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.
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.
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.
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
What Fine Fuel Firefighters Say
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.
As Chief of an all volunteer F.D. serving an area of approximately 50 sq. miles in west central Douglas County, KS I firmly support provisions for an exterior FF position for fine fuel fires. An appropriately engineered design will allow us to better serve our jurisdiction. Over 40% of our responses result from agricultural burns that get out of control. We have tried a remote control turret and found that to be less useful than expected. It required significant custom fabrication and is very hard to control. A single FF with a .75" whip line is far more effective. Many on my department have suffered undue heat stress, trips and snags while dragging a hose line in a fast moving ground cover fire. We NEED a more practical and SAFE solution as we continue to loose volunteers!
Duane Filkins, Fire Chief
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.
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.
Osborne Rural Fire District #1
1977 to Present
I've got a great helmet cam video of a fast attack from this position.
The following video shows a fast attack on the south end of a grass fire in butler county ks. These fires are common in our area and when driven by the wind can run quite fast. One structure was endangered and the fireground was split by a fence. One duplicate grass truck was north of the fence with the endangered home and this unit was the south. With two firefighters per grass rig, the fire was controled in a quarter of the time it would of taken walking alongside the rig.
Rose Hill, KS