The new vehicle is a 2011 KME Telesquirt, is able to raise its 79-foot ladder for either fire suppression or rescue. The vehicle was purchased through a grant that Assistant fire Chief Andy Frost III had applied for in 2010.
“It was a 90 percent FEMA matching grant,” Frost said. “The grant was The Assistance to Fire Fighters’ Grant through the Department of Homeland Security (FEMA).”
The grant was officially awarded on May 7, 2010 and the truck was ordered shortly thereafter. While is was delivered in March of 2011, it had to be outfitted with the proper equipment, which took place over the summer. The truck was completed and went into service out of Station 3 on Sept. 11.
The new truck cost $502,000, mostly covered by the grant. It has a lot of new upgrades including the lighting. Frost said the older trucks came with spotlights equipped with 200-foot cords. They could be plugged into the truck, which had a generator to supply the power.
The new truck comes with a bank of LED lights that are brighter than the old spotlights, but are such low wattage they can run off the vehicle's 12-volt battery system. For portable spotlights needed in nighttime work, the truck is equipped with two hand-held portable generators that can be easily carried to the scene.
“We no longer need the $25,000 generator,” Frost said. “Now we have two cheaper, $1,000 handheld units.”
The truck also has the moveable spray nozzle on its 79-foot ladder. In a rescue operation, Frost said the nozzle can be retracted so as to not interfere with the rescue. If the truck responds to a structure fire, the nozzle can be extended, the ladder raised and water can be poured onto roofs for fire suppression.
Frost said the new truck will replace a 1982 model that had a 75-foot ladder and similar hose setup. He said having a third aerial truck helps keep insurance costs down.
“ISO, the insurance rating organization, mandates we have three aerial trucks,” Frost said. “By having three, the cost for insurance is kept down for homes and businesses.”
He said the ladder trucks are a key tool for use in multi-story apartment fires.
The new truck will see a special tour of duty this Saturday and it will be displayed at the Awesome-Town Craft and Car Show at Emmanuel Community Church on Kirk Road.
Austintown firefighter Brian Griffin prepares to head out in the department’s newest vehicle, a 2011 KME Telesquirt 79-foot ladder truck. The new truck was purchased through a FEMA grant from 2010.