Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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Home / WLF TheySaid / Backup sensors vs cameras

  • 05/20/2014
  • Skunk Ape

Has anyone had any experience using aftermarket backup cameras or sensors on a wildland engine? Long story short, we have been told by management that we are getting one or the other; therefore a discussion on using a backer is a moot point in this case. Any input or experience would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Skunk Ape

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  1. oregonfirefighter
    June 3, 2014 Reply

    I have seen a couple guys use camera and in an dusty environment they tend to , well, have a blocked image due to a pile up of dirt on the screen. I just happen to have the sensors on a couple of my rigs and they seem to work, however I would not trust my co-workers life to them.

  2. Your name...
    June 7, 2014 Reply

    On my last unit in R6, we had a new engine captain thought it was good idea to install a navigation system with a backup camera. Well, long story short this captain didn’t consult with the fleet manager prior to install. The so-called professional installers used the wrong wires for the power and fried the ECM. The local installer ended up paying for the 4000 dollar replacement ECM. We had to pay for a tow to another facility to diagnosis and prove that it was installed in correctly. Not only is this a major modification but this type of mod needs regional approval. If you end up doing this make sure policy is followed because it’s not a good outcome if the above situation happens. My opinion is we should not be relying on that type of equipment especially if you are in R5 with 5 people on your truck. With proper training of folks the back up camera is not needed unless you are alone and again I would say get out of the truck and assess your parking area prior to starting your mission. My 2 cents. Good luck.

  3. Shannon
    June 11, 2014 Reply

    I have had two different cameras on two front line type 1s and one on a reserve the newer cameras are pretty nice and although the type 1 would get dirty not like we do when we are on those run down powder dust roads… I would definitely go with a camera though over the sensor that way you can at least see it and if it’s dusty then you can see that’s the issue instead of getting a false beep and you can always just wipe the lens every know and then. I don’t know what camera pierce is using but I would find out and put that one on if I was installing one it did well at night and in bright daylight.

  4. James
    June 24, 2014 Reply

    I installed backing sensors on an R5 engine back in 1999. They worked fine. We still used a backer not trusting in anything mechanical. Primary use was when the engine operator was running for water alone. The unit we installed simply powered up when the reverse lights came on. It had a light sensor installed on the dash and a beep that increased in rate as you got closer to an object. We threw out the visual as useless. Your eyes need to be on the mirrors. One observation we made was when we operated and engine that did not have sensors we found we were listening for the beeping that never occurred. Easy adjustment because we were watching the mirrors and knew roughly how close we were that made us realize there were no backing sensors. The sensors pay for themselves as soon as a prevention rig or overhead pulls up close behind you on scene and you put the engine in reverse. You know right away there is something back there.

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