Cantankerous Wisdom: Raisins, Rear Ends, and Grab Handles


By Bill Adams

Catchy title, eh? This isn’t about the Raisin Squad having morning coffee watching joggers running by the station. I showed the Squad some photos taken at FDIC International of the working ends of pumpers and the general use of and lack of grab handles. Some observations of the not-your-primetime players have merit, reinforcing my prior rantings that climbing onto a rig to get a primary piece of equipment is unsafe. And, when climbing on or off of a rig with a piece of equipment you should always have one hand for me and one hand for thee. Looking at grab rails on a blue print doesn’t always reflect real life. A purchasing specification is almost useless when it only says “there shall be one horizontal hand rail below the hosebed and one vertical handrail on each side.” (Disclaimer: Some of the photos are of apparatus not yet delivered, hence not all grab rails may be installed.) The captions are paraphrased from the white hairs’ comments.

In Section 15.8, The National Fire Protection Association NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, addresses Access Handrails or Handholes. Sentence 15.8.5 is—in my simple mind—important. It says: Handrails and handholds shall be constructed so that three points of contact (two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet) can be maintained at all times while ascending and descending.” It does not say anything about carrying equipment and maintaining the three points of contact. Can you? Should you? Do you have to? It’s nap time—later.

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