FR1 community: 4 tips for quints

A Tenn. fire union opposes decommissioning trucks in favor of adding quints. The union says that quints are not the truck of the future, but when we put the question to our Facebook fans, many of you said that quints aren't necessarily a bad truck -- so long as they're used properly. Here are some common-sense tips you gave us for making the most out of your quint. Give us your perspective in the comments!

1. Take care of your quint, and it will take care of you.

"You have to maintain the quint as well as certifying the aerial (not cheap). If you have the resources and the money, then it is a great idea: More manpower on scene and any unit can operate as a truck company." - Jimmy Oglesby

"Our quint at my department is run solely as an engine company unless our aerial is out of service. The quint is getting close to 10 years old, and maintenance has started becoming a major issue for the truck. We spoke to the manufacture about the issue and were informed that their quints were not designed for busy engine company use, like running continuous EMS calls." - Jason Parker

2. Staff your quint adequately.

"The problem with quints is they are never staffed properly. They require six people to complete both truck and hose team work. At most you get 4, and then the crew really cannot be effective in delivering both tasks." - Jeff Toronjo

"Quints are good if you either have no staffing or have enough staffing to put six on the quint. Then if you want to use the ladder and the pump, you will need two operators. Now with only four, you have to decide what two tasks to do: Vent, search or attack. It's a manpower-intensive unit that usually only gets 2-4 firefighters." - Travis Bearden

3. Use your quint as either an engine or a ladder, not both on the same call.

"Do step work, or do pipe work. Don't mix it together. Quints are a compromise to get you to do more with less people, but that kind of "politician thinking" gets firefighters planted." - Nicholas Lemek

"Go for the quint. Run it as an engine or truck company. It's great for pumping water like an engine and great for truck company operations. The only downfall is most quints don't have very much water on them, so hydrants or tankers-tenders, whatever you prefer, are needed." - Logan Laidacker

"As long as you realize that on the scene you are working as either an engine or a truck, the quint is the way to go. You just can't try to be both at the same time. When I have my choice as to which piece I ride, it's the quint, hands-down." - Charles Engel

"The quint concept works when it is put in place properly. My department has many quints, and they work out well. The places that need true engine companies still have them and the same with our ladder companies. Typically we run a quint as an engine, and our ladders do truck work. I would rather have traditional engine and ladder companies, but these trucks work well." - Mak Kelsay

4. Know your quint's limitations.

"I like the quint concept. We only have 14 guys per shift, and that gives us four on the engine (quint), four on rescue and two on the medic. Our other station brings the other quint with four. The only downside I find is the lack of water: We only carry 340 gallons. Every piece has its place." - Jason Fenstermaker

"The Quint concept has worked for St. Louis City for numerous years and should be looked on as a model on how to use this concept. It does not decrease manpower but adds. A full first brings four quints, squad and a H&L with BC. You have your assignments at time of dispatch, and everyone knows what their truck is doing en route. You have exposure protection and ability for rescue without compromising fire attack or apparatus. Downfall: Costly to run for EMS, and your people better know why the hell they are doing that. It's fantastic for bigger cities." - Kevin Knight

"I like quints. They're an affordable all-purpose truck; however, they're not for everybody. Even though a quint has the capability of doing five essential tasks, it's still not going to have the pumping capacity of a true pumper tanker, it won't have the full tool capacity of a truck/aerial, it won't have the tank capacity of a tanker, and it won't replace ambulances with its medical capabilities. But that does not mean it's not a decent vehicle. The quint is a great concept for small towns where one company is all you have and you need to perform all of the above tasks on a basic level. In larger cities and some towns, you may have multiple companies where each company sticks to its own particular task." - Brad Hibbard

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