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From the Rasisin Squad: "Whadda ya supposed to hang on to?" The only help-me-get-up hand rail is the lighted one on the entrance to the chassis cab.
From the Raisin Squad: "How long before someone bends that pole?" The vertical hand rail to the right of the crosslays will help accessing and reloading the preconnect. The telescoping light pole may not last too long if used as a hand rail.
A vertical rail between the crosslays and the tank level gauge may not be a bad idea. Remember, if a hand rail is not in your purchasing specifications, it does not exist. Be fair to vendors—don’t try to beat them up for something you forgot to write in your specs.
Another telescoping light pole that could be subjected to a stress test by a 200+ pound firefighter in a hurry. The horizontal rail at the top of the pump panel will help once you get onto the running board. From the Raisin Squad: "What are you supposed to use to pull yourself up?"
Besides the grab rail on the chassis cab, there isn’t anything to hang onto or to help get onto this rig when accessing the crosslays. Hand hole cut outs in the bed dividers might help a little—if they were specified. From the Raisin Squad: "Maybe the pump operator will help you up."
The horizontal rail at the top of the panel might too high to reach for a firefighter’s initial pull-up to get on the running board. A rail below the horizontal treadplate step could help. I’m not in favor of using fold-down steps as hand rails—even if that particular type were specified. And, it might be hard to climb up without banging the side of your head on that horizontal treadplate step. Wear your helmet.
This tanker has a permanent ladder at the rear. I prefer that to folding steps. From the Raisin Squad: "What are you supposed to grab onto when you get to the top of the ladder? There ain’t nothing there."
This rig has hand rails on top of each hosebed cover, below each hosebed, on the intermediate step and a vertical one on each side. And, it’s got a good size rear step. It looks easy to work off of.
This pumper has decent length vertical rails and a full width one below the hosebed. The two grab handles on the top of the hosebed on each side help in crawling on top. Firefighters near retirement age will appreciate them. From the Raisin Squad: "Well, they coulda put them hand holes in the bed dividers. "
Besides the access ladder, there are eight hand rails on this sled. Somebody was thinking ahead. From the Raisin Squad: "It wouldn’t have hurt to put a second ladder on the right side."
The seven rails on this rig are well placed and appear to be functional. What is the difference between a grab rail and a hand rail? When specifying them, the length is just as important as the location. A manufacturer’s interpretation of full length and full width may not be what the fire department expects or thinks it will receive.
Another rig with grab handles on top of the hosebed side sheets. Oversize hand-hole cut outs were specified on the hosebed dividers. There are various manufacturers of fold-down steps with different sizes and some with hand holes. Do your specifications just say: “One (1) folding step shall be supplied on...”?
These are the first “contoured” hand-hole cut outs I’ve seen on hosebed dividers. It’s a good idea. I wonder how to specify them? The extra grab rails on the access ladder is another good idea.
The old timers really like those top side grab rails. A couple of the white hairs asked if the flood, scene, and warning lights would blind you. I told them only at night and only if you looked directly at them. One raisin said they would only blind you on the way up. Are nine (9) folding steps equal in cost to one (1) access ladder?
A couple of the guys said it’s the first time they’ve seen the American flag on the back of a rig. One old timer (United States Army draftee) said: "I would rather follow the American flag down the street than see it coming after me." He has a point. I think I’ll go look for my dog tags and fondle them.