this month and I've been told that my tendency to be vocal about change is going to get me a nomination. I'm not totally sure if I'm ready for that aspect yet, but I am willing to embrace the responsibility and move towards a more uniform, more organized, and more trained operation of our department on fire scenes.

Well my suggestion is get the basics, couple hundred feet of 1-1/2 attack line, speedie dry and brooms/shovels. But the biggest way I've seen to make change is show the need. Start rolling it on calls, and also start showing the decreases in fuel costs. Just don't get discouraged if the change isn't right away, but it should come for you

Just a little comment from down under - weight?  You state that you have a one ton truck with 300 gallon tank, and if my conversion is correct 1 US Gallon = 4 Litres = tank capacity of  1200 Litres = 1.2 Ton weight, plus pump plus gear, plus people(crew).  We would not allow that in our situation  the as it would exceed manufacturers GVM specification. Also your brakes , suspension etc would be at the limit.

To give you an idea we have a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 Diesel ute ( pickup) with a slip on unit , tank  100US Gallons (400 litres), small petrol Honda engine, Davey pump, foam unit, live reel 1"" (25mm), plus 38mm (11/2") AWG external lug fittings  plus locker, branches , line and LED lights etc... with a crew of two and that just sneaks in for GVM ( Gross Vehicle Mass).

(In fact originally we had 3 crew but we are now only allowed 2 as we exceeded GVM) . This is a mean unit but with only 2 crew, not good for long hard work.

What we are looking at is a replacement with something like a Mitsubishi Canter 3.0 Ton 4WD ( dual range), with 1500 Litre tank  ( i.5 ton) plus Hatz Diesel pump etc Look up  CFA Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia Fire Brigade and you will see what I mean. We had one of these on a strike team with us and it kept up with everything as well as having nearly 4 times the water capacity, and all safety features ( including spray protection). This is a cab over unit seats 3 and has capacity to spare. The Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) and the NSW Fire Service (RFS) have similar units.

Anyway - Good luck with your endeavors, and a little hint, if you can't get money from your local community, do what we did years ago when I was in a small rural fire brigade in another area, conduct  something like an Annual Draught Horse and Old Time Machinery Festival, get the community involved (i.e. some proceeds to schools,  service clubs that want to get involved), and after a few years , you will have the money to get what you really need. i.e. Use other peoples money from outside of your area. The best solution when you have a small community. Also you will get the interest in your area and people looking forward to this each year. We did it for 13 years straight...and wore ourselves out, but look at the result : New Tanker, building additions equipment etc....


Rodney Beale - Captain,  CFA Phillip Island Brigade, Victoria Australia

In the U.S. a "one-on-one" is just a name only these vehicles are built with a GVWR of 14000 pounds so 300 gals. Won't touch that but from my experience a "quick attack" doesn't Do to well in iso's eyes so you may want to keep a class a pumper around for structure fires.
Be safe
Jesse Phipps
Captain Ringold FD
SORRY typo went one-ton

Personally I dislike the quick attack vehicle concept.  To me the benefit of taking a full sized pumper, with a full crew far out weigh arriving on scene faster with a rig with too little water, too little equipment, and most importantly, not enough manpower to do anything of substance.  Especially if you adhere to the 2 in 2 out rule.

Further, unless you have perfectly level, no bump terrain, for your brush fire areas, how well will your extrication equipment and lighting handle the pounding of the off road usage?

Fighting brush fires can be pretty hard on a truck depending on your area. Be careful to commit a vehicel that primarily fights brush fires to other critical uses.  Even though it may have teh space  you may not want to fill it up. Of course brush fire hand tools take up a lot of space and add little weight. As far as what tools you need to consider your terrain. For us , shovels are nearly useless as we have virtually no soil (all rock) . Pulaskis are not the right tools in grasslands.  Hydraulic extrication tools are not happy  offroading and putting out brush fires even when secured.  

I suggest keeping as a brush fire truck.

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