In an effort to improve its Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating, a county in Georgia has implemented a program that will add 14 fire stations and at least that number of pumpers, which also will improve response times and fire protection coverage throughout the county.
Tattnall County (GA) Fire and Rescue will build 13 satellite stations and one central fire station, equipping each with two pumpers as part of a five-year plan, says Walt Rogers, Tattnall County’s chief. “The county previously had been served by four cities for fire protection and also a state prison where the majority of the fire departments carry an ISO 10 rating. By covering the county 100 percent, we hope to get that rating up to an ISO 7.”
ISO collects information on municipal fire protection efforts in communities throughout the country where it analyzes relevant data using its Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). ISO then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, while Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire suppression program doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria.
The city departments now under the Tattnall County fire protection program are the Cobbtown (GA) Volunteer Fire Department, one station and 16 volunteer firefighters; the Collins (GA) Volunteer Fire Department, one station and 15 volunteer firefighters; the Glenville (GA) Fire Department, one station, 20 paid part-time firefighters and 20 volunteer firefighters; the Reidsville (GA) Fire Department, one station and 25 volunteer firefighters; and the Georgia State Prison Fire Department, one station and six volunteer firefighters.
Faced with putting 14 pumpers in service as the new stations are built, Rogers investigated the possibility of buying reconditioned pumpers as a starting point. His inquiries led him to Company Two Fire, a used fire apparatus dealer based in Varnville, South Carolina.
Quincy Jones, owner of Company Two Fire, says that Tattnall County “came to us through our Website and told us the fire department was revamping and adding a number of stations, and that they were putting a new and used vehicle in each station.”
Rogers points out that the funds being used to set up the countywide department, build the stations, and purchase the apparatus will come from Georgia’s Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST). “Federal grant money is available to us to purchase new vehicles,” he says, “so we decided to use the SPLOST money to buy used pumpers for each station to serve as reserve units,” Rogers says.
Jones points out that Tattnall County’s basic pumper specs were for a vehicle 1990 or newer made by any manufacturer with at least a 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump and a 750-gallon water tank or larger. Thus far, Tattnall County has purchased a half dozen pumpers from Company Two Fire. These include the following rigs:
- 1990 Quality/International pumper with a five-person cab, DT-466 diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Waterous 1,250-gpm side-mount pump, and 1,000-gallon fiberglass water tank.
- 1993 E-ONE/Freightliner rescue-pumper with a four-person cab, Cummins diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Hale 1,250-gpm side-mount pump, and 500-gallon polypropylene water tank.
- 1993 KME/International pumper with a five-person cab, International diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Hale 1,250-gpm top-mount pump, and 1,000-gallon polypropylene water tank.
- 1992 3D/Freightliner pumper-tanker with two-person cab, Cummins diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Hale 1,250-gpm side-mount pump, 1,250-gallon steel water tank, two booster reels, generator, rear dump valve, and a portable drop tank.
- 1992 KME/Chevy Kodiak pumper with five-person cab, CAT diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Hale 1,250-gpm side-mount pump, and 1,000-gallon polypropylene water tank.
1990 E-ONE Cyclone pumper with seven-person cab, Detroit Diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Hale 1,500-gpm side-mount pump, and 1,000-gallon polypropylene water tank.
Jones notes that when Company Two Fire buys a vehicle that’s been well maintained and doesn’t need refurbishment, his company details the vehicle, letters it for a new department, and certifies the vehicle. “On the other hand if the vehicle needs refurbishment work, we’ll do what’s needed to bring it up to standard so it can be recertified,” he says.
Rogers points out that large water tanks on Tattnall County’s pumpers are important. “We are in a very rural area with a lot of farms and timberland, and there is no county water system,” he says. “Each of the city fire departments are about seven miles apart, so we have to fill in the outlying areas with pumpers carrying as much water as possible.”
Rogers says he plans to outfit each of the new pumpers with a TurboDraft Fire Eductor that works off of a vehicle’s water tank. “It uses a soft suction designed for a five-inch large diameter hose (LDH),” he says. “There’s a 2½-inch hose connection to the TurboDraft, which is dropped into a pond or other water source, and the five-inch runs back to the pumper. You charge the 2½-inch line, and it circulates through the TurboDraft and creates a suction that fills the five-inch LDH full back to the truck. Usually we attach the TurboDraft to a straight ladder and slide it into the water so it’s easy to retrieve.”
Selling a half dozen used vehicles in a single buy is a bit out of the ordinary for Company Two Fire, according to Jones. “The typical buy is one or two pieces of apparatus,” he points out. “But Tattnall County had special needs, and we were happy to accommodate them.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.