I am not looking to criticize, but our Fire Department recently purchased the skid unit in these photos to use as our "new Brush Unit."  The person who purchased it does not feel the need to explain his logic, however everyone is wondering what his logic was for ordering this unit from Northern Tool ( http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200329207_200329207) for use in Firefighting.

Obviously he has been around a lot longer than any of us, at least forty years longer to be exact, but does anyone else use a "Round-up Ready," 11gpm agricultural skid unit with a 1/2" hose and a plastic sprinkler sprayer for fighting brush fires. If you do, I would love to see your skid unit in action, so we know how to employ this thing.

And, yes, that is our 1977 Dodge Pick-up, whose last Red Light Permit expired in 2001, that we pulled out of retirement to be our Brush Unit.

This just seems like a bad idea to me.



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The person who purchased it does not feel the need to explain his logic

Doesn't appear that logic was used. This looks like plain stupidity where money has once again trumped lives and safety.
If you decide you want to recoup some of those wasted funds and give an old truck a break I'd love to help a 77 Dodge retire to civilian life!

I've used those pumps for county weed spraying, they are going to flow about as much as a backpack handpump set up.
Some questions for you;
How many brush responses does your department make annually?
Is there a need for a larger unit that will just sit in the station and collect dust, which in my eyes is a bigger waste of funds.
You need to carefully weigh the needs of your community and the available resources that already exist in your area, including mutual aid companies. What good is it to have a fully stocked brush unit in every station when the average call volume for brush fires is 4-12 times a year? You should plan with other agencies and get what is needed, like maybe a 4-wheel drive pumper that can do double duty, fight brush fires and structure fires and be able to go off-road to fill tankers.
Maybe there is something like this in this guys reasoning but without more info I cant be sure. Give me more info and I will chat with you.
Stay Safe

March through October or November we have two-three brush fires within the city a month, the county has about the same, perhaps a couple of more per month that we provide mutual for. We also provide mutual aid for bush fires in all of the surrounding counties.

The get a lot of brush fires in pine forest, with the typical pine needle bed on the ground and in the marsh grass, including on the islands in the rivers here. Georgia Forestry cuts fire breaks with dozers, but we have to fight the fire, and contain it until Forestry arrives, then do mop up afterwards, which is the only place I see any real utility for this unit, essentially a giant Indian Pak for use in mop-up.

We also have had in the past some fairly large brush fires along the railroad tracks which cross our city in two different places.

We probably don't need a full brush engine, but a skid unit with firefighting hose, and the ability to pump enough water, so that when we're facing a 20ft wall of flame in the saw grass we can a least defend ourselves, and prevent underbrush fires in the pines from burning up the kudzoo and vines into the crowns of the pines trees. In other words a skid unit purpose-built for Firefighting. This unit cost $3,000, for just a little more we could have bought either a used skid unit from another Fire Department, or an entry-level brand new skid unit built to NFPA specs.

While the truck is an antique (we call it " 'mater"), it can always be upgraded when funds, or another truck, become available. My concern is the ability to move enough water to effectively over come the BTUs of a brush fire in dry saw grass or pine forest.

I'm not saying the purchase was necessarily wrong, but I cannot the logical in it, other than simply being a cheapskate. Where Safety is concerned, the cheapest option isn't usually the best option.

Thanks John.

I see now. Yes, your kind of response to the fires you have requires more kick definitely. I do not know why he didnt get the bigger pump with option to draft from ponds and streams, with the larger forestry hose for attack. This is, as you say and I agree, just suitable for the mop-up operations behind the attack. Maybe thats what this is intended for, who knows, but I am with you. It should have been thought out a little more and had a little more "ooomph" to it.
If you guys only had a few runs a year involving brush I would understand this unit, but not for what you guys do. Best of luck in trying to get this fixed, hopefully at not such a big cost either.
Stay Safe
I hope you have a good engine you can count on!
A couple thoughts... Logic, well, you already know the answer to that. 11 gpm can put out some grass fires but thats about all. I would be concerned about the fact that the tank is not baffled, and depending on the size, you may be close or over your GVWR.
If it's not either designed as a fire apparatus nor heavily modified to meet the requirements for a fire apparatus, then it's not a fire apparatus.

If you need 300 or 400 gallons of water, 200 won't cut it.
If you go anywhere that the skid unit can be exposed to heat, the plastic tank will melt.
If you want a hose stream that will penetrate actual fire, a "lawn applicator" nozzle isn't adequate.

I'd recommend putting together an apparatus committee - even if you think it's too late - quickly develop some specifications for both the skid unit and the truck that will carry it. They MUST be designed for both the job and for each other.

Anything less is risky at best and suicidal at worst.
Spot on!

I have serious issues with thos sort of mentaility. Leaders need to lead, but at the same time, they do need to be accountable for their decisions and actions.
It might work for a barbeque grille fire.
Are you familiar with Gansner Packs in conjunction with progressive hose lays used by the USFS? We have Type III brush trucks and very seldomly did running attacks and when we did, we ensured firefighter safety by using both a front mounted and reel mounted hardline, high pressure hose line.

I would love to ask Chief Logic if he really considered that there is a big difference between hose line used to spray herbicides as advertised... Verses fire hose. My fire station for years was the hose repair station and even heavy duty cotton jacketed hose got munched pretty bad from contact with hot embers, burning things, bla, bla, bla... So we figured out years ago that red hard line was the best option... And it can get burned as well. And your chief wants you to use a hose for delivering pesticides?

As Ben mentioned, your department needs to address this by use of an apparatus committee. This is a safety issue, using something not designed for arduous firefighting. I would first make contact with the manufacturer, requesting a letter attesting to the safe use of the product during firefighting ops. I doubt you will get an endorsement, in fact they may caution you about using it. Couple this with a letter to the chief addressing this individuals poor judgement and lack of leadership. Putting firefighters in harms way is not in anyone's best interest.


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