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NFPA MUST recognize the Exterior Fire Attack Position

Blanchat is currently working with the NFPA 1906 and 1500 committees to have the Exterior Fire Attack Position recognized in future versions of these standards as a safer method of fighting fast-moving fine fuel fires.


UPDATE: The Exterior Fire Attack Position has passed the 1906 committee and will be included in the 2016 NFPA 1906 standard! Additionally, the NFPA 1500 committee is just beginning to review possible revisions to the NFPA 1500 standard. What the NFPA 1500 committee needs most is to hear from you! Visit the NFPA 1500 page below to learn how you can submit your comments and recommendations.


NFPA 1906 info


NFPA 1500 info


Blanchat has been leading the charge to have the NFPA recognize the Exterior Fire Attack Position and has even been featured on the local news during one of the burn demonstrations with NFPA committee members. Featured news clip below.


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Go to the news page

The NFPA needs your input!

The NFPA 1500 committee needs to hear your input on why the Exterior Fire Attack Position is important in fine fuel areas! Unfortunately, you must do this via the NFPA website with a unique user name and password. We have created a step by step set of instructions to complete this process.


Input must be submitted by the deadline 5/16/2016.


Download instructions

Apparatus with an Exterior Fire Attack Position Currently on the Market

These pictures were taken at the TEEX Municipal Vendor Show in College Station, TX. All but two of these trucks have positions behind the cab. One truck has a position on the front bumper and one at the rear of the truck.


Current Manufacturers of an Exterior Fire Attack Position


Skeeter Brush Trucks (Kirby, Texas)





Wildfire Truck & Equipment Sales (Alvarado, TX)




Neel Fire (Waco, TX)



Midwest Fire (Luverne, MN)




Hays Fire & Rescue (Hays, KS)



Deep South Fire Trucks (Seminary, MS)



Emergency Fire Equipment (Mayfield, KS)



Maintainer Custom Bodies (Rock Rapids, IA)



Chief Fire & Safety (Chickasha, OK)



Danko Emergency Equipment (Snyder, NE)





Unruh Fire (Sedgwick, KS)




Weis Fire & Safety (Salina, KS)




1st Due (Bartlett, KS)



AMI-Fire Equipment (Brenham, TX)




Daco Fire Equipment (Fort Worth, TX)



Steele Fire Apparatus (Haskell, TX)




Turnkey Industries (Magnolia, TX)



Westex Fire (West, TX)



1st Attack (Waterloo, IN)



Metro Fire (Houston, TX)



Kyrish Government Group (Killeen, Texas)



Crow Construction (Cashion, OK)



J&J Custom Fire (Red Rock, OK)







Company Two Fire Apparatus (Varnville, SC)



Southeast Apparatus (Corbin, KY)



Pierce (Appleton, WI)



Cooper Creek Mfg (Loyal, OK)




Heiman Fire Equipment (Sioux Falls, SD)



Blanchat Manufacturing (Harper, KS)




If Blanchat is building 40 trucks per year with an exterior fire attack position, how many total trucks are being sold in North America with 29+ manufacturers selling the exterior fire attack position on their apparatus?


How many of these new exterior fire attack positions are sufficiently safe in the event of an impact or roll-over?

- Greg Blanchat


Abilene, TX roll-over

What Fine Fuel Firefighters Say

  • I agree that a change needs to be made. As a volunteer fire fighter it is not ideal to walk beside a truck. There are many risk factors to that if the smoke is heavy enough the fire fighter walking could be seriously injured by the driver a long with many other possibilities. I believe a roll cage added to a wildland apparatus is entirely the way to go. It will be safer and faster to allow this change. Please understand when you are out there putting your life on the line anything to limit accidents should be considered.

    Tyler Schrant
    Oklahoma Volunteer FF
  • I support the modifications to NFPA 1500 to include the capability to have exterior riding positions. I also believe you are correct that it creates a great health hazard for firefighters walking on the ground. I believe this needs to be added to the standard. All of our (homemade brush tucks in my little department) have this capability as do every other department around us. I believe the standard needs to be modified to allow for the safe operation of these vehicles. It does create a legal liability the way the standard is written now.

    David R. Fischer, Safety Training Officer
    NE Lincoln County Fire
    Cushing, OK

  • Currently our department has the capability with two apparatus to pump and roll with a firefighter safely buckled into a harness and protected by a rollover protection system. This system, created by Blanchat Manufacturing, was researched by our department and compared to many other systems and we believe it is the safest on the market and have seen its use as essential on the Urban interface and Wildfire scene.


    Firefighter safety is always first with our department, period. This style of rollover protection gives our department the capability to fight fire with the precision and effectiveness of a firefighter at the controls of the nozzle nestled safely in a protective enclosure. Our department views this as an advantage over the use of a monitor because of precision and conservation of water. This system also allows for the firefighter to be evacuated from the hazards of the fire scene in an expedient manner without the possibility of being hit by the apparatus while keeping the fatigue factor low for our personnel. With wireless communication capability included, it also provides a wider, more efficient view of the scene by the firefighter while the driver can concentrate on safe driving practices. We plan on adding additional apparatus of this configuration as our community grows and our Urban Interface fires increase. They have been essential to our firefighting needs and are under heavy demand by our mutual aid departments because of their safety and effectiveness.

    Stewart D. Bryan, Fire Chief
    City of Greenwood Fire Department
    Greenwood, AR
  • I understand that the NFPA is in the process of considering changes to 1906 section 14.4 standards (Exterior Attack Fire Position) that would allow for a pump and roll fire attack position on wildland fire engines. I have had wildland fire experience since 1959 both on the ground and as a T2 Incident Commander. I was a District Ranger for the USDA Forest Service for 25 of those years. During all of that time I have dug fire line, ran fire crews, operated fire engines, managed Incident Overhead Teams and worked with co-operating agencies, including volunteer fire departments. Fire fighter safety was always my top consideration. That is why I feel so strong that what you are considering must addressed. I would make the following comments for your consideration.


    Presently we have wildland fire engines that can drive up the road with the crew in the cab and set up to pump water to a fire or let someone walk along with the engine. That is good for that kind of a fires. But in the great Plains and other areas with fine fuels we need a different fire engine, that can pump and roll, that is built with safety standards and improved efficiency for fast moving wildfires. Most of this need is not meet with State or Federal agencies but with rural volunteer fire departments. An example is the State of Kansas which has 50 million acres of which 95% of all land is protected by rural volunteer fire departments.


    A number of people have been working on this issue of standard changes for a number of years. It is time to get the job done and make the needed safety changes. In the last three years I have seen a lot of fire engines being purchased by fire districts and counties that have the behind the cab walk through design but they do not have the safety features needed to protect the fire fighter. They are lacking the ROPS and other standards needed for safety. Fire fighters know the value of the design changes you are considering. Now NFPA needs to set the standards so vehicles will be built and used properly and safely.


    I have talked with fire fighters who work on the ground and a large number of them agree it is time to make some changes for the safety of the fire fighter working on the engines with fast moving fires in fine fuels. Sticking the nozzle out the cab window is not the answer. The proposed new standards being considered would make for a safe fire attack position on a fire engine and would allow for a behind cab, ROPS with stand-up/sit down, walk through access and proper safety harness.


    The fire fighters on the ground are asking for and deserve this change. Let us move forward to a safe future while building on the past.

    Joe F. Hartman
    USDAFS - Retired

  • Congratulations on concisely addressing an issue that should be recognized by the NFPA. As you accurately stated, in certain conditions fighting ground cover fires from a moving vehicle is the only they may be contained and extinguished.


    You clearly highlight the fact that the very NFPA standards which are published to promote firefighter health and safety are actually increasing the dangers and health hazards many firefighters must face.


    However, of equal importance is where firefighter rides on vehicles while attacking wildland fires. While my personal preference is behind the cab as one of the photographs indicate, I also acknowledge in certain circumstances the front bumper is a better option.


    In fact, had an Abilene firefighter been on the front bumper where he could serve as "an extra set of eyes" and been in communication with the driver, the truck would not have rolled. The person on the front would have seen the culvert and directed the driver away from a danger he could not see.


    Hopefully, NFPA will recognize and address the problem it created. When it does, the issue should address the standards required to ensure firefighters are riding in properly designed riding positions that will enhance their safety.

    J. Clay Deatherage, Certification Coordinator
    Hawley FD


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