“We are excited about this,” Fire chief Patrick Draper said. “This has been a concern of mine since day one—not having a ladder truck. Not having a ladder truck is a detriment to life safety, preventing fires from spreading and our ISO rating.”
Draper said although the ISO rating is important, the primary concern is safety and fire suppression.
“The most important thing is life safety,” he said. “And having a ladder truck can mean the difference between losing one store downtown, or a whole block.”
Draper said the fire department chose to bid a ladder truck with a platform which gives the firefighters more options than a ladder truck without a platform.
“In rescue situations, the platform makes it much safer for the firefighters and the rescue victims,” he said. “It also offers more control from the platform.”
Draper said the fire department is demo driving a platform truck this week from Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus, north of Arab, Ala.
“This truck is not specifically being looked at, because we put it out for bid,” he said. “But we wanted to demo a platform truck with the same specs as what was bid to make sure it will work for our city and our fire department.”
Draper said he drove the platform truck in downtown Pell City, and took turns that might have caused problems to ensure the truck could maneuver through the downtown area.
“It turns well and handles good,” he said. “It has good braking.”
Draper said the platform truck is 47-feet-long and is capable of pumping 2,000 gallons per minute with a 200 gallon storage tank.
“We are looking at purchasing a used platform truck, but it will come with a new paint job and new emergency lights per the bid specs,” he said. “An engine like the one we have for a demo is exactly what we want.”
Draper said the platform truck has a 100-foot ladder extension.
“With any luck, the council will open bids before the next scheduled council meeting,” he said. “I hope the council can vote on this by the next council meeting. From the time the council approves a purchase (if approved) to putting the new platform truck in service, I’m hoping for a maximum time of 60 days so it can be painted and the new emergency lights put on it.”
Draper said he is also hoping to offer the council the option of pushing the first payment on the platform truck to the next budget year.
“The platform truck isn’t factored into this year’s budget, but it will be factored into next year’s budget,” he said. “This is absolutely doable and absolutely needed.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.