Save your unit MAJOR repair costs (up to $1M) by following the guidance in this article
If you have an M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT), listen up!
TTFTs need your special attention when it gets cold outside because they’re highly vulnerable to problems like frozen valves, drains and tanks. These trucks have pipes and lines that can freeze and cause cracks or even worse, frozen pipes and lines can burst.
Look for cracks and leaks
There’s no half-stepping with these vehicles, as one unit learned the hard way. The unit improperly stored two (2) TFFTs during cold weather, which coupled with lack of good PMCS, led to over a million dollars of depot-level repairs.
You can avoid these costly problems by following the cold weather PMCS in TM 5-4210-249-13&P (Feb 09). Check out these tips for winterizing your unit’s fire trucks:
- While operating your truck, check for unusual readings on the instrument panel and pump. Be aware that abnormal readings will help you spot trouble early and prevent costly repairs.
- Don’t let snow and ice accumulate on your vehicle, and if it does, remove it as soon as you can. You can bet the more ice and snow on your truck, the harder your job will be to remove it. Keeping your truck clean will make using the firefighting equipment easier and safer.
- If you’re storing a truck outdoors in temperatures below 32⁰F, completely drain and blow out the water system. Also, completely drain the foam system.
- When water is present in the water tank and lines, keep your truck in a protective environment above 55⁰F. If you don’t, you risk the tank and lines freezing and maybe even costly repairs.
- During cold weather operations below 20⁰F, only use Class A or B foam agent rated for at least -20⁰F. You don’t want your foam to freeze in the lines and leave you unable to do your job putting out fires.
- If valves or drains freeze, don’t force them open or closed. This isn’t the time for brute force because forcing them open or closed causes them to crack or break. Then you go from hero to zero!
- Don’t leave your trucks outside and exposed to temperatures below -25⁰F for longer than two (2) hours. Leaving a truck exposed and unattended in this type of weather is asking for serious trouble. You can expect lines, drains and valves to freeze.
Again, be careful when it comes to TTFTs and cold weather conditions. A strong, sustained wind during a snowstorm is going to shorten the time it takes for your truck’s equipment to freeze, if it’s left out in the elements. So stay vigilant and weather aware.
If you follow these tips and the TM, you won’t get left in the cold with your TFFT.