By Ricky Riley
Departments across the country have numerous ways that they store and deploy their handlines. One of the most common ways for a majority of departments is to carry attack lines as crosslays. This is usually two storage beds with a discharges supplied to each one, where firefighters deploy the line from either side of the apparatus just behind the cab and above the fire pump.
A number of companies have been deleting the crosslays from the build when they are in the design phase for their new apparatus and replacing them with storage areas. These areas provide a great storage space for some long and bulky equipment, which is always a concern for managing space on your apparatus. But, remember that this option of deleting the crosslays has to operationally fit your response area and positioning of the rigs on firegrounds. This is now going to force the department to either run all the lines off the rear of the apparatus or the front bumper. When choosing to delete crosslays, drivers and officers will need to refocus on rig positioning to allow for the easy deployment of these lines. But they also must be concerned with how this positioning will now affect access for additional apparatus and truck companies.
By creating this storage space, it is readily available for storing high-rise packs or hose racks. This compartment can keep these hose bundles out of the weather and dirt, keeping the nozzles and couplings free of debris and dirt grit that can easily clog nozzles. Only a firefighter’s imagination will keep him from using this space to its fullest. If the equipment you are going to carry is not that tall, then add a shelf in the compartment to get full use out of it.
Depending on the length of the equipment to be carried, a divider could be placed in the area to make the equipment removable from just one side. This would be handy for smaller tools or bags you may need to carry and will prevent them from sliding back and forth in this area. Depending on your manufacturer, the doors on this compartment will probably not be the full-thickness doors you would normally have on the compartments on the side of the apparatus. They may need to be reinforced on the back side of the door wall, and latches and handles may be of a slightly lower beefiness than other latches.
This area can also be used to store emergency medical services (EMS) equipment and long backboards that many departments are carrying now to meet the demands of the EMS component of our jobs. Once again departments are only limited by their own imaginations when designing this compartment.
Also included in the photo gallery are pictures of apparatus with myriad compartments around the pump house and crosslay area, demonstrating the resourcefulness and ideas that some customers have brought to the table.
As always, thank you for reading this article and thank you to Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment for the opportunity to share some of the ideas and stuff we get to see on apparatus across the country. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TTCombatReady.
RICKY RILEY is the fire apparatus manager for the Prince George’s County (MD) Fire/EMS Department. He previously served as the Operations Chief in Clearwater, Florida, and as a firefighter for Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue. He also currently serves as the rescue-engine captain at the Kentland (MD) Volunteer Fire Department. He is a member of the editorial advisory board of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment.