As a jack of all trades, quints bring a lot of different capabilities to your fire department. But making sure you’re adding the right used fire truck to your fleet, at the right time, and for the right reason, is important. A good fleet is about more than just the sum of its parts. You want to ensure the fire trucks you own are complementary, and above all: specifically tailored to your local needs.
Quints can be a great piece of that collective puzzle. If you’re trying to pick the right previously owned fire truck – and considering a quint – for your fire department, ask yourself these five questions to help make the best choice:
1. How often will the quint operate at a fire by itself?
A lot of fire departments like the immediate action a quint can bring. You can use the pump and tank right away while putting the ladder up. Figuring out how often your quint will be first on the scene, operating without the tools the ladder truck offers, can help you figure out of it’s the right way to build out your fleet. If what you really need is more access to storage for other equipment, a quint might not be the best next step.
2. What else is in your fleet – and will that change any time soon?
A quint may very well be the jack of all fire truck trades. But which vehicles in your fleet bring the “master of one element” to the scene? Anytime you invest in a previously owned fire truck, it’s important to take a look at the big picture. What else is in your fleet and, even more importantly, how long of a life do those vehicles have left? If the flexibility of the quint dovetails well, and empowers your fire department with the right tools for the foreseeable future, it could be one of the wisest decisions you’ll make.
3. How much water can a given quint pump?
Capacity, capacity, capacity. It’s everything. Think through the gallons per minute you’ll need to pump with the previously owned quint you choose. Factor in which trucks will be first on the scene, and what each will be doing at the time. Don’t forget to consider access to water in your area. How rural are you? What’s the hydrant coverage like? Do the math before you invest in your next previously owned fire truck, quints included.
4. What’s the infrastructure like in your area?
Multi-tasking is a quint’s superpower. That also means it’s moving quite a load. When you invest in a quint, you’ll be carrying a pump and tanker everywhere you go (and the greater the pump capacity, the heavier you’ll be). Making sure the local infrastructure (think roads, bridges, etc.) can handle this newly acquired used fire truck is essential.
5. Do the road rules change by the season?
Ice, snow, rain, floods. If the spring thaw is a big factor in your area, you’ll want to confirm the seasonal road weight restrictions before you invest in a previously owned fire truck like a quint. If your quint will be sidelined from certain scenes at points of the year, you’ll need a plan for how the rest of the fleet will compensate. Knowing the details before you purchase a used fire truck like this will ensure your fire department is truly ready for anything.