The Borough of Surf City is located in Ocean County on Long Beach Island, an 18-mile barrier island sitting off the coast of New Jersey. The island is a huge destination for summer vacations and a year-round sport fishing destination. Access to the island is very limited as it is served by one causeway bridge, which goes from the mainland over the Manahawkin Bay to the island. Unfortunately, the island was severely impacted by super storm Sandy and so were many of the fire departments and their apparatus. After the storm, many communities began rebuilding and homes were now required to be built on stilts, and older homes that were being repaired also had to be raised. These homes are often close together and can be massive because of the value of real estate on the island. They can also be severely exposed when a wind-driven fire occurs anywhere on the island. Some of these homes are also set back from the road on narrow gravel driveways, and access to them is difficult to say the least. Add the fact that rapid deployment of other resources could be delayed coming over the causeway, so the need for updated fire and rescue protection was of great importance to the department.
Because of these facts, members of the Surf City Volunteer Fire Company 1 and Emergency Medical Services formed an apparatus committee that looked into the needs of providing proper fire protection for the community and tourists they protect. Currently, the department provides fire and EMS protection with one rescue-engine, one Class A engine, one utility truck, one command vehicle, two BLS ambulances and one special operations high-water vehicle. The special operations vehicle was a former U.S. Army 6-ton truck, which saw action in Iraq and the New Jersey State Wildlands Department. The unit is used for rescues and removals during evacuations or flooding and to work at area brush fires. In addition to these vehicles, the department maintains its enclosed cab 1956 B-Model Mack, which is a crowd pleaser at parades and social events.
Rescue Engine 4913 is a 2016 Spartan Boomer built on a Gladiator cab and chassis with 10-inch raised roof that seats six firefighters. It has an aluminum body to resist the effects of the salt water and air it’s exposed to. The main feature of the rig is its 28-foot hydraulic boom, which requires no stabilizers because of its construction features. The boom features an Akron Gemini monitor two 2½-inch discharges and six FRC scene lights. The boom is also capable of lifting up to 1,000 pounds and can operate between a -10-to 90-degree angle range. The boom has a remote-control feature and its design allows the unit to operate as an elevated standpipe at the higher homes or deploy the master stream for car fires under the structures or in a car port. Plus, it allows the department to rapidly deploy a water stream down an alley to protect adjacent exposures. The boom is located above the pump panel, on the driver’s side of the rig, which allows easy monitoring of the device. It doesn’t interfere with the hosebed for ease of laying a supply line or repacking the hose. When the boom is in the raised position, it has a slogan affixed to it: “Extra Reach From the Beach,” instilling company pride in the department.
The rig is powered by a Cummins ISX15 500-hp engine with an Allison 4000EVS automatic transmission. It has a 500-gallon Pro Poly water tank with a 30-gallon foam tank, which feeds a Hale FoamLogix system, capable of supplying compressed air and foam to five of the rig’s discharges. The rig’s pump is a Waterous CMU 2,000-gpm pump with side-mounted controls. It has a unique feature where there are two auxiliary intakes on the driver’s side of the pump. One supplies the pump while the other can augment or supply the boom to achieve optimum flows. There is a booster reel mounted on the top of the pump, with the line’s nozzle stored in a bracket on the officer’s side pump panel. The rear end of the rig has a bracket installed on it, holding a TFT Blitzfire™ for rapid attack on a well involved fire. There are three crosslay hose compartments: two holding 1¾inch line and one holding 2½-inch line. Apartment packs and standpipe hose packs are in the left rear compartment for easy access. A firefighter can quickly retrieve them and transport them to the location the boom will be used as a standpipe. The extended front bumper has a trash line and swivel elbow LDH intake. It also boasts a Federal Q siren, two Grover recessed air horns and a chrome bell. The engine is also equipped with a Harrison 10-kW hydraulic generator.
The rig has ROM roll-up compartment doors that are painted red except the rear step roll-up, which is not painted but has a unique department logo affixed to it. The rig’s cab is painted white over red and all red on the apparatus body. There is a large white reflective stripe which runs along the bottom side of the cab and sides of the body. The rear of the rig has standard DOT reflective striping affixed to it. The front cab doors have Maltese Crosses attached to them with the department’s date of organization on it: April 1, 1948. On the crew cab doors, Surf City Vol. Fire Co. is displayed in gold leaf. On each side of the upper portion of the rescue body, there is Rescue 49 Engine signage. The sides of the Boomer also have Surf City signage attached to them. On the front brow of the rig, signage states: “The Pride of Long Beach Island” because of the rig’sdesign, features, and abilities.
The rescue-engine is equipped with a multitude of tools and equipment. The rig carries both HURST Jaws of Life eDRAULIC and Holmatro extrication tools. It has Paratech air shores and various sizes of cribbing for auto extrications or for shoring at a collapse. An air hose reel, for operating air tools, is mounted in the right rear extrication compartment. The saw compartment, over the left wheel well, has two rotary saws and one chain saw in it. There is also an electric winch, stokes basket, air bags, cordless power tools and water rescue equipment stored on the apparatus. Portable ladders are stored in a hydraulic rack on the officer’s side of the apparatus consisting of a 28-foot extension ladder, 14-foot roof ladder, and a 10-foot folding ladder. There is a Little Giant ladder stored in the left rear compartment.
Overall, the rescue-engine has been a great addition to Surf City. The hard and diligent work of the apparatus committee and members putting this rig together should be commended and they should be proud of their “extra reach from the beach.”
MICHAEL N. CIAMPO is a 35-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC International Truck Essentials H.O.T. program. He wrote the Ladders and Ventilation chapters for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and the Bread and Butter Portable Ladders DVD and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on www.FireEngineering.com and writes the back page column ON FIRE in Fire Engineering.