The Hamilton Township (Ohio) Fire Department was looking for a relatively lightweight and maneuverable apparatus to add to its fleet and, like many other small departments, elected to go with a quint, its first aerial.
The department settled on a 2006 Sutphen SL75 mid-mount aerial ladder and put it into service last summer.
“It’s not much bigger than our engines, and it can get up residential driveways without breaking through,” Chief Goebel E. Williams said. “We can stick it where the big aerials can’t go. Given our automatic mutual aid (AMA) arrangement, there will almost always be a 100-footer coming to structure fires, and they can set up on the street and work from there.”
Rapid population growth, soaring from 8,000 in 1994 to nearly 25,000 today, dictated the department’s need for additional fire protection. “Our county, Warren, and adjacent Butler, are the two fastest growing counties in Ohio,” Williams said.
HTFD opened a second station in 2001, and a third is on the drawing boards.
“This Sutphen SL75 is planned to run out of this third station by itself because the quint is also medic equipped,” he said. “It is small enough to make EMS runs, and all those who ride are EMS trained.”
HTFD’s primary service area is 35 square miles, located 30 miles north of Cincinnati and 35 miles south of Dayton, Ohio. “Given our AMA, it’s possible we’ll respond as far as 20 miles away,” Williams said. “Our goal is to deliver 16 men to the fireground on the first alarm. Most often we average 26 to 28 firefighters.”
The area’s rapid residential growth has required the construction of new schools and generated considerable commercial activity, according to the chief. The developer of a planned office park is proposing to build the department’s third firehouse and lease it back to HTFD, he said. The station would be the cornerstone of the office park.
A major employer in the area is SUMCO, which makes parts for semiconductors and has hazardous materials on-site, according to Williams. HTFD was called to the plant in the early morning hours of Jan. 5 along with crews from a dozen other fire departments in response to an explosion. One employee was airlifted to a hospital with burns, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and 12 others were sent to hospitals as a precaution for possible exposure to chemicals.
Going With An Aerial
The growth in lightweight residential construction and the danger of roof collapses was one of the considerations in HTFD’s choice of an aerial, according to Brian Stiles, an engineer/driver who served on the department’s specification committee.
“We looked at several things,” he said. “The first was the relative cost of a pumper versus an aerial. It would have cost about $420,000 to duplicate our 2001 pumper in today’s dollars. So we figured for another $120,000 we could purchase an aerial.”
The 2006 Sutphen SL75 cost $560,000 for the apparatus and an additional $120,000 for equipment and tools. It was purchased as part of the department’s plan for growth and did not replace an older apparatus.
Stiles said the department needed a truck that was maneuverable so it could get up long farm lanes and around residential streets. “Seventy-five percent of our area is suburban sprawl, and 25 percent is rural or industrial,” he said. “When we looked at property offsets and average heights, we found a 75-foot aerial would do it for us.”
The department received two bids, one from Sutphen and the other from a competitor. Stiles said the deciding factor was that the Sutphen had 41 more cubic feet of storage area.
“That was a big consideration for us,” he said. “Everything we carry on our pumpers is carried on the quint, including extrication tools and high angle rescue equipment.”
Stiles said the quint handles as well or better over the road than the pumpers. “The engine is plenty big enough, and the brakes stop this vehicle in an amazingly short distance,” he said. “Being a mid-mount aerial, the travel height is relatively low.”
Deployment of the under-slung stabilizers could not be easier, he said. “It’s a one-switch operation with a two-stage release,” he said. “The first sends the x-jack stabilizing legs out and when they’re at maximum distance, a micro switch for the second stage sends them down where they automatically level the rig. There are no individual settings required.”
The plan for tool mounting began during the bid review process, according to Stiles. “When I was trying to decide where tools might be mounted, the first thing I tried to do was duplicate the tool storage on our other pumpers,” he said.
He talked with other shifts to hear their ideas and interviewed operators, officers and other firefighters because each was doing a different job off the truck. “The biggest thing the crews wanted was task-oriented compartments,” he said. “For example, all the ventilation equipment is found together with saws, positive pressure ventilation fan, and a dedicated 220-volt cord reel. All salvage items including tarps and roof kits are grouped together. Similarly, cribbing, air bags, Sawzall and a chain saw are stored together.”
Stiles said other firefighters also wanted tools mounted in the 4-seat cab, so no one would come off the truck empty-handed. On the aerial, itself, the department wanted to have most of the vent tools within easy reach, he said. “We also have a 16-foot roof ladder, 8-foot hook, pick axe and Haligan mounted on the ladder,” he added.
All the tool mounting was done by Stiles after the apparatus was delivered and before it went into service last June 1. Mounting fixtures were purchased from PAC, Sensible Products and Darley.
“All the mounts are 9-G rated for crash protection in the event of a rollover,” he said. “This was a big concern with tools and equipment mounted inside the cab.”
Each of HTFD’s apparatus can support a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) assignment. A team is made up of four firefighters prepared to rescue other firefighters if necessary. On a large assignment, Chief Williams said a second RIT team is sent; one for the front and one for the back of the structure. “To facilitate the RIT team,” he said, “each RIT compartment is located at the same location on each piece of our apparatus.”
Maybe Another Aerial
As for future apparatus acquisitions, Williams said the department will be buying a new EMS vehicle this year and in 2010 will replace its 1985 pumper. “By that time we’ll know about the third station,” he said.
Eventually, he said, the department will probably need a 100-foot aerial because “there’s some talk about building an industrial park.”
Harry Sutphen was the factory sales representative.
For information call 800-848-5860 or go to www.sutphen.com.
- 215-inch wheelbase
- 10 feet high
- 39 feet long
- 98 inches wide
- Cummins ISM 450-hp diesel engine
- Jacobs engine brake
- Allison 4000EVS transmission
- 22,000 pound front axle rating
- 31,000 pound rear axle rating
- Meritor disk brakes
- Alcoa aluminum wheels
- 65-gallon fuel tank
- 320 amp alternator
- Stainless steel rescue body
- Seating capacity of four including the driver; three with Bostrom SCBA seats
- Waterous CSU 2,000-gpm pump
- Onan 15,000-watt SmartPower generator
- 450-gallon UPF tank
- 20-gallon Class A and 30-gallon Class B foam tanks
- Williams around-the-pump foam system
- 75-foot mid-mount aerial platform
- Elkhart Scorpion RF monitor
- Pre-piped waterway
- Two 200-foot pre-connected crosslays
- 1,000 feet of 5-inch hose
- 200 feet of 3-inch pre-connected for a flying standpipe
- Federal Q2B siren
- PowerCall electronic siren
- Grover Stuttertone air horns
- Whelen LED lighting package
- Roto-Ray warning light
- Fire Research scene lighting
- Akron valves
- Alco-Lite Ground Ladders; one 35-foot 3-section extension; one 28-foot, 2-section extension; two 16-foot roof ladders; one 14-foot attic ladder at the top of tip of the ladder
- One Little Giant ladder mounted on the cab
- R.O.M. roll-up compartment doors w/ LED compartment lighting