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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 agree that a change needs to be made. As a volunteer fire fighter it is not ideal to walk beside a truck. There are many risk factors to that if the smoke is heavy enough the fire fighter walking could be seriously injured by the driver a long with many other possibilities. I believe a roll cage added to a wildland apparatus is entirely the way to go. It will be safer and faster to allow this change. Please understand when you are out there putting your life on the line anything to limit accidents should be considered.

    Tyler Schrant
    Oklahoma Volunteer FF
  • It has been brought to my attention that NFPA is again about to discuss the subject of firefighters being permitted to ride on fire trucks while fighting fine fuel fires.


    Although equipment such as remote controlled nozzles have aided in fighting this type of fire there is nothing that can replace a firefighter for this job. When fighting a grass or crop fire in our area of north west Kansas we regularly encounter winds of ten to forty miles an hour. This makes it impossible for even a young athletic firefighter to be able to "walk" beside a truck and fight fire, and due to a lack of younger people in our areas many of our firefighters are no longer young. Our concern for firefighter safety is much greater regarding the possibility of heart attacks and heat related illness that for the much less likely event of vehicle rollover.


    It is also a concern that someone walking beside a truck when it is possible may trip and fall under the tires of the moving truck or be injured in some other way. Being onboard will also allow a quick exit of both truck and crew from the area if conditions require it.


    Being able to ride on the truck also allows the firefighter and the driver to stay in communication with each other . This cannot be done if the firefighter is off at a distance trying to drag a hose.


    I strongly believe that decisions on matters such as this should be made made by those who are familiar with the job to be done. I can only imagine the reaction if a group of firefighters from northwest Kansas would set out to write standards for fighting fires in buildings of over one hundred stories.

    Bruce Lemon
    Osborne Rural Fire District #1
    1977 to Present
  • Being 58 years old and having been a volunteer for 22+ years I totally agree with you on the issue of being able to ride ON the truck rather than walking along the side or behind. I absolutely hate driving a squad at a grass fire with a fellow firefighter walking somewhere beside my truck- not knowing exactly where he is at all times and fearing that I might run over him. I also agree with the fast moving grass fire being uncontrollable with the walk along method. Good luck in your effort to change the "good old ways" of fighting wildland fires and hopefully we can move on to the 21st Century.

    Joel Fischer, Secretary
    Tullahassee, OK
  • I have been a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years and fire chief for 14 of those years. Our fire district is in the middle of the sand hills of Nebraska. It covers over 1,300,000 acres of mostly fine fuel grasses. Our fires can burn miles in a short time. in 1999 one fire burned over 25 miles in less than 10 hours. Totaling 72,000 acres taking 30 hours to put out. In saying all this there is no way that we can effectively put our fires out without riding on trucks. If we put a team of trucks together we can knock down fire at 5 to 8 miles per hour. If we had to walk beside trucks we would never be able to keep up with our fires. I think that fine fuels and forests should be in different classifications and can have different standards. We would not be able to get people to volunteer if they had to walk and put out fires.

    Dan Daly, Fire Chief
    Mullen VFD
    Mullen, NE
  • I understand that the NFPA is in the process of considering changes to 1906 section 14.4 standards (Exterior Attack Fire Position) that would allow for a pump and roll fire attack position on wildland fire engines. I have had wildland fire experience since 1959 both on the ground and as a T2 Incident Commander. I was a District Ranger for the USDA Forest Service for 25 of those years. During all of that time I have dug fire line, ran fire crews, operated fire engines, managed Incident Overhead Teams and worked with co-operating agencies, including volunteer fire departments. Fire fighter safety was always my top consideration. That is why I feel so strong that what you are considering must addressed. I would make the following comments for your consideration.


    Presently we have wildland fire engines that can drive up the road with the crew in the cab and set up to pump water to a fire or let someone walk along with the engine. That is good for that kind of a fires. But in the great Plains and other areas with fine fuels we need a different fire engine, that can pump and roll, that is built with safety standards and improved efficiency for fast moving wildfires. Most of this need is not meet with State or Federal agencies but with rural volunteer fire departments. An example is the State of Kansas which has 50 million acres of which 95% of all land is protected by rural volunteer fire departments.


    A number of people have been working on this issue of standard changes for a number of years. It is time to get the job done and make the needed safety changes. In the last three years I have seen a lot of fire engines being purchased by fire districts and counties that have the behind the cab walk through design but they do not have the safety features needed to protect the fire fighter. They are lacking the ROPS and other standards needed for safety. Fire fighters know the value of the design changes you are considering. Now NFPA needs to set the standards so vehicles will be built and used properly and safely.


    I have talked with fire fighters who work on the ground and a large number of them agree it is time to make some changes for the safety of the fire fighter working on the engines with fast moving fires in fine fuels. Sticking the nozzle out the cab window is not the answer. The proposed new standards being considered would make for a safe fire attack position on a fire engine and would allow for a behind cab, ROPS with stand-up/sit down, walk through access and proper safety harness.


    The fire fighters on the ground are asking for and deserve this change. Let us move forward to a safe future while building on the past.

    Joe F. Hartman
    USDAFS - Retired


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