|Careful planning and a well-executed specification process ensured the College Station (Texas) Fire Department got exactly what it wanted when it ordered an American LaFrance mid-mount aerial platform. (American LaFrance Photo)|
An American LaFrance 100-foot custom mid-mount aerial platform was recently delivered to the College Station (Texas) Fire Department.
"We were interested in getting a dedicated ladder company back in service," said Assistant Chief Jon Mies. "We had a 75-foot aerial straight stick so we chose to go with a full100-foot platform for additional flexibility, as required for full Insurance Services Organization (ISO) certification.
The ALF Eagle 148 custom chassis is powered by a 515 hp Detroit Diesel Series 60 that is teamed with an Allison 4000EVS transmission.
The truck also has a Hale 8FG 2,000 gpm pump and a 300-gallon tank. The Harrison hydraulic generator pump produces 10,000 watts. It also carries 700 feet of 5-inch large diamter hose.
Custom features include, dual source air conditioning; a 19-inch cab extension, emergency medical service (EMS) cabinet, air cylinder storage, adjustable compartment shelves, slide-out trays, and swing-out tool panels.
Other features include airbag storage, a David Clark communication system, LED warning lights and an aerial rescue package.
The low 11-foot 1-inch profile of the mid-mount was an important consideration for getting around in the city of 84,000 residents. Also, the platform can reach the ground on either side at 90 degrees with only 13 feet of extension.
The department chose a steel ladder in four sections, rather than three sections, making for less deflection and more compactness. The higher tip strength of the steel ladder means they can deliver 2,000 gpm with two firefighters in the basket.
In addition, according to Mies, "We prefer the unobstructed view of a mid-mount." That's important in College Station, the busy, thickly settled home of Texas A&M University - the third largest public university in the country.
College Station provides fire service for the university as well as a growing number of three-story apartment buildings serving as dormitories.
It was nearly a year between purchase order and delivery, but it was worth the wait, the assistant chief said.
"As a result of our prep work, everything we need to carry fits in this truck," Mies added.
The assistant chief said to make sure the truck was built to specifications and would meet the department's needs perfectly, department representatives visited the American LaFrance plant in Ladson, S.C., three times.
"It was time well spent and I recommend investing the time to anyone going through the planning process," Mies said.
It's also important to listen to other people who use the truck before any decisions are made so all needs are met, he said, noting that departments should test other department's trucks before making decisions.
College Station got just the truck it wanted because of meticulious planning, Mies noted.
The new American LaFrance aerial joins a fleet of four front line engines, including three Pierce and one E-ONE apparatus. The department also has two reserve pumpers, one Becker and one Pierce.
Other apparatus includes a 75-foot E-ONE ladder and three Frasier ambulances.
A second American LaFrance unit with a 50-foot Tele-Squrt is on order.
"Everything we need fits on this truck because we planned it that way," he added.
The $835,000 unit was ordered through Kirk Givler at American LaFrance Gulf Coast, East Houston, Texas.
For information call 888-253-8725 or go to www.americanlafrance.com.