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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

  • We operate 2 type 6 engines that have exterior fire fighting positions.Most of the 50 or so wildland fires we fight each year are done so from this positions. Prior to getting these apparatus in 2007, we operated with regular pickup trucks with a skid unit mounted in the bed. The exterior position is much less stressful on my crews than the walk along method. They do not have to run along side of a moving apparatus when encountering fast moving fires in light fuels. I feel that this is a much safer position than being on the ground do to the fast pace of this type of fire, it allows much better communication between the driver and hose man. I don't have to worry about my crews being run over during the frequent backing and turning operations. Our operators are trained to consider the hose man during operations and to not operate at a pace greater than needed. The hose man can assist the operator in navigating when needed to help avoid obstacles that are sometimes not seen by the person driving.

    Michael Harkey, Chief
    Caney VFD
    Caney, OK

  • 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

  • I'm a big proponent of having the firefighters on the truck and not on the ground. I personally had the experience of stepping into a deep hole during a fire a few years back, which could have been more serious that it was. I believe that the NFPA is correct in their rule for all firefighters to be belted in and inside of an enclosed cab, while the apparatus is in motion, but this is for pumpers and tankers only in my opinion. The biggest problem that I feel is that the people who serve on these committees that develop the standards that we use in the daily operations of the fire department are by some who have never pulled a heavy redline through thick brush and grass on a 100 degree day in East Texas.Hope this help to get them to make the right decision.

    Billy Gillam, Certification Coordinator / Training Officer
    Douglass VFD
    Douglass, TX

  • I am volunteer firefighter with over 20 years’ experience on a department in a rural area. In reviewing the comparison between walking a fire line and utilizing the exterior fire attack position, the fire attack position holds every advantage. Safety being of the utmost importance gives all of the obvious advantages to the fire attack position. The firefighter is further away from the fire, heat, and smoke, thus making him/her less susceptible to burns, heat exhaustion, or smoke inhalation. Using the fire attack position the firefighter is not subject to walking into dangerous obstacles such as downed power lines, holes, tree limbs, or any other unknown hazards. The firefighter is not as likely to become fatigued and suffer the physical dangers of falling down, becoming entangled, or being struck by another truck. The firefighter secured into the exterior attack position with roll over protection is indeed far more protected than a firefighter walking the fire grounds.


    Aside from the safety advantages of using the exterior fire attack position, the tactical advantages are just as great. The fire truck can maneuver into a more favorable position for attacking the flames. The fire truck can rapidly and with ease move toward the head or the rear of the fire. The firefighter in the exterior fire attack position can see all the way around the truck and easily communicate with the driver. The firefighter can select from a choice of charged lines to operate, and is often able to increase or decrease pump pressure thus creating the desired GPM for the fire. The ease, speed, and much greater effectiveness of the fire attack position makes walking the fire line an unnecessary risk. With lives and property on the line, every second counts. The NFPA 1500 committee needs to address this situation and implement whatever measures necessary to provide every fire department with the known advantages of the exterior fire attack position.

    Gary Ummel Jr., HFD Captain

  • 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


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