LUKE YOU SAY YOUR GETTING A 3500 GALLON TANKER... WHAT MAKE AND MODEL IS IT...I'VE SEEN A FEW OF THAT SIZE AND LARGER RUNNING AROUND IN THIS AREA..THE ONLY THING THAT HAS CONCERNED ME AS A CHIEF AND KEPT ME FROM BUYING ONE WAS THE WEIGHT AND WHAT MY LOWEST TONNAGE ON MY BRIDGES IN MY AREA ARE...ITS HARD FOR ME TO JUSTIFY AND THE RISK OF HAVING A FIRE IN OR AROUND THOSE BRIDGES THAT I WOULD HAVE TO DRIVE THAT SIZE OF APPARATUS OVER...BUT KUDO'S TO YOU BROTHER AND BE SAFE OUT THERE...
Top mount, side,and rear panels all have their advantages and disadvantages. Being around a lot of different types of trucks along with operating them brings me to the conclusion that Top mount would be my preference. Becoming a quality operator means you need to be familiar and able to complete your task of supplying water from all types of pump types and panel locations.
all our pump panels are side panels so you tend to become accustomed to what you have. The main reason for this is to cut down on the overall length of the rigs.
We have both types in our department. I personally prefer the top mount, and as everyone else said, for visability reasons, and your up and away from charged hose lines, that can rupture under pressure. When I run the side mount, I'm always sneaking from one end of the engine or the other to have a peak, checking on the progress, or checking for possible blown lines. Another thing I like with the top mount is, I can hear better standing up there VS standing next to an operating pump. I do agree with every one else's replys, these are just my findings.
We have all top mounts, but I have worked both and like the top mounts. Here in the northeast we get ice 'from time to time' (like September to May) and the issue with trip fall on the top mount goes away when you consider all the ice that develops around the operator's feet on a side mount. Also, we don't always have the rig pointed in the 'proper direction' when we arrive on the scene so the top mount allows you a view on either side of the truck no matter which way it came into the scene. In doing roadside calls it allows you to watch traffic and give directions to folks looking for equipment on either side. One other thing I like about the top side: we have had a few calls in the dark where we have been searching the roadsides (drop-offs, deep embankments, ravines, etc.) for a patient (drunk) thrown from a vehicle. Those top mounts make a neat (safe) platform to run the nightfighter lights from and sweep the woods looking for 'stuff' as the rig creeps down the road. We use that feature more than you might think. One downside of the top mounts we have is that your are eye to eye with the lightbar on the cab, so if you need to look forward you gotta shut the lights off, and we work in the traffic a lot so we don't like doing that. Also if you are at a long incident, those flashing/rotating lights make you go nuts after an hour or two.
Your milage may vary,
We purchased our first top mount in 1990. Our main reason for going with one was for the visibility it affords the operator. We had a 1970 Ford cabover with a walkway behind the jumpseat and a side mount pump and usually stood on the walkway to see what was going on. That was why we went top mount. We have bids out right now for a second top mount. I don't think we will ever go back to a side mount. We are rural and the length was a concern, but 4 Guys were able to put a lot of truck in a relatively short package.
TOM THATS A GOOD POINT I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT ABOUT THE RED OR BLUES BEING IN YOUR FACE ALL THE TIME....DO YOU GET MUCH REFLECTION OFF THE PUMP PANEL FROM THE LIGHTBAR??? THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING TO THANK ABOUT ON HAVING A TOP MOUNT PUMP PANEL...GOOD INSIGHT AND STAY SAFE BROTHER....
I'm a pump operator on our Side Mount Pump Panel, but the down side to a side mount, is you can not see every thing around you. I like the top mount when I can use it. But either way, they both pump about the same.
My department has had a little of everything. We had a pumper tanker with a front mount pump, 2 engines with side mount pumps and we currently have an engine with a top mount enclosed pump panel. Our current arsenal consists of the top mount enclosed pump engine, 1 side mount engine, and 1 side mount pumper/tanker. We prefer the side mounts because as someone already said, being in a rural community we need to keep our trucks short. Also, we use the strength of the full body/chassis to our advantage. We carry as much water as possible with one engine hauling 1000 gallons, the second engine hauling 1500 gallons, and the tanker hauling 2500 gallons. I have been around all of them and in my opinion, i prefer the side mount pump.
I've worked with both types of setups. I do agree that the top mount does provide more safety and a better view of the fireground. The department I work for currently, has side mounted pump panel. I like this setup because it keeps you closer to all of your connections. Instead of climbing up onto the panel and then having to get down to make a plug connection or a two and half connection, you're already right there. You can also clear the the hose bed of the pre-connects quicker also. They both have thier perks, tough to say which I like better.