Boardman Fire Department received a big gift on Friday afternoon as a new $917,750 E1 ladder truck was delivered to the South Avenue station before a crowd of firefighters and their families, township officials, and neighboring fire department officials.
The vehicle was delivered shortly after noon. It was fully equipped and could have immediately responded to a call if the need had arisen. Boardman Fire Chief George Brown said it officially will be a few weeks before it is put into regular use.
"[This week] we will begin a driver training program," he said. "Next week, we will have a representative from the manufacturer come in and train our people on the ladder operations."
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
All she knew was it was big and red with all sorts of shinning things thrown in. Nine-month old Emma Roberts got a first look at Boardman Fire Departments new ladder truck that arrived at the South Avenue station on Friday. Emma got the grand tour with her father, Boardman firefighter Tom Roberts.
Brown said the new vehicle will serve as a multipurpose vehicle. It can perform ladder rescues from an eight-story building, can respond to fires with an on-board 500 gallon water tank, and will carry equipment to handle rescues such as vehicle extractions.
"This best uses our manpower," said Ron John, one of Boardman's fire fighter/instructors who, along with firefighter Mark Pitzer helped set up the new truck as to equipment and design. He said what this one vehicle can do would have required three separate trucks and three separate crews. Now one crew can handle it all.
Randy Powell, the salesman with Advantech, Midvale, Ohio, said fire departments across the country are cutting back and it is important to get the maximum use of the manpower available.
He said the new Boardman truck is built by E-1 at their Ocala, Fla., facility.
Brown said the new ladder truck is referred to as a "straight stick," which means the ladder extends to the location it is needed. It can extend to an eight floor office window, or can be used to pour water into the center of a large building during a fire. The big advantage comes with rescue work.
"The ladder can hold up to 10 people," Brown said. "The older 'bucket towers' would have to be raised and lowered several times to rescue that many people."
He said neighboring communities have the bucket towers. The new straight stick will add to the rescue equipment during mutual aid calls by bringing in a different tools for rescues.
Checking out the new Boardman truck were Cardinal Joint Fire District Assistant Chief Matt Rarick and Western Reserve Joint Fire District Fire Chief Chip Comstock.
Also attending the event on Friday was Boardman Township Trustee Tom Costello, who said there was a real importance to obtaining the vehicle.
"It's an investment in our future," he said.
He noted the old Boardman ladder truck is a 1991 model and it gets harder every year to find parts for it. More important is the fact ISO will lower ratings when equipment gets too old. ISO ratings determine the cost of home and business owners insurance. Lower ratings can mean higher costs.
"When Campbell lost their good rating do to staff and cuts, some homeowners policies jumped by almost $300 per year," Costello said. "By purchasing this vehicle, we are ensuring Boardman residents keep their lower insurance costs."
Brown said in a few weeks the new truck should be on the road with fully trained crews on board. At that time the department will look at selling the old ladder truck.