Jeff, Question? Is it ever any concern to your dept when your the last truck on scene and being exposed to traffic at the rear??? I've never been around a rear mount pump so I dont know the ends and outs of the truck...
Terry the only thing I have found I didnt like about the top mount pump panel, is those overheads blinding the operators when there on scene...I have just told my guys to turn the overheads off when the front of the truck is facing the scene...Something I will be looking at here before soon is maybe changing out the lightbar and put something on where I can leave the overheads on toward the front but turn the rear half of the lightbar off...Any ideas on brands or makes or models of lights that would work well for this????
I'm in a volunteer department in the foothills of Colorado. It's a huge district (roughly 40 miles by 20 miles, surrounding other districts), at high altitude (most is 8-9,000' ASL). While there are three paved, two-lane highways, most of the roads are dirt, and driveways are typically long, one-lane affairs. It's heavily forested, as well. There are no stoplights, and we have two uncontrolled railroad crossings. We get most of our structure fires in the winter, when there's lots of snow and ice, and the driveway may not have been plowed.
Our department runs fifteen trucks, five that I would call attack engines. We have a "pump truck" that's not a pumper, but is rolled for water supply. It's a huge diesel pump (used to be the sprinkler pump in a multi-story hotel) mounted on a flatbed truck. With virtually no hydrants in the district, we drive the pump truck to one of the creeks, and use it to fill tenders. The tenders go to nearby cisterns first, but the pump truck extends that capability.
The result of all that is that the longer length is a big issue for us. The pumpers are rarely staged on the road at a fire. We do what we call a "rural hitch". We drop a Siamese on a 2½" line at the mailbox, and drive up to the house. Then water supply sets up at the mailbox. There usually isn't enough room up near the house to turn tenders around, and why waste the time driving a tender further if you can pump instead? In winter, those problems are squared in difficulty. One of the towns that we surround has a top mount in their department, and I have seen the advantages, in the right situations. We rarely encounter those situations on our calls.
So, the answer, as usual, is "it depends". The right tool for the job is usually the best answer. In our conditions, I can't imagine a top mount working well. In Manhattan, I can't imagine a side mount working well.
Our last two purchases were of top-mount pumpers, and we will never buy another truck any other way. Top-mount gives the operator a great field of view, and keeps them off the road during highway operations.
The FMO has a hell of a lot more to do than stand up in the wind playing king of the hill. The FMO has no business watching the fire, no time for this, no business second guessing whats going on, he has drains to monitor in the winter, air packs to change out from time to time, and should be watching the engine gauges and monitoring the engine, taking orders from an officer via radio. If I was running one of these, and I have only run one once, putting it in service, the sun was bright on the dam angled pump panel and I was blinded, I had to look over the side of the dam thing to see what color tab was the hose connected to. My legs were so tired from jumping up and down , of course Im near 70 years.
These little bottom feeding companies have wringers that go around putting screwey ideas in the heads of the dumb asses that never go much to fires and this thing has gone through the fire service from town to town like the spanish flue.
Look at FDNY and DC , do they have junk like this????
WOW.....Playing king of the hill? Are you serious.....We run all top mount (excluding our platform and squirt) I can agree with some of your points, but i will have to say being able to survey the whole scene is a great thing. Its all about what works for that specific dept. Now i may be wrong but your last comment about companies putting ideas ideas is the "heads of dumb asses" was way out of line. Calling top mounts junk!!!!! I think not.....Then trying to Compare FDNY and DC to the rest of the country in how THEY spec their apparatus......You said you have only run a top mount once? Like i said in the beginning, its all about specific depts and what they find best for them. I have seen many volunteer depts that spec top mount for the fact that the pump opperator is sometimes the only one left outside due to member response issues so he has to be the one watching the scene. Not and easy task with a side mount where your either on the opposite side of have your back to the fire.
We run side panels on the pumpers at both stations in our department.
Some of the departments in our mutual aid district run top panels and they are going back to side panels. Mainly due to vehicle length and difficulty getting into tight areas, but also to eliminate the need to climb up top.
I always figured top-mount would be the way to go for visibility, but it wouldn't be great for our station, since we may only have 3-4 guys show up when the pagers go off. The pump operator sometimes has to do other jobs and a top-mount would mean a lot of climbing up and down.
well i am too young to be a pump operator but i like the side mounts becuase of the classic look to them but the top mount i safer. i think it is pierce that offers a top mount pump that only goes halfway on the drivers side of the truck. sometimes i think that top mount pumps offer limited seating and leg room in the aperatus.