Public Safety boasts new ladder truck

Published 3:33 pm Friday, April 24, 2009

A brand-new fire truck has made its home at Bainbridge Public Safety, boasting a retractable ladder that can reach more than 100 feet in the air.

The City of Bainbridge approved the purchase of the more than $700,000 truck beginning in their 2008 budget, but discussion about the purchase began two years prior.

In June 2005, the city commissioned a fire protection study looking at maintaining and possibly lowering Bainbridge’s ISO fire suppression rating of four. According to City Manager Chris Hobby, the study outlined a number of ways to lower the rating.

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Hobby said a lower rating will reduce the cost of homeowner insurance in the area. Factors that go into the rating are how well fire departments receive fire alarms and dispatch resources (response times); the number and distribution of fire departments and their equipment; and the community’s water supply.

“One of several recommendations given was to put into service a ladder truck,” said Hobby. “The study showed that 11 structures would rate an aerial response.”

He said that number has most likely grown since that time and will continue to grow with the construction of buildings like the new Holiday Inn Express being built on Tallahassee Highway.

According to Hobby, recommendations that need to be addressed before the city is prepared to apply for a lower ISO rating is the construction of a fire stations on the south side of the city, which the area currently lacks.

“Everything else is in place,” said Hobby.

Arrival and orientation

On April 9, BPS Fire Chief Dennis Mock flew to Sioux Falls, S.D., to get the first look at Bainbridge’s new fire truck, which had been manufactured over about a year’s time.

Mock then made the two-day journey back to South Georgia riding in the truck—arriving on the evening of April 11.

This week, Bainbridge Public Safety officers went through an orientation program on their new fire truck.

On Wednesday, officers met with a representative of the company that built the truck, Rosenbauer American—a company that creates and distributes fire-fighting equipment. They took the truck to Bill Reynolds Sports Park to practice and receive instruction on driving and maneuvering the large vehicle.

On Thursday they met with Ched Thompson of Fire Fighting Innovations Inc.—which is a dealer for Rosenbauer America in South Georgia and Florida. Thompson provided an orientation on pumping and spraying water from the truck and its ladder.

“It’s a great asset to have for our department and the City of Bainbridge, helping make citizens and businesses safer,” said Mock.

He said the performance of the truck has been outstanding, being easy to operate and equipped with a number of safety features.

One safety feature are four stabilization legs that come out of the sides to keep the truck from tipping when the ladder is in use.

Mock explained that the truck will not only be a vital asset when fighting fires, it can be used to rescue people. He said the ladder is equipped with a Stokes basket, which can be used to rescue people trapped on high floors of buildings.

Mock also said the ladder will reduce the risk firefighters must face, at times eliminating the dangerous need for firefighter to make their way to upper stories of buildings that are ablaze.

“With Bainbridge growing, I felt like we didn’t have adequate equipment to get up to higher structures,” said Mock. “I feel like now, we’ve got what we need.”