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Fire Engines Photos

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Plaistow Fire Station 1960s West Ham Fire Brigade
Fire Engine Photos
No: 36511   Contributor: Petros   Year: 1963   Manufacturers: Dennis, Merryweather   Country: United Kingdom
Plaistow Fire Station 1960s West Ham Fire Brigade

right to left: 1959 AEC Merryweather ET NJD999;1960 AEC Merryweather TLP TAN149; 1951 Dennis F12 EAN105; 1961 Dennis F26 VAN819; 1952 Dennis F12 EJD 694. All of these appliances passed to London on reorganisation in April 1965.

photo courtesy London FB.
Picture added on 11 November 2013 at 08:13
add commentComments:

Added by Kyle on 11 November 2013.
How many men would of manned each appliance?

Added by Danny Jones on 12 November 2013.
From the book 'Arson About' detailing the West Ham Brigade during this period I would say 4-6 on the ET, 2-3 on the TL, 4-5 on the PE and 3 riding the Pump. Pretty much the same as London in the 60's.

Added by Kyle on 13 November 2013.
I've never heard of 3 crew riding a pump !

Added by Rick Loudon on 14 November 2013.
A crew of 3 is quite common here in the US. Not the best of staffing, but finances dictate those levels. Also, with volunteers being hard to come by, the staffing levels in the VFDs is also around 3. I'm in my 50th year of active Fire Service and the situation isn't getting any better.

Added by John Harris on 15 November 2013.
I should have added the UK !

Added by Rick Loudon on 15 November 2013.
Kyle, Rick is correct, a crew of three is not the norm and indeed is frowned on these days, what with health and safety and all the other red tape! You can book out and I have done with a crew of three but it's called super numery. This means another machine will be mobilised to make up for your shortage of crew.

Added by Matt Ireland on 15 November 2013.
Most European fire services run units with three-member crews only on AFA, service and nuisance fire calls. These are usually "minor alarm" trucks or light pumpers, not designated for serious structure fire fighting.

The general - but not completely universal- SOP is to send a minimum of two pumpers and an aerial truck to structure fires, plus a command vehicle and an ambulance in most countries, with a total response varying from at least 12 to 16 personnel.

The US NFPA recommendation is also for a minimum of 16 firefighters to attend a structure fire, but many departments fall well short of these numbers. On the other hand, city center hi-rise first response in cities like Chicago and New York is normally around 35 to 40 people. (Four engines, two aerials, chief, safety officer, rescue and/or hi-rise unit and often an ambulance.)

Individual pumpers are rarely specified these days to accommodate more than six crew in any country. This is a very different story from the 1990s, when many European countries carried eight or nine firefighters on a single pump.

I think the Netherlands is now the only place where pumpers are routinely specified with seven seat crew cabs, and they do crop up occasionally in the US, amongst a few well-staffed volunteer fire companies.

Added by Rob Johnson on 15 November 2013.
How do they know when turning out that the incident is a definate false alarm ?

Added by Rick Loudon on 16 November 2013.
In most European fire services the municipal or regional emergency dispatch center decides what unit or units are turned out. Dispatch personnel are often very well trained, and some services are able to filter out a high percentage of calls.

The response to an Automatic Fire Alarm is determined by the nature of the building, the location, the time of day, the presence of sprinklers, the probability of people being on the premises and the previous record of the same alarm system and its rate of "fail-safe" false alarms. The vast majority of AFAs are sent a minor alarm response unit or a light pumper, with a crew of two to four personnel.

Almost all AFA call-outs are false alarms, and these are reported by some services as high as 98% of all automatic alarms. The remainder are mainly small incipient fires - which are often already contained by sprinkler or other automatic suppression systems. Fire services in major European cities now often treat AFAs as being presumptive false alarms, as they very rarely result in a full first alarm assignment of firefighters and equipment being required.

In recent years, Greater Manchester has responded to AFA calls with one four-man pump, and this must not utilize blue lights or sirens when responding. The result has been no increased incidence of working fires, but there has been a 30% reduction in road traffic incidents involving appliances en route to calls, with fewer consequential firefighter and civilian injuries.

I remember in 1964 Assembrooke's Hospital installed the first AFA system in Cambridge. The local fire service learned very quickly to send a single pump with four crew instead of the normal full turn-out, as the AFA went off literally two or three times a day! During the years I lived in Cambridge, there was one actual fire at the hospital. This was in a garbage can, outside the building, and not announced by the AFA system!

In Chicago, where I live now, the dispatch center reconfirms all AFA calls with the building staff, before sending a full first alarm assignment. If they are unaware of any fire situation, the local station responds with one engine and one ladder. A first alarm assignment includes four engines, two ladders, a rescue truck, a snorkel, a batallion chief, a deputy chief, a safety officer, a hi-rise unit, an ambulance and between two and four police cars.

I would note that in addition to my comment about modern pumping appliances' crew accommodations, German volunteer fire companies are also still buying some nine seater pumps, although many of them struggle to get nine members to man them when the call comes in.

Added by Rob Johnson on 16 November 2013.
I meant when this photo was taken back in the 60's West Ham and the LFB had three riding on the Pump. It was the norm back then.

Added by Kyle on 17 November 2013.
C V Blackstone's history of the UK fire service makes it clear that London operated both pump escapes and dual purpose appliances in the role of pumps with a minimum of four - and a preferred compliment of five. TLs at the time were permitted to run with only two crew, but normally had three and could run with four men if they were available.

The watch strength was twelve for a station with a PE and DP, which was the normal minimum number of appliances in those days. The duty officer was required to insure that each unit had at least four riders, and if the station came up short, one or more members would be reassigned by the Division from another station.

Added by Rob Johnson on 22 November 2013.
Sorry Rob I don't want to appear argumentative but for whatever it may say in print I happen to be in regular contact with several ex-LFB members who served during the 60's & 70's.
One, who served at C22 Kingsland and then C27 Clerkenwell recalls only too well that it was quite the norm to have three on the Pump, four on the PE and two riding the TL at C22. Another close friend who joined the LFB in 1965 was posted to F21 Stratford and rode a three man crew in the ex-West Ham AEC Regent on numerous occasions.
Needless to say they had their work cut out for them if the Escape was out on another job and as first in attendance at a 'goer' they had to get to work whilst hoping the take appliances from the adjacent stations would bl**dy well hurry up!

Added by Kyle on 26 November 2013.
Interesting comments, Kyle. I guess the only explanation must be that the brass hats of the day really had a rose-tinted view of what was really going on in the individual stations. Watch commanders were clearly not following the manning requirements which they had set out.

Except perhaps Paddington, as quoted in "Red Watch", but this was a divisional station, and the divisional brass lived on site. So the watch commanders presumably toed the line, because they felt that they could get caught out rather easily if they were lax.

As you say, three crew on a first due pump cannot accomplish very much by themselves, and I know a lot of brigades would simply not let an appliance out on the run with only three on board, except in extreme situations.

Added by Editor : ??? Who posted this ??? on 26 November 2013.
I WAS POSTED TO Plaistow from training school Southwark in September 1968, and spent 21 great years there.On the PE was crew of 4, P van 819 as in picture crew of 3, and the TL was crew of 2,

Added by David Short on 02 March 2014.
Does anyone know if TAN 149 was scrapped or did it survive?

Added by Steve Cobb on 14 August 2014.
When I was at holloway between 64-70 it was very normal to ride 3 on the P and the brass did know as every day your manning levels and nos were sent to division so that for the next shift all stations that required extra personnel could be allocated to where they were needed so that each station knew where their standby riders were coming from and also spare riders above the min rider level of 4PE and 3P or 2TL found out where they would be sent to on standby if required to bring any other stns up to min manning levels to keep as many appliances on the run as possible with the manpower as available that shift.

Added by Tony Sneesby BA MD TL on 12 September 2014.
I also have never heard of screwing 3 on a pump. Driver, officer or leading fireman and at least 2 crew

Added by Peter Saunders. Ex Middlesex fire on 07 February 2017.
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