We have received a lot of emails from people outside the fire department confused about what exactly a Quint is or does.
Lets define fire apparatus...
Fire engine- A fire engine is a piece of equipment that serves the purpose of providing water and hose lines. The main job of the engine company is to extinguish the fire.
Fire truck - A fire truck is a piece of equipment that serves the purpose of ventilating a fire, forcing entry to the property for the engine company and searching for victims of a fire.
Notice: No hose or pump. The truck company is a specialized job which requires years to master.
Rescue truck - In a traditional department, the rescue is a speciality piece which provides specialty operations, including vehicle extrication, dive/swift water rescue, high angle/trench rescue and hazmat operations.
In Richmond we currently run a Quint concept. A Quint is called a Quint because it can do five things
- Deploy a 75 to 105 Foot Aerial Ladder
- Pump water
- Carry hoses
- Carry a booster tank
- Carry ground ladders
The Quint concept was designed for the city as a cost saving measure by merging a traditional fire engine and fire truck as one piece. In theory you would always have the same piece of equipment responding to you for whatever emergency you have.
Notice the ladder on top with pump and hose.
In Richmond if there is a structure fire reported you will get: 5 Quints, 1 Rescue and 2 Battalion Chiefs.
In a traditional department if there is a structure fire reported you will get: 4 or 5 Engines, 1 or 2 Trucks and 1 or 2 Battalion Chiefs. (Response models vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.)
Some draw backs to this concept are:
- Quints are expensive, costing $200,000- $300,000 dollars more than other apparatus.
- Quints are large. In order for one piece to do two jobs, the piece needs to be much longer than a regular fire engine to hold the pump, water tank and ladders.
- Quint have a large repair cost to them. Simply to more stuff on a piece the more than can break and go wrong.
- Quints are heavy and are city streets are terrible. Station 5 in the city is the busiest with about 3,800 calls for service annually. This a tremendous amount of wear and tear to place on such a large unit.
- Quints make you a jack of all trade and a master of none. Firefighters usually move to a truck company after several years of service studying and mastering the job a truck company does. In Richmond you just become the truck company based on what order you are dispatched to a call.
The topic of the Quint concept is a tremendously large and heavily debated topic and is impossible to cover in one post. Hopefully this gave you a decent understanding on what a Quint is. If you have any questions please post them and we are sure you will be helped.