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NFPA MUST recognize the Exterior Fire Attack Position

Blanchat is currently working with the NFPA 1906 and 1500 committees to have the Exterior Fire Attack Position recognized in future versions of these standards as a safer method of fighting fast-moving fine fuel fires.


UPDATE: The Exterior Fire Attack Position has passed the 1906 committee and will be included in the 2016 NFPA 1906 standard! Additionally, the NFPA 1500 committee is just beginning to review possible revisions to the NFPA 1500 standard. What the NFPA 1500 committee needs most is to hear from you! Visit the NFPA 1500 page below to learn how you can submit your comments and recommendations.


NFPA 1906 info


NFPA 1500 info


Blanchat has been leading the charge to have the NFPA recognize the Exterior Fire Attack Position and has even been featured on the local news during one of the burn demonstrations with NFPA committee members. Featured news clip below.


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Go to the news page

The NFPA needs your input!

The NFPA 1500 committee needs to hear your input on why the Exterior Fire Attack Position is important in fine fuel areas! Unfortunately, you must do this via the NFPA website with a unique user name and password. We have created a step by step set of instructions to complete this process.


Input must be submitted by the deadline 5/16/2016.


Download instructions

Apparatus with an Exterior Fire Attack Position Currently on the Market

These pictures were taken at the TEEX Municipal Vendor Show in College Station, TX. All but two of these trucks have positions behind the cab. One truck has a position on the front bumper and one at the rear of the truck.


Current Manufacturers of an Exterior Fire Attack Position


Skeeter Brush Trucks (Kirby, Texas)





Wildfire Truck & Equipment Sales (Alvarado, TX)




Neel Fire (Waco, TX)



Midwest Fire (Luverne, MN)




Hays Fire & Rescue (Hays, KS)



Deep South Fire Trucks (Seminary, MS)



Emergency Fire Equipment (Mayfield, KS)



Maintainer Custom Bodies (Rock Rapids, IA)



Chief Fire & Safety (Chickasha, OK)



Danko Emergency Equipment (Snyder, NE)





Unruh Fire (Sedgwick, KS)




Weis Fire & Safety (Salina, KS)




1st Due (Bartlett, KS)



AMI-Fire Equipment (Brenham, TX)




Daco Fire Equipment (Fort Worth, TX)



Steele Fire Apparatus (Haskell, TX)




Turnkey Industries (Magnolia, TX)



Westex Fire (West, TX)



1st Attack (Waterloo, IN)



Metro Fire (Houston, TX)



Kyrish Government Group (Killeen, Texas)



Crow Construction (Cashion, OK)



J&J Custom Fire (Red Rock, OK)







Company Two Fire Apparatus (Varnville, SC)



Southeast Apparatus (Corbin, KY)



Pierce (Appleton, WI)



Cooper Creek Mfg (Loyal, OK)




Heiman Fire Equipment (Sioux Falls, SD)



Blanchat Manufacturing (Harper, KS)




If Blanchat is building 40 trucks per year with an exterior fire attack position, how many total trucks are being sold in North America with 29+ manufacturers selling the exterior fire attack position on their apparatus?


How many of these new exterior fire attack positions are sufficiently safe in the event of an impact or roll-over?

- Greg Blanchat


Abilene, TX roll-over

What Fine Fuel Firefighters Say

  • I'm a big proponent of having the firefighters on the truck and not on the ground. I personally had the experience of stepping into a deep hole during a fire a few years back, which could have been more serious that it was. I believe that the NFPA is correct in their rule for all firefighters to be belted in and inside of an enclosed cab, while the apparatus is in motion, but this is for pumpers and tankers only in my opinion. The biggest problem that I feel is that the people who serve on these committees that develop the standards that we use in the daily operations of the fire department are by some who have never pulled a heavy redline through thick brush and grass on a 100 degree day in East Texas.Hope this help to get them to make the right decision.

    Billy Gillam, Certification Coordinator / Training Officer
    Douglass VFD
    Douglass, TX

  • We operate 2 type 6 engines that have exterior fire fighting positions.Most of the 50 or so wildland fires we fight each year are done so from this positions. Prior to getting these apparatus in 2007, we operated with regular pickup trucks with a skid unit mounted in the bed. The exterior position is much less stressful on my crews than the walk along method. They do not have to run along side of a moving apparatus when encountering fast moving fires in light fuels. I feel that this is a much safer position than being on the ground do to the fast pace of this type of fire, it allows much better communication between the driver and hose man. I don't have to worry about my crews being run over during the frequent backing and turning operations. Our operators are trained to consider the hose man during operations and to not operate at a pace greater than needed. The hose man can assist the operator in navigating when needed to help avoid obstacles that are sometimes not seen by the person driving.

    Michael Harkey, Chief
    Caney VFD
    Caney, OK

  • In my 53 years (so far) of fire service, I have seen two changes, at least in the world of open dialog in field firefighting. We went from buckets and gunnysacks to walking with heavy rubber one inch booster line. From that point there has been little tactical dialog until now. In reality there has been change to riding grass rigs and using the remote cab operated nozzles which not all departments can afford when you consider many have bake sales for equipment.


    The unseen Elephant in the room is the crisis of finding young rural firefighters as rural areas lose population. It only stands to reason the field fires are more prevalent in rural areas. Thus, the manpower available are getting older and possibly not in the greatest of physical shape. You take what you can get. Field fires also are most prevalent in hot, dry weather. We cannot ask firefighters to carry a line a mile or two in hundred degree weather to put out a field fire, many of which come back green in the spring. Let us not forget the risk/reward factor.


    Having a safe firefighting position (at least we don’t straddle front end pumps anymore) with less physical exertion has become a “must”. That “must” needs to become a standard.

    Kenneth E. Leu, Fire Chief
    Harper VFD
    Harper, KS

  • I want to applaud you for spear heading the pump and roll method.


    Currently, I'm fighting a pretty nasty smoke inhalation injury for the past 5 months for being on the ground of a 80-100 acre brush fire with high wind conditions. I'm a career fire fighter and we were mutual aiding another fire district 20 miles away. Our grass fires maybe less than 1-5 acres, in a season. Therefore, High Risk, Low Frequency dropped me into that box of injury according to firefighterclosecalls.com


    Looking at pump and roll method would have either limited my exposure time to the smoke that was actually on the ground do to the height of the platform. I was on the ground parallel to the truck with the smoke swirling around me to the point that I could not see the truck that was 3 feet away from me on 3-4 occasions and becoming disoriented at times. I punched through it like the average fire fighter wanting to get the job done.


    Please when reviewing the pump and roll, the added benefit of not being closely exposed to the off gas of the wildland or brush smoke. As some studies have shown wild land smoke is worse than the typical structural fire fighting smoke.


    Lastly, as I was sucking on my nebulizer, I was watching CNN and Miami Dade had air packs (SCBA) donned with wildland PPE while on the ground fighting a grass fire. This would seem more reasonable as we don't go into structural fire fighting without the SCBA during offensive operations and we encourage SCBA use during salvage and overhaul. What is causing us not to require some type of breathing apparatus during those fires that are wide spread and thick in smoke coming from brush or wildland fires? We don't know what the farmer's or owners of properties have used chemicals or other waste products on their properities that are off gasing during an wildland incident.


    Thank you for your time and for reading my two cents.

    Bob Gosvener
    Owasso, OK
  • I am the secretary/treasurer and a 14-year member of the Kit Carson Volunteer Fire Department, established by the West Cheyenne Fire Protection District in 1983. Our department is located in Kit Carson, Colorado on the Eastern Plains in Cheyenne County. We are approximately 120 miles East of Denver, Colorado.


    Taking away the ability to pump and roll would eliminate our department’s ability to fight grass fires in our area. Our department NEEDS to have this capability, and we have spent a significant amount of time and money to ensure that we have it.


    To ensure the safety of our riders, we have replaced two beds on our attack trucks and purchased a brand new rescue/attack truck in 2009 from Blanchat Mfg. Since 2008, our district has spent a total of 6,000.00 in bringing our attack fleet to the safest level possible. This was due in part to NFPA and insurance mandates that no longer supported department built trucks, and they had to be constructed by NFPA certified builders, of which Blanchat is one. Both truck beds and the rescue truck utilize their BATROPS rider area to provide a safe, protected environment for a firefighter to ride in while fighting a grass fire on the Plains of Colorado. Being required to ride in the cab of a truck while fighting a grass fire would be both unsafe and provide very limited knockdown capability toward the fire. I have included with this letter, documentation that we received from Blanchat Mfg that defines the specifications of the safety area of the BATROPS used to house the exterior rider on an attack truck. Our department feels that this system gives us the best protection when engaging a fire in a pump and roll situation.


    Remote actuated nozzles do not provide the level of accuracy and control needed to safely engage an active burning grass fire. They are also very expensive to purchase, and require modifying existing connection layouts that were built specifically into the beds that we purchased. Grass fires fueled by high winds can change direction in an instant and the firefighter operating the nozzle on the back of the truck must be able to adjust to these changes instantly, and a remote nozzle does not give them that ability.


    Anyone familiar with the terrain and weather conditions in Eastern Colorado would agree that pump and roll capability and exterior riding position of a firefighter are MUST-HAVE NEEDS for any department. The most recent example of this was the Heartstrong Fire in Yuma County, Colorado in March of 2012. Fanned by 45-60 mph winds, the fire consumed 85 square miles before it could be contained. Fires created with this type of wind would be impossible to attack if a firefighter was in the cab of the truck or on the ground.


    Our department experienced this several years ago as well when a wind fueled fire burned over 10,000 acres of grassland 20 miles Southeast of Kit Carson on a cattle ranch. By utilizing the pump and roll capability and exterior riding position of our firefighters, we were able to contain the fire with no structures lost.


    The town of Karval, Colorado, in March 2011, was saved by the quick response of 10 firefighting agencies using pump and roll capability to attack a fast-moving grass fire that consumed 18 square miles and over 12,000 acres before it was contained. All of the responding agencies had some type of pump and roll and exterior riding firefighters to provide a fast and safe attack.


    These are just a few examples of the large grass fires that have occurred on the Eastern Plains in recent years. It does not include the hundreds of other smaller grass fires that started, but were able to be extinguished in a quick and safe manner before they become newsworthy.


    The property areas that we protect are not forest locations with high mountains and large groves of trees that prohibit access based upon terrain conditions. We are located in an area of flat ground, with minimal rolling hills that contain millions of acres of grass and farm ground.


    One of the pieces of information that I received concerning this ruling stated that fires should be fought from the ground, or cab of the truck. The logistics of fighting a grass fire on the Eastern Plains of Colorado on the ground would be absolutely impossible. The risk to the firefighters would be totally unacceptable, as they would be required to leave the mobility and safety of the truck, putting both the driver and the firefighter at risk, as well as having to fight off exhaustion and possible heat stroke. Our department requires our members to be in full bunker gear, coat, pants, boots, SCBA mask, helmet and gloves when riding on the exterior of the truck. By being off of the truck, the firefighter is limited to the amount of protection he can provide for the truck. By having the firefighter directly behind the cab, the driver knows at all times where that man is and does not have to worry about his location while on scene or in the event he needs to take evasive action in the event of an emergency.


    Once on scene at a grass fire, having an exterior riding firefighter and pump and roll significantly speeds up the attack time. Our department covers one half of Cheyenne County which equates to over 1,000 square miles within our district alone. We currently have 20 active members who are spread out over the county, and are an average of 10 to 25 miles away from the station when a page is received. By utilizing the pump and roll capability, we can have one or two trucks with 700 gallons of water on scene and putting out fires by the time reinforcement trucks arrive.


    As more and more of Colorado’s rural youth leave their home towns and do not return, and the overall populations in general are on a steady decline, the number of volunteers available to staff departments is on the decline. With more and more regulations being placed on departments, there are fewer and fewer people willing to put in the time away from family and jobs to provide firefighting protection to our rural plains properties. Without the safety and protection that the pump and roll capability of our attack trucks and the exterior riding position they provide, we put that property at an even bigger risk of loss.

    Monty J. Weeks, Secretary/Treasurer
    Kit Carson VFD
    Kit Carson, CO


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