THATS GOOD STUFF GUYS, BUT HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER HAD ON SCENE INJURIES, CLIMBING ONTO AND OFF THE TRUCK FROM YOUR OPERATORS, OR EVER THOUGHT OF BEING THE TALLEST OBJECT ON THE TRUCK DURING A LIGHTING STORM ON A STRUCTURE FIRE, OR THE REFLECTION YOU GET REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE SUN IS AT IN A DAY OF LONG TERM FIRE OPERATIONS...KEEP EM COMING BROTHERS, THIS IS A GOOD REVIEW...
Our department purchases only side mount pumps for several reasons. 1) being in the northeast the chance of a slip and fall when gettting on or off the panel is a major concern. 2) we make up lines as needed at many fires (instead of using preconnects) this requires the operator to get up and down alot and they are not able to pay attention to the lines in use when they are not near the panel. 3) additional costs 4) additonal length to our rigs. due to some narrrow roads and subdivisions longer rigs cannot manuever or turn onto some of the smaller roads. although the drawback of being on the roadside is present, we shut down roadways for our operations better to upset the traveling public than injure or kill a firefighter.
Iam on 2 departments and have operated both style engines. I can say that they both have many advantages and disadvantages. A top mount pump is great for being able to view a fire scene, you can keep an eye on more of your truck (what lines are getting hooked up where, what equipment is coming off). The issue of safety regarding a slip and fall is a valid issue although I have never witnessed this or had it happen to me in the 10 yrs I have operated a top mount engine. One disadvantage as already mentioned is the fact you are always exposed to the elements be it the sun, wind, rain, snow, your sitting up exposed to it all. The side mount pumps IF positioned correctly at a fire scene are nice for being off the roadway and not on the apparatus should something happen. The biggest disadvantage to the side mount is the lack of visibility the operator has of the scene and the truck. The other major issue with the side mount pump is if parked correctly at a fire scene(pump panel curb side facing the scene) you cant see the suction on the passenger side of the truck for drafting. Now those with a municipal water supply dont have this worry but if your in a rural setting like myself this is a major concern for not only keeping an eye on the water level in the drop tank but also for training pump operators to listen to the pump sounds when drafting and anyone with experience can tell you its not always an easy thing to teach some people. The top mount pump allows the engineer to see both sides for drafting and allows for easier operation of the butterfly valves when making the switch from a static water supply to the trucks tank during operation. Just a few of the things I have noticed in my years of operating both styles of pump mounts.
I prefer top mount as well. 1) I'm out of the roadway (I'm sure we've all had run-ins with that impatient person who has to ignore the emergency scene. 2) I can see whats going on in the hot zone. 3) The engine noise seems to be less noticeable allowing me to hear the rig as well as read my gauges. 4) If there is catastrophic failure of a charged hose, intake or discharge I'm not in it's path (we had an incident where this happened years ago with a 5" stortz coupling hit a Captain in the face while connecting supply. it was charged as he connected it). I do agree with slip and fall hazards point but 90% of the time i use the provided handles and steps.Just to name a few
You can see the fireground no matter what side of the rig it is on.
You are up out of the roadway if some numb-skull makes it past the barricades.
Easy and most times safer operation of a deck gun.
Easy to go to either side of rig if you need to get something out or show someone where a tool is.
You can quickly see what is wrong and start corrective actions if a hose blows.
Usually much easier to load crosslays.
A biotch to get on if you are short.
Increased slip risk in snow and ice.
Adds length to a rig.
You are on one side and the fire is on the other if your luck is like mine.
Crosslays require a lot more climbing to load.
Deck Gun requires climbing to operate unless you have a remote.
You are on the roadway for the drunk that just bashed your barricades to hit.
You can not see the discharges/intakes on the other side from where you are so you are more dependant on technology to let you know there is a problem.
If you had not guessed, I love top mount. Unfortunately I have a side mount where I am at now and miss my old top mount. I have seen one person slip getting on the rig in the rain, but that person has a history of slips, trips, and falls on level dry ground.